Michelle Kominz

Photo of Michelle Kominz
Michelle Kominz
Professor of Geosciences
(269) 387-5340
(269) 387-5513
1133 Rood Hall, Mail Stop 5241
Mailing address: 
Department of Geosciences
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5241 USA
  • Ph.D., Geology, Columbia University, 1986
  • M.S., Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, 1978
  • B.S., Mathematics, Colby College, 1975
Research interests: 
  • Ocean lithosphere
  • Climatic implications
  • Stretched continental lithosphere

Dr. Michelle Kominz is professor of geophysics and basin dynamics in the Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University. Kominz’ research is in the field of geodynamics; her current research activities center around two main issues: global sea-level change (eustasy) and tectonics. She is actively engaged in geodynamic modeling to determine Cretaceous to recent sea-level change in the coastal plain and shelf of New Jersey and in the Wanganui basin in the North Island of New Zealand. A research project addressing the same issue has evolved into a tectonic project in the Canterbury basin off the coast of the South Island of New Zealand. An additional project focused on Miocene to recent tectonics of the Northwest Shelf of Australia is also underway. PhD candidate Katie Dvorak is working on this project. Much of this work is associated with IODP (International Ocean Discovery Program) and she has served as a physical properties specialist on two expeditions. Michelle has also done considerable research on Milankovitch-scale climate variations in cyclic sediments from the Pleistocene through Cambrian in age.

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  • 2012 Wilson, G.S., Levy, R.H., Naish, T.R., Powell, R.D., Florindo, F., et al., Neogene tectonic and climatic evolution of the western Ross Sea, Antarctica; chronology of events from the AND-1B drill hole, Global and Planetary Change, (November 2012): 189-203.
  • 2012 Miller, K.G., Wright, J.D. Browning, J.D., Kulpecz, A., Kominz, M., Naish T.R., Cramer, B.S., Rosenthal, Y., Peltier, W.R., Sosdian S., High tide of the warm Pliocene: Implications of global sea level for Antarctic deglaciation, Geology, v. 40, p. 407-410.
  • 2011 Kominz, M.A., Patterson, K., and Odette, D., Lithology dependence of porosity in slope and deep marine sediments, Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 81, p. 730–742.
  • 2010 Kirschner, Joshua P., Kominz, Michelle A., and Mwakanyamale, K. Quantifying Extension of Passive Margins: Implications for Sea Level Change, Tectonics, v. 29, 13pp. doi:10.1029/2009TC002557
  • 2008 Kominz, M.A., James V. Browning, Kenneth G. Miller, Peter J. Sugarman, Svetlana Misintzeva, and, Christopher R. Scotese, Late Cretaceous to Miocene Sea-Level Estimates from the New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain Coreholes: An Error Analysis, Basin Research, v. 20, p 211-226.
  • 2008 Hayden, T.G., Kominz, M.A., Powars, D.S., Edwards, L.E., Miller, K.G., Browning, J.V., and Kulpecz, A.A., Impact effects and regional tectonic insights: Backstripping the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure, Geology v. 36, p. 327-330.
  • 2005 Miller, K.G., Kominz, M.A., Browning, J.V., Wright, J.D., Mountain, G.S., Katz, M.E., Sugarman, P.J., Cramer, B.S., Christie-Blick, N., Pekar, S.F., The Phanerozoic record of sea-level change: Science, v. 310, p. 1293-1298 (Review Article).
  • 2005 Lu, H., Fulthorpe, C. S. Mann, P. and Kominz, M. A. Miocene-Recent tectonic and climatic controls on sediment supply and sequence stratigraphy: Canterbury basin, New Zealand, Basin Research, v. 17, p. 311-328.
  • 2002 Pekar, Stephen F., Christie-Blick, Nicholas, Kominz, Michelle A., and Miller, K. G., Calibration between eustatic estimates from backstripping and oxygen isotopic records for the Oligocene, Geology, v. 30, p. 903-906.
  • 2001 Kominz, Michelle A., and Stephen F. Pekar, Oligocene Eustasy From Two-Dimensional, Sequence Stratigraphic Backstripping, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 113, p. 291-304.
  • 1999 Yang, Wan, Kominz, Michelle A., Testing periodicity of cyclic sequences, Cisco Group (Virgilian and Wolfcampian), Texas: Journal of Sedimentary Research, Section B, v. 69, p. 1209-1231.
  • 1996 Kominz, M.A., Whither Cyclostratigraphy?  Testing the Gamma Method on Upper Pleistocene Deep-Sea Sediments: North Atlantic Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 609, Paleoceanography. v. 11, p. 481-504.
  • 1995 Kominz, M.A., Thermally subsiding basins and the effect of sediments with application to the Cambro-Ordovician Great Basin sequence, western U. S., Basin Research, v. 7, p. 221-233.
  • 1991 Kominz, M.A. and Bond, G.C.; Unusually large subsidence and sea-level events during middle Paleozoic time:  New evidence supporting mantle convection models for supercontinent assembly.  Geology, v. 19, p. 56-60.
  • 1990 Kominz, M.A. and Bond, G.C., A new method for testing periodicity in cyclic sediments: application to the Newark Supergroup.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 98, p. 233-244.
  • 1986 Kominz, M. A. and Bond, G.C., Geophysical modeling of the thermal history of foreland basins:  Nature, v. 320, p. 252-256.
  • 1984 Bond, G.C., Nickeson, P.A. and Kominz, M.A., Breakup of a supercontinent between 625 Ma and 555 Ma:  new evidence and implications for continental histories:  Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 70, p. 325-345.
  • 1984 Kominz, M.A., Oceanic ridge volumes and sea level change - an error analysis, in: J. Schlee, ed., Interregional Unconformities and Hydrocarbon Accumulation:  American Association of Petroleum Geology Memoir #36, p. 109-127.
  • 1984 Bond, G.C. and Kominz, M.A., Construction of tectonic subsidence curves for the early Paleozoic miogeocline, southern Canadian Rocky Mountains: implications for subsidence mechanisms, age of breakup, and crustal thinning: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 95, p. 155-173.
  • 1979 Kominz, M.A., Heath, G.R., Ku, T-L. and Pisias, N.G., Brunhes time scales and the interpretation of climatic change:  Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 45, p. 394-410.