James Hagadorn, PhD


Dr. James Hagadorn is a detective in deep time, seeking to understand how our planet has changed. With a combination of field- and laboratory-based geology, his research informs us about how Earth’s outer membrane has functioned in the past and how it responds to perturbations—today, millions of years ago, and potentially in the future.


Current Projects

Featured Publications

Hagadorn, J. W., Whiteley, K. R., Lahey, B. L. Henderson, C. M., Holm-Denoma, C. S. 2016. The Permian-Triassic transition in Colorado: in Keller, S.M., and Morgan, M.L., eds., Unfolding the Geology of the West: Geological Society of America Field Guide 44, p. 73–92. DOI: 10.1130/2016.0044(03)

Karlstrom, K., Hagadorn, J., Gehrels, G., Matthews, W., Schmitz, M., Madronich, L., Mulder, J., Pecha, M., Giesler, D., & Crossey, L. 2018. Cambrian Sauk transgression in the Grand Canyon region redefined by detrital zircons. Nature Geoscience 11:438-443. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0131-7

Raynolds, R. G., and Hagadorn, J. W., 2016, The Colorado stratigraphy chart. Colorado Geological Survey, Map Series 53, 1 p.

MacNaughton, R. B., Hagadorn, J. W., & Dott, R. H. Jr. 2019. Cambrian wave-dominated tidalflat deposits, central Wisconsin, USA. Sedimentology 66. DOI: 10.1111/sed.12546

Hagadorn, J.W., Longman, M. W., Bottjer, R. J., Gent, V. A., Holm-Denoma, C. S., and Sumrall, J. B., 2021, The type section of the Codell Sandstone: The Mountain Geologist, v. 58, p. 211-248.DOI: 10.31582/rmag.mg.58.3.211

Scientist in Action: Hidden Gems

Behind the scenes at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is an extensive mineral collection, with over 20,000 specimens, including the largest collection of diamonds at any museum in the entire world! Dr. James Hagadorn, curator of geology, has the privilege of working with these rarely seen objects. Watch for a glimpse at this collection and learn about what a seemingly ordinary rock can reveal about the past, present, and future of our planet. 

Fossil Ghosts

Join Dr. James Hagadorn to discuss a new type of fossil preservation, discovered right here in Colorado, but that occurs all over the world.

Surfing 100 million year old sandstones

The Cretaceous Codell Sandstone is one of our region's important rock units because it is a major oil and gas reservoir in Colorado and Wyoming, and a water aquifer in Kansas and Nebraska. Yet we know little about how and when these strata formed, and what they tell us about the Western Interior Seaway that once blanketed much of the American West. Join Dr. James Hagadorn, Tim & Kathryn Ryan Curator of Geology at the Museum, for this episode of Science Division Live.

The Grand Canyon

Sweet Fossils and Secret Depths of the Grand Canyon

Curator of Geology, Dr. James Hagadorn, will talk about new work focused on dating and deciphering 500 million year old rocks and fossils from the bottom of the Grand Canyon and elsewhere. Such rocks record the first forays of animals onto land and document the first massive continental flooding events.

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