Area of Study
Email Address
Taylor Science Center 1015

Barbara Tewksbury is a structural geologist and lead PI of the Desert Eyes Project, which combines analysis of high resolution satellite imagery with field work and geophysics to study bedrock structures in the Western Desert of Egypt. The Desert Eyes Project discovered the first extensive on-land exposure of polygonal faults, a style of faults that had been previously studied almost exclusively in the subsurface using marine seismic data. For the past decade, Tewksbury and her Egyptian colleagues, along with more than 20 Hamilton geo students, have mapped an extensive and previously unrecognized network of synclines in the Western Desert of Egypt and interpreted them as sag structures indicating deep (hypogene) dissolution in the host limestones.

Tewksbury has been a leader in the national geoscience education community for more than 25 years. She has led over 150 workshops for faculty across the country and abroad, and she was co-PI of the 15-year-long NSF-funded project On the Cutting Edge. She currently has the honor of being one of a small group of instructors who design and teach the classroom and field geology training for newly selected NASA astronauts (Hamilton magazine Through the Eyes of a Geologist: Training Astronauts to Think Like Geologists).

Recent Courses Taught

Principles of Geoscience: Geology and Human Events in North Africa and the Middle East
Iceland Field Study and Seminar on the Geology of Iceland
Structural Geology and Tectonics
GIS for Geoscientists
Seminar on the Geology of Egypt


  • Lead classroom instructor for NASA astronaut geoscience training and one of four primary field trainers, 2009 to present
  • Associate Editor, Journal of African Earth Sciences and Geosphere, current
  • 9 successful NSF grants for geoscience education and for Desert Eyes Project research
  • Career Scholarly Achievement Award, Hamilton College, 2017
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, as a member of the 2010 Desert Research and Technology Studies Science Team, for outstanding contributions in developing and testing science operations for NASA human explorations missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, 2011
  • Honorary degree, Doctor of Science, St. Lawrence University, 2006
  • Neil Miner Award, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, 2003
  • President, American Geosciences Institute, 2003-04
  • Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2001
  • New York State Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1997
  • President, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, 1996-97

Selected Publications

Structural geology
  • Tewksbury, Barbara J., Tarabees, Elhamy A., Welch, Robert M., and Mehrtens, Charlotte J. 2021, Inferring hypogene karst at depth from the patterns of non-tectonic syncline networks in Eocene limestones, Western Desert, Egypt: Frontiers in Earth Science, 9:678565. doi.org/10.3389/feart.2021.678565
  • Tewksbury, Barbara J., Tarabees, Elhamy A., and Mehrtens, Charlotte J., 2017, Origin of an extensive network of non-tectonic synclines in Eocene limestones of the Western Desert, Egypt: Journal of African Earth Sciences, doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.02.017.
  • Tewksbury, Barbara J., Mehrtens, Charlotte J., Gohlke, Steven A., Tarabees, Elhamy A., and Hogan, John P., 2017, Constraints from Mesozoic siliciclastic cover rocks and satellite image analysis on the slip history of regional E-W faults in the southeast Western Desert, Egypt: Journal of African Earth Sciences, doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.06.026
  • Tarabees, Elhamy A., Tewksbury, Barbara J., Mehrtens, Charlotte J., and Younsy,  Abdellatif, 2017, Audio-magnetotelluric surveys to constrain the origin of a network of narrow synclines in Eocene limestone, Western Desert, Egypt: Journal of African Earth Sciences, doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.03.001.
  • Tewksbury, Barbara J., Hogan, John P., Kattenhorn, Simon A., Mehrtens, Charlotte J., and Tarabees, Elhamy A., 2014, Polygonal faults in chalk: insights from extensive exposures of the Khoman Formation, Western Desert, Egypt: Geology, v. 42, no. 6, p. 479-482. doi.org/10.1130/G35362.1
Geoscience education
  • Manduca, Cathryn A., Iverson, Ellen  R., Luxenberg, Michael, Macdonald, R. Heather, McConnell, David A., Mogk, David W., and Tewksbury, Barbara J., 2017, Improving undergraduate STEM education: The efficacy of discipline-based professional development: Science Advances, Vol. 3, no. 2, e1600193, doi/10.1126/sciadv.1600193.
  • Tewksbury, Barbara J., Manduca, Cathryn A., Macdonald, R. Heather, and Mogk, David G., 2013, Geoscience education for the Anthropocene: Geological Society of America Special Paper 501, 125th Anniversary Volume, p. 189-201. doi.org/10.1130/2013.2501(08)
  • Tewksbury, B.J. and Macdonald, R.H., 2007, A practical strategy for designing effective and innovative courses, in, Karukstis, K.K. and Elgren, T., eds., Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Undergraduate Curriculum: A Compendium of Successful Curricular Practices from Faculty and Institutions Engaged in Undergraduate Research: Washington, D.C., Council on Undergraduate Research, p. 127-136.
Astronaut training and planetary exploration
  • Eppler, Dean, Evans, Cynthia, Tewksbury, Barbara, Helper, Mark, Bleacher, Jacob, Fossum, Michael, Ross, Duane, Feustel, Drew, 2016, Geologic training for America’s astronauts: GSA Today, v. 26, no. 8, DOI: 10.1130/GSATG295GW.1, p. 34-35. doi: 10.1130/GSATG295GW.1
  • Eppler,  D.,  Adams,  B.,  Archer,  D.,  Baiden,  G.,  Brown,  A.,  Carey,  W.,  Cohen,  B.,  Condit,  C., Evans,  C.,  Fortezzo,  C.,  Garry,  B.,  Graff,  T.,  Gruener,  J.,  Heldmann,  J.,  Hodges,  K.,  Hörz, F.,  Hurtado,  J.,  Hynek,  B.,  Isaacson,  P.,  Juranek, C.,  Klaus,  K.,  Kring,  D.,  Lanza,  N., Lederer,  S.,  Lofgren,  G.,  Marinova,  M.,  May,  L.,  Meyer,  J.,  Ming,  D.,  Monteleone,  B., Morisset,  C.,  Noble,  S.,  Rampe,  E.,  Rice,  J.,  Schutt,  J.,  Skinner,  J.,  Tewksbury-Christle, C.M.,  Tewksbury,  B.J.,  Vaughan,  A.,  Yingst,  A.,  Young,  K.,  2013.  Desert  Research  and Technology Studies (DRATS) 2010 science operations: Operational approaches and lessons learned for managing science during human planetary surface missions: Acta Astronautic, v. 90, 1417 224–241. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.03.009

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Colorado
M.S., University of Colorado
B.S., St. Lawrence University

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