Professor of Geology David Malone will deliver the Distinguished Professor Lecture at 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 30, in the Circus Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.
Malone will give a talk titled “From Fire to Ice: The Geologic History of Illinois as Told Through Sand.” The event is free and open to the public.
Malone’s work focuses on how grains of zircon present in sand deposits are used to interpret geologic history. “Zircon is a mineral that is present in trace amounts in sand, and, along with the ubiquitous quartz, is among the most valuable of the sand grains for scientific investigation,” said Malone whose scholarly record includes more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, geologic field guides, and geologic maps.
Pursuing his studies for over 30 years, Malone has advanced the understanding of Illinois geography through a variety of projects. “The sedimentary succession of Illinois ranges from a few thousand feet near Rockford to more than 10,000 feet in the deepest parts of the Illinois Basin near Mount Vernon. The first succession of sand in Illinois was deposited beginning about 530 million years ago in the rift basins formed during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia,” he said.
Malone has spent his entire academic career at Illinois State. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Illinois State in 1988 and returned in 1994 to begin his career as an assistant professor in what is now the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment. He was promoted to associate professor in 2000, and at that time he was appointed as department chair. In 2006 and 2014, he was promoted to professor and University Professor, respectively. He retired as chair in 2013, and returned to full-time teaching and research.
During his tenure at Illinois State, Malone has received College and University teaching awards, is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecturer, and became a member of the Million Dollar Club in 2008. He has been principal investigator on 62 grants and has received over $5 million in funding. He has been honored as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), and most recently, his field camp was awarded the Exxon-Mobil Field Camp Excellence Award by the GSA.
Passionate about teaching, Malone has taught nearly 3,400 students in 11 different classes during his years at Illinois State. He has served as an academic advisor for more than 400 undergraduate geology majors and has mentored 74 of those students in research. He also has chaired the thesis committees of 25 hydrogeology master’s degree students.