Susan R Zimmerman

Staff Scientist
Atmospheric, Earth, and Energy Division
Phone: +19254228462


  • Ph.D., Earth Sciences, Columbia University, 2006
  • B.S., Geology (summa cum laude), Dickinson College,1998

Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding the dynamics of climate change in the western U.S. over the last 10,000 to 100,000 years, using sedimentary, geochemical, and other proxies in lake sediments to reconstruct past changes. Robust, high-precision chronologies are the foundation for accurate paleoclimatic reconstructions, and so much of my work focuses on improving radiocarbon age models for western lakes, and integration with other chronology techniques such as tephrochronology, 40Ar/39Ar and U-series dating, 10Be exposure dating, and paleomagnetic stratigraphy.

Honors and Awards

  • LLNL PLS Directorate SPOT Award for External Review poster, August 2010
  • LLNL PLS Directorate SPOT Award for Post-doctoral Symposium Poster, June 2009
  • Comer Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow (2006-2007)
  • AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award, Paleomagnetics (2004)
  • GSA Limnogeology Division Kerry Kelts Award (2004)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2000-2004)
  • Dickinson College Dept. of Geology Honors for B.S. thesis (1998)


  • GSA
  • AGU
  • NAGT
  • Sigma Xi
  • Phi Beta Kappa


Noble, P.J., G. I. Ball, S. H. Zimmerman, J. Maloney, S. B. Smith, G. Kent, K.D. Adams, R. E. Karlin, and N. Driscoll, Holocene paleoclimate history of Fallen Leaf Lake, CA, from geochemistry and sedimentology of unusually well-dated sediment cores, 2016. Quat. Sci. Rev, v 131 193-210.

Zimmerman, S.R.H., and A. Myrbo, Lacustrine Environments (14C). In Rink, J.W. & J.W. Thompson, eds., Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_160-1

Stansell, N. D., D. T. Rodbell, J.M Licciardi, C.M. Sedlak, A. D. Schweinsberg, E.G. Huss, G. M. Delgado, S.H. Zimmerman, and R. C. Finkel, 2015. Late Glacial and Holocene glacier fluctuations at Nevado Huaguruncho in the eastern cordillera of the Peruvian Andes. Geology, v.43, p 747-750.

Kelley, S., J. Briner, and S. Zimmerman, 2015. The influence of ice marginal setting on early Holocene retreat rates in central West Greenland. Journal of Quaternary Science, v. 30 (3), p; 271-280.

Mensing, S. A., I. Tunno, L. Sagnotti, F. Florindo, P. Noble, C. Archer, S. Zimmerman, F.-J. Pavon-Carrasco, G. Cifani, S. Passigli, and G. Piovesan, 2015. 2700 years of Mediterranean environmental change in central Italy: A synthesis of sedimentary and cultural records to interpret past impacts of climate on society. Quat. Sci. Rev. v. 116, pp 72-94.

Crawford, J. N., S. A. Mensing, F. K. Lake, S. R.H. Zimmerman, 2015. Late Holocene fire and vegetation reconstruction from the western Klamath Mountains, California, USA: A multi-disciplinary approach for examining potential human land use impacts. The Holocene, DOI: 10.1177/0959683615584205.

Bhattacharya, T., R. Byrne, H. Bohnel, K. Wogau, U. Kienel, B. L. Ingram, S. Zimmerman, 2015. Cultural implications of late Holocene climate change in the Cuenca Oriental, Mexico, Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci., v112 n6, 1693-1698. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1405653112.

Dingemans, T., S.A. Mensing, S. J. Feakins, M.E. Kirby, S. H. Zimmerman, 2014. 3000 years of environmental change at Zaca Lake, California, USA. Frontiers of Ecology & Evolution – Paleoecology section; doi: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00034.

Colman, S., S.R. Hemming, S. Stine, S.R.H. Zimmerman, 2014. The effects of recent uplift and volcanism on deposition in Mono Lake, California, from seismic-reflection (CHIRP) profiles. J. Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, v119, doi: 10.1002/2013JB010726.

Kelly, M.A., J.M Russell, M.B. Baber, J.A. Howley, S.E. Loomis, S. Zimmerman, B. Nakileza, J. Lukaye, 2014. Expanded glaciers during a cold and dry Last Glacial Maximum in equatorial East Africa. Geology, v. 42, pp 519-522.

Zimmerman, S.R.H., E. Steponaitis**, S.R. Hemming, and P. Zermeño, 2012. Potential for accurate and precise radiocarbon ages in deglacial-age lacustrine carbonates. Quaternary Geochronology, v13, pp81-91.

Kirby, M.E., S.R. Zimmerman, W.P. Patterson, J.J. Rivera, 2012. A 9170-Year record of centennial-to-multi centennial scale pluvial events from coastal southwest North America: A role for atmospheric rivers. Quaternary Science Reviews, v46 pp57-65.

Zimmerman, S.R.H., S.R. Hemming, N.G. Hemming, P.B. Tomascak, and C. Pearl, 2011. High-resolution chemostratigraphic record of late Pleistocene lake-level variability, Mono Lake, CA. GSA Bulletin, v123 n11/12; 2320-2334.

Zimmerman, S.R., C. Pearl, S.R. Hemming, K. Tamulonis**, N.G. Hemming, S.Y. Searle**, 2011. Freshwater control of ice-rafted debris in the last glacial period at Mono Lake, California, USA. Quaternary Research, v 76; 264-271.