Eric W. Portenga

Assistant Professor
Geography & Geology
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI

About Me

I am a geomorphologist who uses cosmogenic nuclides and other tools to study the rates and spatial patterns of landscape evolution, their relationship to topographic, climatic, and tectonic forces, and to place landscape response to human land-use practices in a geological context.


Ph.D., 2015

Earth Science
University of Glasgow & Macquarie University

M.S., 2011

Geology (Geomorphology)
University of

B.S., 2008

Geological Sciences
University of Michigan

Current Projects

Erosion of the Santa Monica Mountains

Summary: This project uses basin-averaged 10Be erosion rates from streams draining the Santa Monica Mountains, California, to elucidate the relationship between erosion and uplift along the Malibu Coast and Santa Monica Faults.
Funding: Purdue University PRIME Lab Seed Data Grant

The Woolsey Fire and 10Be

Summary: This project seeks to understand how sensitive 10Be measured from stream sand is to widespread erosion associated with recent, large-magnitude geomorphic events, and this study uses the 2018 Woolsey Fire as a case study.
Funding: NSF Award No. 1939000, EMU James H. Brickley Endowment for Faculty Development

Isle Royale Deglaciation

Summary: This project uses 10Be exposure-age dating on glacial erratics at Isle Royale National Park to determine when the Laurentide Ice Sheet last retreated from the Island and western Lake Superior.
Funding: EMU Faculty Research Fellowship, EMU GameAbove Faculty Development Award, & Purdue University PRIME Lab Seed Data Grant

Updating the Global 10Be Erosion Database

Summary: This project seeks to reanalyze a global database of 10Be erosion rates by updating Portenga and Bierman (2011, Understanding Earth's Eroding Surface with 10Be, GSA Today) with hundreds of new bedrock erosion rates and thousands of new basin-averaged erosion rates inferred from measurements of 10Be.
Funding: EMU Summer Research Award