Alex Simms


Office Hours

TTR 8:30-10:30

Office Location

Webb 2041


Sedimentology/Stratigraphy, Coastal Geology, Quaternary Science



PhD, Rice University, 2006

BS, Oklahoma State University, 2001




My interests lie in studying how past depositional systems have responded to sea-level, climate, and tectonic changes. I use a wide variety of tools to study past depositional systems including coring, high-resolution seismic data, GPR and outcrop analysis. I am particularly interested in reconstructing Quaternary Sea Levels around the globe and the role of the Antarctic and Northern Hemisphere Ice Sheets in controlling sea-level changes over the last glacial-eustatic cycle. Although most of my work has centered around coastal systems, I do enjoy studying terrestrial systems as well.





Publications: (“underline” denotes student author).


In Press:

Simms, A.R., Reynolds, L.C., Bentz, M., Roman, A., Rockwell, T., Peters, R. (in press).  Tectonic subsidence of California estuaries increases forecasts of relative sea-level rise.  Estuaries and Coasts.



Anderson, J.B., Wallace, D.J., Simms, A.R., Rodriguez, A.B., Weight, R.W.R., and Taha, Z.P. (2016).  Recycling sediments between source and sink during a eustatic cycle: Systems of late Quaternary northwestenr Gulf of Mexico Basin.  Earth-Science Reviews 153: 111-138.

Livsey, D.N., Simms, A.R., Hangstefer, A., Nisbet, R.A., and DeWitt, R. (2016).  Drought modulated by North Atlantic sea surface temperatures for the last 3,000 years along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.  Quaternary Science Reviews 135: 54-64.

Arauza, H.M., Simms, A.R., Bement, L.C., Carter, B.J., Conley, T., Woldergauy, A., Johnson, W.C., and Jaiswal, P. (2016).  Geomorphic and sedimentary responses of the Bull Creek Valley (Southern High Plains, USA) to Pleistocene and Holocene environmental change.  Quaternary Research 85: 118-132.

Simms, A.R., Rouby, H., and Lambeck, K. (2016).  Marine terraces and rates of vertical tectonic motion: The importance of glacio-isostatic adjustment along the Pacific Coast of central North America.  Geological Society of America Bulletin 128: 81-93.



Reynolds, L.C., and Simms, A.R. (2015).  Late Quaternary relative sea level in Southern California and Monterey Bay.  Quaternary Science Reviews 126: 57-66.

Simkins, L.M.Simms, A.R., and DeWitt, R.  (2015).  Assessing the link between coastal morphology, wave energy, and sea ice throughout the Holocene from Antarctic raised beaches.  Journal of Quaternary Science 30: 335-348.

Holmquist, J., Reynolds, L., Brown, L., Southon, J., Simms, A.R., and MacDonald, G.  (2015).  Marine radiocarbon reservoir values in southern California estuaries: interspecies, latitudinal, and interannual variability.  Radiocarbon 57: 449-458.  PDF

Ejarque, A., Anderson, R.S., Simms, A.R., and Gentry, B.J.  (2015).  Prehistoric fires and the shaping of colonial transported landscapes in southern California: A paleoenvironmental study at Dune Pond, Santa Barbara County.  Quaternary Science Reviews 112: 181-196.  PDF

Simms, A.R. and Rodriguez, A.B. (2015).  The influence of valley morphology on the rate of bayhead delta progradation.  Journal of Sedimentary Research 85: 38-44.  PDF



O Cofaigh, C., et al. (2014). Reconstruction of ice-sheet changes in the Antarctic Peninsula since the Last Glacial Maximum.  Quaternary Science Reviews 100: 87-110.  PDF

The RAISED Consortium, Bentley et al. (2014).  A community-based geological reconstruction of Antarctic Ice Sheet deglaciation since the Last Glacial Maximum.  Quaternary Science Reviews 100: 1-9.  PDF

Anderson, J.B., Wallace, D.J., Simms, A.R., Rodriguez, A.B., and Milliken, K.T. (2014).  Variable response of coastal environments of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico to sea-level rise and climate change: Implications for future change.  Marine Geology 352: 348-366. PDF

Buzas-Stephens, P., Livsey, D.N., Simms, A.R., and Buzas, M.A.  (2014).  Estuarine foraminifera record Holocene stratigraphic changes and Holocene climate changes in ENSO and the North American monsoon: Baffin Bay, Texas.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 404: 44-56.  PDF

Simms, A.R. and Rodriguez, A.B. (2014).  Where to coastlines stabalize following rapid retreat?  Geophysical Research Letters 41: 1698-1703.  PDF

Bement, L.C., Madden, A.S., Carter, B.J., Simms, A.R., Swindle, A.L., Alexander, H.M., Fine, S., and Benamara, M., (2014). Quantifying the distribution of nanodiamonds in pre-Younger Dryas to recent age deposits along Bull Creek, Oklahoma Panhandle, USA.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 1726-1731.  PDF



Simms, A.R., Anderson, J.B., DeWitt, R., Lambeck, K., and Purcell, A., (2013).  Quantifying rates of coastal subsidence since the last interglacial and the role of sediment loading.  Global and Planetary Change 111: 296-308.  PDF

Simkins, L.M., Simms, A.R., DeWitt, R., (2013).  Relative sea-level history of Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula derived from optically stimulated luminescence-dated beach cobbles.  Quaternary Science Reviews 77: 141-155.  PDF

Livsey, D. and Simms, A.R., (2013).  Holocene sea-level change derived from microbial mats. Geology 41: 971-974.  PDF

Simkins, L.M., DeWitt, R., Simms, A.R., (2013). Methods to reduce sample carrier contamination for luminescence measurements.  Ancient TL 31: 19-28.  PDF

Warrick, J.A., Simms, A.R., Ritchie, A., Steel, E., Dartnell, P., Conrad, J.E., and Finlayson, D.P. (2013).  Hyperpycnal plume-derived fans in the Santa Barbara Channel, California.  Geophysical Research Letters 40: 2081-2086.  PDF

Anderson, J.B., Kirshner, A., and Simms, A.R., (2013).  Constraints on the Antarctic Ice Sheet configuration during and following the Last Glacial Maximum and its episodic contribution to sea-level rise.  in Hambrey, M.J., Barker, P.F., Bowman, V., Davies, B., Smellier, J.L., and Tranter, M. (eds.).  Antarctic Palaeoenvironments and Earth-Surface Processes, Geological Society of London Special Publication 381.  PDF

Livsey, D.N., Simms, A.R., Clary, W., Wellner, J.S., Anderson, J.B., and Chandler, J.P., 2013. Fourier grain-shape analysis of Antarctic marine core: the relative influence of provenance and glacial activity on grain-shape. Journal of Sedimentary Research 83: 80-90.  PDF



Simkins, L.M., Simms, A.R., Cruse, A.M., Troiani, T., Atekwana, E.A., Puckette, J., and Yokoyama, Y. (2012).  Correlation of early and mid-Holocene events using magnetic susceptibility in estuarine cores.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 346-347: 95-107.  PDF

Simms, A.R., DeWitt, R., Ivins, E.R., Kouremenos, P., and Simkins, L.M. (2012), Determining the timing of the Little Ice Age in the Antarctic Peninsula from raised beaches.  Quaternary Science Reviews 47:41-55.  PDF

Poland, Z. and Simms, A.R.  (2012), Sedimentology of an erg-erg margin depositional system, the Rush Springs Sandstone of western Oklahoma: implications for paleowinds across northwestern Pangea during the Guadalupian (middle Permian).  Journal of Sedimentary Research 82:345-363.  PDF

Valentine, D.W., Keller, E.A., Carver, G., Li, W.-H., Manhart, C., Simms, A.R. (2012), Paleoseismicity of the southern end of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, northwestern California, USA.  Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 102: 1059-1078.  PDF

Woldearegay, A., Jaiswal, P., Simms, A.R., Alexander H., Bement, L.C., and Carter, B.J.  (2012), Ultrashallow depth imaging of a channel stratigraphy with first-arrival traveltime inversion and prestack depth migration: A case study from Bull Creek, Oklahoma.  Geophysics 77:1-10.  PDF



Wellner, J.S., Anderson, J.B., Werner, E., Weaver, F.M., Kirshner, A., Livsey, D., and Simms, A.R.  (2011).  History of an evolving ice sheet as recorded in SHALDRIL cores from the northwestern Weddell Sea, Antarctica.  In: Tectonic, Climatic, and Cryospheric Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula, AGU Monograph Series 63: 131-152.

Anderson, J.B., Warny, S., Askin, R.A., Wellner, J.S., Bohaty, S.M., Kirshner, A., Livsey, D.N., Simms, A.R., Smith, T.R., Ehrmann, W., Lawver, L.A., Barbeau, D., Wise, S.W., Kulhenek, D.K., Weaver, F.M., Mojewski, W.  (2011).  Progressive Cenozoic cooling and the demise of Antarctica’s last refugium.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 11356-11360.  PDF

Simms, A.R., Milliken, K.T., Anderson, J.B. Wellner, J.S.  (2011).  The marine record of deglaciation of the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica since the Last Glacial Maximum.  Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 1583-1601.  PDF

Troiani, T., Simms, A.R., Dellapenna, T., Piper, E., and Yokoyama, Y.  (2011).  The importance of sea-level and climate change, including wind energy, on the evolution of a coastal estuary: Copano Bay, Texas.  Marine Geology 280, p.1-19.  PDF

Simms, A.R., DeWitt, R., Kouremenos, P., Drewry, A.M.  (2011).  A new approach to reconstructing sea levels in Antarcticausing optically stimulated luminescence of cobble surfaces.  Quaternary Geochronology 6, p. 50-60.  PDF



Anderson, J.B., Milliken, K.T., Wallace, D., Rodriguez, A. B., Simms, A.R.,  (2010).  Coastal impact of accelerated sea-level rise underrated.  EOS Trans AGU 91(23), p. 205-206. 

Simms, A.R., Aryal, N., Miller, L.*, Yokoyama, Y.  (2010).  The incised valley of Baffin Bay, Texas: a tale of two climates.  Sedimentology 57, p642-669.  PDF

Rodriguez, A. B.,Simms, A.R., Anderson, J.B.(2010).Bay-head deltas across the northern Gulf of Mexico back step in response to the 8.2 ka cooling event.  Quaternary Science Reviews 29, p. 3983-3993.  PDF



Simms, A.R., Aryal, N., Yokoyama, Y., Matsuzaki, H., and DeWitt, R.  (2009).  Insights on a proposed mid-Holocene highstand along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico from the evolution of small coastal ponds.  Journal of Sedimentary Research 79, p. 757-772.  PDF

Simms, A.R., DeWitt, R., Rodriguez, A.B., Lambeck, K., and Anderson, J.B., (2009),  Revisiting marine isotope stage 3-5a (MIS3-5a) sea levels within the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.  Global and Planetary Change 66, p 100-111.  PDF



Simms, A.R., Anderson, J.B., Rodriguez, A.B., and Taviani, M., 2008.  Mechanisms controlling environmental changes within an estuary: Corpus Christi Bay, Texas,  in Anderson, J.B. and Rodriguez, A.B. (eds.), Response of Upper Gulf Coast Estuaries to Holocene Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise, GSA Special Paper 443, p. 121-146.

Rodriguez, A.B., Greene D.L.Jr., Anderson, J.B., and Simms, A.R., 2008.  Threshold-Response of Mobile Bay and eastern Mississippi Sound, Alabama to Changes in Accommodation Space and Sediment Sequestration,  in Anderson, J.B. and Rodriguez, A.B. (eds.), Response of Upper Gulf Coast Estuaries to Holocene Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise, GSA Special Paper 443,p. 13-29.



Simms, A. R., K. Lambeck, T. Purcell, J. B. Anderson, A. B. Rodriguez.  2007.  Sea-level history within the Gulf of Mexico since the Last Glacial Maximum with implications for the melting history of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.  Quaternary Science Reviews 26, p 920-940.  PDF

Simms, A. R., J. B. Anderson, K. T.  Milliken, Z. P. Taha, and J. S. Wellner.  2007.  Geomorphology and age of the OIS 2 (last lowstand) sequence boundary on the northwestern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf.  in Davis, R.J., Posamentier, H.W., Wood, L.J., and Cartwright, J.A. (eds.),  Seismic Geomorphology: Applications to Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production,  Geological Society of London Special Publication 277, p. 29-46.

Matteus, C.R., Rodriguez, A.B., Greene, D.L.Jr., Simms, A.R., and Anderson, J.B., 2007.  Control of upstream variables on incised-valley dimension.  Journal of Sedimentary Research 77, p. 213-224.  PDF



Simms, A. R., J. B. Anderson, Z. P. Taha, and A. B. Rodriguez.  2006.  Overfilled versus underfilled incised valleys:  Lessons from the Quaternary Gulf of Mexico.  in Dalrymple, R., Leckie, D., and Tillman, R. (Eds.), Incised Valleys in Time and Space,  SEPM Special Publication85, p. 117-139.

Simms, A. R., J. B. Anderson, and M. Blum.  2006.  Barrier-island aggradation via inlet migration: Mustang Island, Texas.  Sedimentary Geology 187, p. 105-125.  PDF



Rodriguez, A. B., J. B. Anderson, and A. R. Simms2005.  Terrace inundation as an autocyclic  mechanism for parasequence formation: Galveston Estuary, Texas, USA.  Journal of Sedimentary Research 75, p.608-620.  PDF


Courses Taught:

Earth 10: Antarctica

Earth 104A: Field Methods

Earth 108/208: Depositional Systems

Earth 118/119: Field Camp

Earth 122: Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Earth 176: Geologic Applications of GIS

Earth 245: Sequence Stratigraphy


Current Students:

Elisabeth Steel, PhD, Hyperpycnal fans of the Santa Barbara Channel

Laura Reynolds, PhD, Holocene evolution of the estuaries of southern California

Julie Zurbuchen, PhD, Holocene history of sandy coastal plain of southern California

Michael Bentz, MS, Foraminifera sea-level reconstruction for southern California




Vanessa Brillo, MS'15, Depositional facies of the Permian Cloud Chief Formation, Oklahoma, Now at MadScience (Los Angeles, CA)

Johnathan Rice, MS'15, Holocene history and facies of the Nueces Bayhead Delta, Texas, Now at D-Corp (Ventura, CA)

Daniel Livsey, PhD'15, Holocene climate and sea-level history of south Texas, Now a PostDoc with California SeaGrant (Sacramento, CA)

Lauren Simkins, PhD '14, Holcoene sea-level reconstruction along the Antarctic Peninsula, Now a PostDoc at Rice University (Houston, TX)

Eva van Thury, MS '13, Cliff erosion along the Santa Barbara Channel, Now at Padre Associates (Santa Barbara, CA)

Hannah Arauza (Alexander), MS '13, Holocene evolution of the Bull Creek Valley, Oklahoma, Now at Terracon Consultants (Denver, CO)


At Oklahoma State University:

Katie Ross, MS '11, Modern depositional environments of the Great Salt Plains, Oklahoma, Now at S&M Energy (Midland, TX)

Zachary Poland, MS' 11, Depositional Environments of the Rush Springs Sandstone, Oklahoma, Now at Devon Energy (Oklahoma City, OK)

Taylor Troiani, MS '10, Late Quaternary/Holocene Evolution of Copano Bay, Texas, Now at Devon Energy (Oklahoma City, OK)

Tyler Treece, MS '09, Depositional Environments of the Duncan Formation, Oklahoma, Now at EOG (Oklahoma City, OK)

Annie Drewry, MS '09, Coastal Geology of the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica, Now at ConocoPhillips (Houston, TX)

Peter Kouremenos, MS '08, Reconstructing sea-levels in Antarctica from raised beach deposits, Now at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus

Mike Aufil, MS '07, Sedimentology of the Woodford Shale, Oklahoma, Now at Newfield (Tulsa, OK)

Niranjan Aryal, MS '07, Late Quaternary/Holocene Evolution of Baffin Bay, Texas, Now at Schlumberger (Houston, TX)