Dr. Carol Sawyer

Dr. Carol Sawyer

Associate Professor of Geography
Department of Earth Sciences

Research interests

  • Geomorphology
  • Mountain Geography
  • Periglacial Geomorphology
  • Field Methods in Geography


Dr. Carol F. Sawyer is a geomorphologist and an Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of South Alabama. She received her B.Sc. from Montana State University-Bozeman, M.Sc. from Southwest Texas State University, and her Ph.D. from Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University). Dr. Sawyer focuses on landscape-scale and micro-scale regions and how those places react and adjust to change, i.e. climate change, disturbances (animal, natural), and human-induced changes. She focuses specifically on mountain regions and their landforms, including mass wasting (debris flows and avalanches), and changes in the alpine treeline regions of the Western U.S. mountains. Dr. Sawyer’s most recent research has been in the Olympic Mountains of Western Washington.

Dr. Sawyer enjoys working with undergraduate students in the field or in the lab. If you are interested in working on any of these projects, please send her an email or stop by her office.

Selected Publications

  • Sawyer, Carol F., Donald Brinkman, Vincent D. Walker, Tyler D. Covington, Elizabeth A. Stienstraw. 2012. The Zoogeomorphic Characteristics of Burrows and Burrowing by the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Geomorphology 157-158: 122-130.

  • Sawyer, Carol F. 2012. Classics Revisited: Washburn’s Classification of Patterned Ground and Review of Suggested Origins. Geological Society of America Bulletin 67, 823-865 (1956). Progress in Physical Geography 36 (3): 440-448.

  • Butler, David R. and Carol F. Sawyer. 2012. Introduction to the Special Issue - Zoogeomorphology and Ecosystem Engineering. Geomorphology 157-158: 1-5.

  • Sawyer, Carol F., David R. Butler, and Mary Curtis. 2010. Using Webcams to Show Change and Movement in the Physical Environment. Journal of Geography 109(6): (251) 263.

  • Butler, David R., Carol F. Sawyer, and Jacob A. Maas. 2010. Tree-ring dating of snow avalanches in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA In: Tree Rings and Natural Hazards (Markus Stoffel, Michelle Bollschweiler, David R. Butler, and Brian H. Luckman, eds.) Dordrecht: Springer, 33-44.

  • Butler, David R., Jacob A. Maas, and Carol F. Sawyer. 2009. Traumatic Resin Ducts in Tree Rings: Advancing Tree-Ring Dating of Snow Avalanches in Glacier National Park, Montana. Papers and Proceedings of the Applied Geography Conferences 32, October 2009, Baton Rouge, LA, 181-88.

  • Butler, David R., George P. Malanson, Lynn M. Resler, Stephen J. Walsh, Forrest D. Wilkerson, Ginger L. Schmid, and Carol F. Sawyer. 2009. Geomorphic Patterns and Processes at Alpine Treeline. In: The Changing Treeline of Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A.(D. R. Butler, G. P. Malanson, S. J. Walsh, and D. B. Fagre, ed.), Amsterdam: Elsevier, 63-84.

  • Butler, David R. and Carol F. Sawyer. 2008. Dendrogeomorphology and High Magnitude Snow Avalanches: A Review and Case Study. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 8: 303-309.

  • Sawyer, Carol F. and David R. Butler. 2006. The Use of Historical Picture Postcards as Photographic Sources for Examining Environmental Change: Promises and Problems.  Geocarto International, 21 (3): 73-80.

  • Sawyer, Carol F. and David R. Butler. 2006. A Chronology of High-Magnitude Snow Avalanches Reconstructed from Archived Newspapers. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 15 (2): 313-24.

  • Sawyer, Carol F. and David R. Butler. 2004. Landslide Aspect: A Methodological Approach to Circular Data for Hazard Analysis. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences 27, October 2004, St. Louis, MO, 67-74.

  • Viertel, David C., Carol F. Sawyer, J. Ronald Eyton, and David R. Butler. 2003. The Application of Artificially Induced Stereo Visualization for Landslide Identification in Yellowstone National Park. Papers and Proceedings of the Applied Geography Conferences 26, November 2003, Colorado Springs, CO, 307-12.


  • GEO 101 - Atmospheric Processes
  • GEO 102 - Landscape Processes
  • GEO/GY 310 – Environmental Earth Sciences
  • GEO 313 – Geography of U.S. and Canada
  • GEO 314 – Geography of Europe
  • GEO 317 – Mountain Geography
  • GEO 405 – Natural Hazards and Disasters
  • GEO 412 – Physiography of North America
  • GEO 435 – Research Methods
  • GEO 485 – Seminar in Geographic Thought