Erika R. Elswick

Erika R. Elswick

Senior Lecturer, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Director, Analytical Geochemistry Laboratory

Executive Director, IU Geologic Field Station


  • Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 1998
  • M.S., Wright State University, 1994

Research interests

  • Stable isotopes in sedimentary environments (past and present) and their application to sedimentary ore deposits
  • The fate of metals in the environment, and in the development of tropical soils
  • Low temperature hydrothermal rock-water interactions at oceanic spreading ridges
  • The influences and interactions with microbial activity and microbial byproducts with these rock-water interactions

Teaching philosophy

Students learn by doing and by dialogue. Students in my laboratory and classes are exposed to a wide variety of geologic materials and problems, and are encouraged to engage in dialogue to discuss and write about their findings in order to develop critical thinking skills along with a deeper understanding of the geologic concepts, materials, and systems.

Recent research projects

  • Analysis of copiapite samples from Devonian black shale outcrops.
  • Sulfur Isotopic Budget of the Yaxcopoil-1 Core, Chicxulub Impact Crater and modeling of the sulfur isotopic fractionation at the K/T boundary
  • Depositional environments, sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Santa Rosa Group, E–M Permian, Belize
  • Effective determination of the critical components for Pb–Zn mineralization: Insights from the Santa Rosa Group, Belize, Central America
  • Carbon-Sulfur relationships in the Manus Basin, Sites 1188 and 1189, ODP Leg 193, Papua New Guinea

Graduate student project

Emily S. Gercke, M.S 2011
Thesis: Windward and leeward sedimentation patterns on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic

H.R.M. Sohel M. Anwar, M.S. 2004
Thesis: A rare earth and trace element approach to understanding the origin of the Santa Rosa Group sediments, Maya Mountains, Belize

Graduate/undergraduate projects + opportunities

  • Holocene climate and coastal process in the Dominican Republic (a field and laboratory project)
  • Dendrochronology and stable isotopes, soils, and groundwater in the Indiana University Demonstration Watershed, Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana (field and laboratory projects)
  • Griffy Lake Water Chemistry (a field collection, and laboratory analysis project in the IU preserve, and the Bloomington city park)
  • Water samples from seeps in local Devonian black shales (a field and laboratory project)


  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE), National Council President
  • Geological Society of America (GSA), Campus Representative
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE) Rho Chapter, Faculty Advisor