Professor of Geology and Geography
Barton Sawyer Martin, Professor of Geology, is retiring after three decades on the faculty. He served as Chair of the Geology & Geography Department and on committees including University Governance and Academic Policy. Dr. Martin’s greatest love was teaching students, in liberal arts style, about our planet in Physical & Environmental Geology and Volcanology. He prepared geology majors well for myriad careers in Mineralogy and Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology. Dr. Martin taught outside his comfort zone this year, in order that students could complete their geology major. For his dedication and being a caring and terrific colleague, his department colleagues thank him.
Born in Ohio, Dr. Martin encountered geology when his family moved near the Sierra Madre Fault Zone in Pasadena, California, and experienced the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. A family trip to Hawaii brought his second geological experience, flying over the Mauna Ulu eruption on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone. Other adventures included riding motorcycles in the Mojave Desert and hiking in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains as a boy scout, earning Eagle rank along the way.
Dr. Martin earned a geology B.S. from Furman University in 1981, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Indiana University Field Camp in southwest Montana and was invited back as associate instructor. Graduate study took Dr. Martin to Washington State University (M.S. 1984) and University of Massachusetts Amherst (Ph.D. 1991), where he specialized in geochemistry, igneous petrology, and volcanology and developed expertise in X-ray fluorescence analysis. Columbia River basalts of the Pacific Northwest became an enduring research focus. His expertise is recognized through numerous papers and professional field seminars. Dr. Martin is a licensed professional geologist for Washington State and a laboratory fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.
Dr. Martin engaged students in courses including Physical & Environmental Geology, Field/Laboratory Geology, Mineralogy, Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology, Economic Geology, Volcanology, Field Seminar, and numerous directed readings and independent studies. He devised laboratory and field experiences whereby students learned by “doing geology.” Multi-day field excursions enhanced learning, including the Southern Appalachians, the St. Francois Mountains in Missouri, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Hawaii. He co-taught field seminars in Death Valley and Iceland. Student encouragement was a hallmark of Dr. Martin’s career as exemplified by his serving as mentor for underrepresented students in science through the Carolinas-Ohio Science Education Network. He served many years as senior faculty advisor for Chi Phi fraternity.
Dr. Martin’s committee service included multiple terms on University Governance, including as chair; Academic Policy, and chair; Admissions and Financial Aid; Academic Status; and search committees for president, provost, and vice president for business affairs. He served on the steering committee for the planetary science major and the Summer Science Research Program committee.
In retirement, Dr. Martin looks forward to travel, mountain biking, and perhaps re-engaging his love of model trains. Dr. Martin’s colleagues wish him a long and active retirement following an illustrious career teaching and researching about Earth.