• Distinguished Professor, Geology & Geophysics


  • BS, Geology, University of California - Davis
  • PhD, Geology, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Research Summary

Chan has an active research program in clastic sedimentology, spanning some of Earth’s oldest sedimentary rocks (Precambrian) to some of its youngest (Pleistocene). Her recent research has applied terrestrial geology examples of southern Utah to better understand Martian geology. Her research has been featured in many media venues including National Geographic and Discovery Channel documentary films.


Chan has led an active nationally and internationally recognized research program emphasizing sedimentary geology and terrestrial analogs to Mars. Her research extends from sedimentology and diagenesis to geoconservation, geoheritage, and ethics. Chan has received awards and accolades for guest lectures and keynote addresses that have reached thousands of scientists and students around the world. In her career of leadership and service, she led major initiatives for women and diversity (e.g., GSA’s highly successful “On to the Future” program, AAPG’s Professional Women in Earth Sciences - now AAPG Women’s Network). Currently, she is chair of the U.S. National Committee for Geological Sciences, and is a leader in AGU and GSA efforts to articulate geologic sampling ethics. From art to architecture, Chan finds innovative ways to engage the public and citizens of all ages.

She has published 151 peer-reviewed publications and has been featured in National Geographic and Discovery Channel documentary films.  She was the 2014 Geological Society of America’s Distinguished International Lecturer where she gave 53 lectures in 6 countries spanning India, New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, and S. Korea. 

Dr. Chan was department chair for seven years (2002-2009).  During this time she oversaw all the departmental programming for new construction of the LEED-certified, award-winning Geology & Geophysics building (Frederick Albert Sutton building), with educational, high-impact visual displays.  Many hail this as the most spectacular Earth science building in the country.