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Department of Geography
Dean Hall 301
(509) 963-1188

Karl Lillquist

Professor, Geography Department
Dean Hall 319
Phone: (509) 963-1184

Karl is a physical geographer who has been a faculty member at Central Washington University since Fall 1995. Prior to coming to CWU he was an assistant professor of geography at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa from 1993-95. This is a homecoming of sorts for Karl as he earned undergraduate degrees in Geography and Geology here in the mid-1980's.

Karl's first academic love is physical geography field study. His upbringing in Coulee City, WA probably played a big part in this love. "I grew up amidst the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington. My parent's house was situated on a late Pleistocene flood scoured basalt surface, and I grew up recreating in this unique landscape. Also, I spent my summers removing rocks (i.e., glacial erratics) from wheat fields located behind the terminus of the Okanogan Lobe of the Cordilleran Icesheet". He teaches physical geography, geomorphology, soils, snow, airphoto analysis, field methods, mountain environments, arid lands, and graduate research. Karl's current research is focused on environmental change in the mountains and deserts of the western U.S. with an emphasis on using geomorphology, soils, and stratigraphy to better understand glaciers, rock glaciers, glacial lakes, and arroyos.

Karl's spouse Nancy is also a Geography alumnus (1983) and they have two grown sons–Erik and Jensen. In his spare time, Karl enjoys most human-powered outdoor activities with his family (including hiking, backpacking, bicycling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, whitewater rafting, and rock rolling), making compost for Nancy's garden, rebuilding bicycles, making cider, doing home improvement projects, and yard saling.


  • PhD. Geography. University of Utah. Summer 1994.
  • Non-degree Program. Juneau Icefield Research Program. University of Idaho. Summer 1990.
  • M.S. Geography. Portland State University. Spring 1989.
  • B.A. Geology. Central Washington University. Spring 1985.
  • B.A. Geography. Central Washington University. Spring 1984






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