Derek Sjostrom

Contact Information

Associate Professor of Geology
B.S. University of Washington
M.S. University of Montana
Ph.D. Dartmouth College
Phone: 406.238.7387
Office: Tyler Hall 212


Dr. Sjostrom grew up in the Seattle area and spent many summer weekends camping and hiking in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. He first took a geology course as a sophomore at the University of Washington and was fortunate to take the field course very early in his academic career. For his master's thesis at the University of Montana, Dr. Sjostrom studied the Mesozoic tectonics of central Asia as recorded in sedimentary deposits and spent two field season in remote parts of Mongolia. Dr. Sjostrom shifted gears a bit both in location and research focus for his Ph.D. at Dartmouth College and studied the paleoclimate and tectonics of the Rocky Mountains using both stable isotope geochemistry and field-based geology. After graduating from Dartmouth in 2002, he held teaching positions at the University of Montana, the University of Alaska Anchorage.

 Dr. Sjostrom's primary research interests involve the exploration of the connections between tectonics and climate as recorded in sedimentary rocks and geochemical proxies. In addition, over the past few years, he has branched out a bit beyond geology and has used stable isotope geochemistry to study modern precipitation dynamics, nutrient cycling, and human modifications of natural ecosystems. Currently, Dr. Sjostrom is involved in an National Science Foundation (NSF)-Continental Dynamics initiative to study the uplift history of the Hangay Plateau in central Mongolia (more information about this project can be found at this link). He also received an NSF-REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) to include RMC students in this field-based research. Dr. Sjostrom always incorporates abundant field-work in all of his projects and he is excited to be back in Montana, where relevant geologic research is possible right outside the door.

Courses Taught

  • GEO 101/104: Fundamentals of Geology (lecture and laboratory)
  • GEO 218: Evolution of the Earth
  • GEO 302: Stratigraphy and Sedimentology 
  • GEO 316: Geochemistry
  • GEO 330: Paleoclimate and Global Change
  • Basin Analysis
  • Petroleum Reservoir Systems

Selected Publications

  • Graham, S.A., Hendrix, M.S., Barsbold, R., Badamgarav, D., Sjostrom, D.J., Kirschner, W., & McIntosh, J.S. (1997). Discovery and occurrence of the oldest known dinosaurs (late Jurassic) in Mongolia. Palios, 12, 292-297.
  • Horton, T.W., Sjostrom, D.J., Abruzzese, Poage, M.A., Waldbauer, J.R., Hren, M., Wooden, J., & Chamberlain, C.P. (2005). Spatial and temporal variation of Cenozoic surface elevation in the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada. American Journal of Science, 304, 862-888.
  • Munk, L.A., Hagedorn, B., & Sjostrom, D.J. (2011). Seasonal fluctuations and mobility of arsenic in groundwater resources, anchorage, applied geochemistry.
  • Poage, M.A., Sjostrom, D.J., Goldberg, J., Chamberlain, C.P., & Furniss, G. (2000). Holocene climate change preserved in ferricrete chronosequence from northeastern Yellowstone region, Montana. Chemical Geology, 166, 327-340.
  • Peters, S.C., Blum, J.D., Karagas, M., Chamberlain, C.P., & Sjostrom, D.J. (2006). Sources and exposure of the New Hampshire population to arsenic in public and private drinking water supplies. Chemical Geology, 228, 72-84.
  • Sjostrom, D.J., Hendrix, M.S., Graham, S.A., Badamgarav, D., & Nelson, B.K. (2001). Sedimentology, provenance, and tectonic setting of Mesozoic non-marine strata in western Mongolia: Implications of intracontinental deformation. In "Paleozoic and Mesozoic tectonic evolution of central Asia – from continental assembly to intracontinental deformation" in M.S. Hendrix & G.A. Davis (Eds.), GSA Memoir, 194, 361-388.
  • Sjostrom, D.J., Hren, M.T., & Chamberlain, C.P. (2004). Oxygen isotope records of goethite from ferricrete deposits indicate regionally varying holocene climate change in the Rocky Mountain region, U.S.A. Quaternary Research, 61, 64-71.
  • Sjostrom, D.J., Hren, M.T., Horton, T.W., Waldbaur, J.R., & Chamberlain, C.P. (2006). Stable isotopic evidence for an early tertiary elevation gradient in the Great Plains – Rocky Mountain region. In S. Willett, N. Hovius, D. Fisher, & M. Brandon (Eds.), Tectonics, Climate, and Landscape Evolution, Geological Society of America Special Paper, 398, 309-319.
  • Sjostrom, D.J., & Welker, J. (2009). The influence of air mass source on the seasonal isotopic composition of precipitation, eastern USA. Journal of Geochemical Exploration.


Rocky Mountain College
Eaton Hall
1511 Poly Drive
Billings, MT 59102