Logo for Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

J. Elmo Rawling III at the far left of the image. He's in the woods with students visible in the background.

  • Department of Extension Faculty
    Division of Extension
    University of Wisconsin–Madison

Affiliated Faculty


J. Elmo Rawling, III


Contact: Phone (608) 263-6839 | Email elmo.rawling@wisc.edu

I study the landforms and landscapes left behind by the Ice Age–how they were formed, how they are changed by today’s geologic processes, and what resources they contain (such as gravel and groundwater). These projects employ tools such as active seismic surveys, structure-from-motion elevation models with drone photogrammetry, and optical age estimates that help to constrain the stratigraphy and timing of Pleistocene glacial events in Wisconsin. I’m also actively involved in mapping the Quaternary geology of Bayfield, Waushara, and Jefferson Counties (1:100,000 scale), and in creating a Quaternary and bedrock elevation map of the state of Wisconsin (1:500,000 scale).

Current projects

Among my projects, I’m working on the:

  • glacial geology in the Lake Superior Region,
  • shoreline erosion in Lake Michigan, and
  • the effects of ice cover on shoreline erosion on Lake Superior.


These and my other projects can be explored through this interactive map:

Screenshot of Elmo Rawling's Projects map with a link to the actual map

 View interactive map

Read about my work


Recent publications

  • Mickelson, D.M., Rawling, J.E., III, Zoet, L.K., 2019: Glacial Landscapes of the Southern Green Bay Lobe and the Northern Kettle Moraine. Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Open File Report 2019-02, 23 p. https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/pubs/wofr201902/.
  • Carson, E.C., Attig, J.W., and Rawling, J.E., III, 2019, The glacial record in regions surrounding the Driftless Area, in Carson, E.C., Rawling, J.E., III, Daniels, J.M., and Attig, J.W., eds., The physical geography and geology of the Driftless Area: The career and contributions of James C. Knox: Geological Society of America Special Paper 543, p. 37–50.
  • Ceperley, E.G., Marcott, S.A., Rawling, J.E., III, Zoet, L.K., and Zimmerman, S.K., 2019, The role of permafrost on the morphology of an MIS 3 moraine from the southern Laurentide Ice Sheet: Geology 47, no. 5, p. 440–444.
  • Zoet, L.K., Muto, A., Rawling III, J.E. and Attig, J.W. 2019: The effects of tunnel channel formation on the Green Bay Lobe, Wisconsin, USA. Geomorphology, 324, 36-47, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.09.021.
  • Carson, E.C., Rawling III, J.E., Attig, J.W. and Bates, B.R. 2018: Late Cenozoic Evolution of the Upper Mississippi River, Stream Piracy, and Reorganization of North American Mid-Continent Drainage Systems, GSA Today 28, p. 4-11, https://doi.org/10.1130/GSATG355A.1.
  • Attig J.W., and Rawling III, J.E. 2017: Influence of persistent buried ice on late glacial landscape development in part of Wisconsin’s Northern Highlands, in Kehew, A.E., and Curry, B.B., eds., Quaternary Glaciation of the Great Lakes Region: Process, Landforms, Sediments, and Chronology: Geological Society of America Special Paper 530, p. 103–114.
  • Zoet L.K., and Rawling III, J.E. 2017: Analysis of a sudden bluff failure along the southwest Lake Michigan shoreline. Journal of Great Lakes Research 43, 999-1004.
  • Larson E.R. and Rawling III, J.E. 2016: Developing New Sources of Proxy Climate Data from Historical Structures in the Lake Michigan-Huron Basin. Journal of Great Lakes Research 42, 328-335.