Christopher Baish

Christopher  Baish
  • Ph.D.
  • Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences
  • Geography Building
  • 673 Auditorium Road
  • East Lansing, MI 48824


Pedology, Soil geomorphology, Geoarchaeology


I am a Physical Geographer with an interest in studying landscape history and dynamics, primarily through the lens of soil geomorphology. In a broad sense, my research centers on improving understanding of the relationships between (a) glacial and post-glacial sedimentological processes and surficial sediment (soil parent material) genesis and distribution, (b) soil development (pedogenesis) and geomorphic setting, and (c) soil properties and vegetation distribution and productivity. Recently, my work has revolved around three primary foci: (a) explaining the process behavior and reaction kinetics of argillic horizon degradation in forested upland soils of the northern Great Lakes region, (b) assessing the effects of Quaternary climatic change on landscape instability and soil evolution in southern New Mexico, and (c) developing a predictive model for spatiotemporal estimation of subsoil properties in mid-latitude landscapes influenced by past continental glaciation. Other recent (2018-present) project involvement includes the study of the effects of (a) glacial dynamics on the genesis and distribution of surficial till deposits in southern Lower Michigan, (b) podzolization on primary mineral weathering in forested Spodosols in northern Michigan, (c) post-depositional disturbance (via post-glacial permafrost melt) on the remobilization and distribution of loess in western Wisconsin, (d) modern climatic change on seasonal water dynamics in permafrost influenced soils of central Alaska, and (e) soil and terrain characteristics on the establishment of early European trade routes in southern New Mexico.

Prior to my return to graduate study in Spring 2022, I served as an Associate Researcher in the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Desert Research Institute (Reno, NV). My role here involved: (a) investigating soil variability and its effect on vehicle mobility corridors in northeastern Europe, (b) utilizing soils as stratigraphic markers to assess Quaternary landscape evolution in the Mojave and Chihuahuan Desert regions of the southwestern US, and (c) developing new laboratory methodologies aimed to improve assessment of geochemical proxies for soil genesis studies. I also have experience working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Soil Conservation Aide on the planning and monitoring of conservation practices intended to improve soil and water quality in northeastern Iowa.

To view my CV, publications, or presentation abstracts, please visit: