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Esther Stewart in winter gear standing in front of an outcrop

Esther K. Stewart


Contact: Phone (608) 263-3201 | Email esther.stewart@wisc.edu

Research interests

My research interests are focused on understanding Wisconsin’s sedimentary rocks, especially the oldest ones—those that formed during Precambrian time, generally more than 1 billion years ago. My primary goal as a scientist at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey is to develop research programs that address societal needs in the state.

My current research areas include:

  1. The stratigraphy and deformation of  <1.7 billion-year-old Baraboo-interval metasedimentary rocks in south-central Wisconsin
  2. The stratigraphy and deformation of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the ~1 billion-year-old Midcontinent Rift underneath Lake Superior
  3. Geologic mapping and hydrostratigraphy of Paleozoic bedrock in south-central Wisconsin

Current projects

My current research projects can be explored through this interactive map:

Screenshot of Esther Stewart's Projects map with a link to the actual map

View interactive map


Collaborations with researchers and students from outside of WGNHS are an important component of my research. Recent collaborators include:

  • Faculty, researchers, and students from UW-Parkside, UW-Baraboo, and UW-Madison
  • Faculty and students from the University of Minnesota-Duluth Earth & Environmental Sciences Department
  • Researchers from the US Geological Survey Minerals Resources Program
  • I also mentor students from UW-Madison and other UW campuses on directed study projects


Selected publications

Peer-reviewed publications

  • Stewart, E.K., Brengman, L., and Stewart, E.D., 2021, Revised provenance, depositional environment, and maximum depositional age for the Baraboo (< ca. 1714 Ma) and Dake (<ca. 1630 Ma) quartzites, Baraboo Hills, Wisconsin, The Journal of Geology, v. 129, 1-31.
  • Grauch, V.J.S., Anderson, E., Heller, S.J., Stewart, E.K., and Woodruff, L., 2020, Integrating multiple geophysical methods leads to an alternate seismic interpretation across the northern margin of the North American Midcontinent Rift System, central Lake Superior, Interpretation, 8, SS63-SS85.
  • Medaris Jr, L.G., Singer, B.S., Jicha, B.R., Malone, D.H., Schwartz, J.J., Stewart, E.K., Van Lankvelt, A., Williams, M.L. and Reiners, P.W., 2021. Early Mesoproterozoic evolution of midcontinental Laurentia: Defining the geon 14 Baraboo orogeny, Geoscience Frontiers, 12, 101174.
  • Stewart, E.D., Stewart, E.K., Bradbury, K.R., and Fitzpatrick, W., 2021, Correlating bedrock folds to higher rates of arsenic detection in groundwater, SE Wisconsin, USA, Groundwater.
  • Stewart, E.D., Stewart, E. K., Walker, A., and Zambito IV, J. J., 2018, Revisiting the Paleoproterozoic Baraboo interval in southern Wisconsin: Evidence for syn-depositional tectonism along the south-central margin of Laurentia, Precambrian Research, v, 314, 221-239.
  • Medaris, G.L., Driese, S.G., Stinchcomb, G.E., Fournelle, J.H., Lee, S., Xu, H., DiPietro, L., Gopon, P., Stewart, E., 2018, Anatomy of a sub-Cambrian paleosol in Wisconsin: Mass fluxes of chemical weathering and climatic conditions in North America during formation of the Cambrian Great Unconformity, The Journal of Geology, v 126, 261-283.
  • Wellner, R..W., Varban, B.L. Roca, X., Flaum, J.A., Stewart, E., and Blum, M.D. 2018, Simple is better when it comes to sequence stratigraphy—the Clearwater Formation of the Manville Group reinterpreted using a genetic body approach, AAPG Bulletin, v 12, 447-482.
  • Stewart, E. and Mauk, J.L., 2017, Sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, and geochemical variations in the Mesoproterozoic Nonesuch Formation, northern Wisconsin, USA, Precambrian Research, 294, 111-132.
  • Kingsbury-Stewart, E.M., Osterhout, S.L., Link, P.K., and Dehler, C.M., 2013, Sequence stratigraphy and formalization of the Middle Uinta Mountain Group (Neoproterozoic), central Uinta Mountains, Utah: A closer look at the western Laurentian Seaway at ca. 750 Ma, Precambrian Research, 236, 65-84.
  • Dehler, C.M., Fanning, C.M., Link, P.K., Kingsbury, E.M., and Rybczynski, D., 2010, Incipient Rodinia breakup, marine transgression, and peri-Gondwanan sediment source in western Laurentia at <766-742 Ma: New SHRIMP data from the Uinta Mountain Group and Big Cottonwood Formation, northern Utah:  Geological Society of America Bulletin; v. 122; no. 9/10; p. 1686–1699.


  • Stewart, E.K. 2021, Bedrock geology of Dodge County, Wisconsin, WGNHS map series, 1 plate and accompanying report, scale 1:100,000. https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000975
  • Stewart, E.K and Stewart, E.D., 2021, Geologic map of the Baraboo 7.5-minute quadrangle, Sauk County, Wisconsin, WGNHS open file report, 1 plate scale 1:24,000. https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000978
  • Stewart, E.D. and Stewart, E.K., 2021, Geologic map of the Rock Springs 7.5-minute quadrangle, Sauk County, Wisconsin, WGNHS open file report, 1 plate scale 1:24,000. https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000977
  • Stewart, E.D and Stewart, E.K., 2020, Geologic map of the North Freedom 7.5-minute quadrangle, Sauk County, Wisconsin, WGNHS map series, 1 plate scale 1:24,000. https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000973
  • Stewart, E.K. 2021, Depth-to-bedrock map of Dodge County, Wisconsin, WGNHS map series, 1 plate scale 1:100,000. https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000981
  • Osterhout, S.L., Link, P.K., and Dehler, C.M., and Kingsbury-Stewart, E.M., 2016, Geologic map of the Mount Powell 7.5-minute quadrangle, Duchesne and Summit counties, Utah: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 16-5, 2 plates, scale 1:24,000.
  • Kingsbury-Stewart, E.M., Link, P.K., Osterhout, S.L., and Dehler, C.M., 2015, Geologic map of the Kings Peak 7.5-minute quadrangle, Duchesne and Summit counties, Utah: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 15-3DM, 2 plates, scale 1:24,000.


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