Dr. Stanley R. Riggs,  Distinguished Research Professor
Distinguished Professor of Geology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Office Graham 303
Phone 328-6015
Marine and Coastal Geology, Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and Economic Geology
Ph.D. (1967) University of MontanaMissoula, Montana
M.S.(1962) Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
B.S.(1960) Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin
Dr. Riggs may be reached via Email : riggss@ecu.edu

Current Professional and Scholarly Interests

    Dr. Riggs is a coastal and marine geologist who has been doing research on modern coastal systems since 1964 and has been on the faculty at East Carolina University since 1967. His research extends from inland river, lake, and pocosin environments, to estuarine and barrier island systems, and seaward across the continental shelf. His areas of interest lie in sedimentation, Quaternary and Tertiary stratigraphy, coastal and mineral resources, and their inter-relationship with the development of human civilization. Dr. Riggs has been actively involved in numerous technical coastal and mineral resource issues at the Federal, State, and local levels that included appointments to many commissions, task forces, panels, and committees. These appointments, as well as many of his publications, have dealt directly with integrating scientific understanding and utilization and management of various coastal systems including such critical issues as climate change and sea-level rise, shoreline erosion and land loss, hazard zone delineation, inlet dynamics, water quality, and habitat preservation (i.e., hardbottom reefs, salt marshes, maritime forests, etc.), and natural resources (i.e., water, beach nourishment sand, as well as resources critical for energy, food production, building, etc.).

    Dr. Riggs has carried out long-term research programs in the following general topics both in North Carolina, throughout the US Atlantic coast, and in many other coastal regions of the world. These projects were funded by many Federal and State agencies including the US National Science Foundation, NOAA Sea Grant, NOAA National Undersea Research Program, Environmental Protection Agency, Geological Survey, Department of Defense, Minerals Management Service, and the NC Departments of Water Resources, Geological Survey, Water Quality, State Parks, and Transportation.

The general research topics that he is actively working on include the following.
1. Origin and evolutionary development of modern coastal systems since the last glacial maximum, the dynamic processes of change and their impact upon human development
2. Origin, evolutionary development, and dynamics of coastal plain riverine and pocosin wetland systems
3. Quaternary and upper Tertiary stratigraphic record of changing global climate, sea level, and sedimentologic responses
4. Estuarine water quality: interaction between the sediment regime, chemical pollutants, and benthic community structure
5. Interaction between the underlying geologic framework, storm dynamics, sediment processes, and the integrated response of the coupled barrier island, shoreface, and continental shelf systems
6. Evolution of continental shelf hardbottom habitats and their relationship to benthic community structure and fish recruitment
7. Bioerosion, sediment production, and storm dynamics of continental shelf hardbottoms
8. Geology of continental shelf resources including beach nourishment sand, ground water, and other authigenic minerals (i.e., phosphate, glauconite, carbonates, etc.)

Over 73 multiyear grants and contracts with funds for research that totals in excess of $7 million plus ship time and equipment.

M.S. Theses Completed (Major Advisor and Committee Member) = 89
PhD Dissertations (Major Advisor or Committee Member) = 10

Professional Publications

This includes 16 books and monographs, 2 edited volumes, 38 chapters in books, 55 articles in journals and special journal publications, and 9 geological survey bulletins, circulars, maps, etc.

Abstracts are published in proceeding volumes of international, national, and regional professional meetings.

These include government agency and company reports, newsletters, films, local field guidebooks, and other published material that have no formal outlet for cataloging and distribution.


Publications 1990 to Present


Riggs, S. R., Ames, D.V., & Mallinson, D.J.,2015.  Environmental and Geological Evolution of Shackleford Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore,
 North Carolina., submitted to U.S. National Park Service


Parham, P. R., Riggs, S. R., Culver, S. J., Mallinson, D. J., Rink, W. J., Wehmiller, J.F. and K. Burdette, 2013.  Quaternary coastal lithofacies, sequence
           development and stratigraphy in a passive margin setting, North Carolina and Virginia, USA.  Sedimentology. 60, 503-547

Farrell, K. M., Harris, W. B., Mallinson, D. J., & Culver, S. J. 2013.  Logging for interpreting process-generated stratigraphic sequences and
          aquifer/reservoir potential: with analog shelf to shoreface examples from the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province, USA.
          Journal of Sedimentary Research 83, 723-745


Farrell, K.M., Harris, W.B., Mallinson, D.J., Culver, S.J., Riggs, S.R., Pierson, J., Self-Trail, J.M., and Lautier, J.C. 2012. Standardizing texture and
facies codes for a process-based classification of clastic sediment and rock.  Journal of Sedimentary Research, 82, 364-378.


Riggs, S. R., Ames, D. V., Culver, S. J., & Mallinson, D. J. 2011.  The Battle for North Carolina's Coasts: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision
           for the Future
 University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 142 p.

Culver, S.J., Farrell, K., Mallinson, D.J., Willard, D.A., Horton, B.P., Riggs, S.R., Thieler, E.R., Wehmiller, J.F.,  Parham, P., Snyder, S.W.,
           and Hillier, C. 2011.  Micropaleontologic record of Quaternary paleoenvironments in the central Albemarle Embayment,
 North Carolina, U.S.A. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 305, 227-249.

Parham, P.R., Riggs, S.R., Culver, S.J. and Mallinson, D.J., Peteet, D. 2011. Astronomical tidal regime change as a control on the Holocene
           development of an organic-rich coastal zone, North Carolina, USA.  Southeastern Geology, 48, 51-72.

Grand Pre, C., Culver, S.J., Corbett, D.R., Farrell, K.M., Mallinson, D., Horton, B.P., Hillier, C., Riggs, S.R., Snyder, S.W.Buzas, M.A. 2011.
Rapid Holocene coastal change revealed by high resolution micropaleontological analysis, Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Quaternary Research, 76, 319-334.


Cahoon, D.R., Reed, D.J., Kolker, A.S., Brinson, M.M., Stevenson, J.C., Riggs, S.R., Christian, R., Reyes, E., Voss, C., and Kunz, D.
           2009. Coastal Wetland Sustainability. In Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region.
           A report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, J.G.
  Titus, K.E. Anderson, D.R. Cahoon, D.B. Gesch, S.K. Gill, B.T. Gutierrez, E.R. Thieler, and S.J. Williams. U.S.
 Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, Chpt. 4, p. 57-72.

Poulter, B., Feldman, R.L., Brinson, M.M., Horton, B.P., Orbach, M.K., Pearsall, S., Reyes, E., Riggs, S.R., and Whitehead, J. 2009.
           Sea-level rise research and dialogue in North Carolina: creating windows for policy change. Oceans and Coastal Management,
           v. 52. no. 3-4, p. 147-153.

Riggs, S.R., Ames, D.V., Culver, S.J., Mallinson, D.J., Corbett, D.R.and Walsh, J.P. Eye of a human hurricane:
 Pea Island, Oregon Inlet,and Bodie Island, northern Outer Banks, North Carolina; In  Identifying America’s Most Vulnerable
          Oceanfront Communities: A Geological Perspective”, Eds. J.T. Kelley, R.S.Young, and O.H. Pilkey. Geological
          Society of America, Special Publication

Riggs, S.R., Culver, S.J., Ames, D.V., Mallinson, D.J., Corbett, D.R., and Walsh, J.P. North Carolina’s Coasts in Crisis: A
           Vision for the Future. White Paper published by East Carolina University, 26 p.

Mallinson, D.J., Culver, S.J., Riggs, S.R., Walsh, J.P., Ames, D.V., and Smith, C.W.  Past, Present, and Future Inlets of the
           Outer Banks Barrier Islands, North Carolina. White Paper published by East Carolina University, 22 p

Corbett, D.R..  Walsh, J.P., Cowart L., Riggs, S.R., Ames, D.V., and Culver, S.J.  Shoreline Change within the Albemarle-
           Pamlico Estuarine System, North Carolina.
White Paper published by East Carolina University, 22 p

Riggs, S.R., and Ames, D.V.,   Impact of the Oregon Inlet terminal groin on downstream beaches of Pea Island, NC Outer Banks.
            White Paper for NC Division of Coastal Management, 19 p


Smith, C.G., Culver, S.J., Riggs, S.R., Ames, D., Corbett, D.R., and Mallinson, D. 2008. Geospatial analysis of barrier island width
           of two segments of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, USA: Anthropogenic curtailment of natural self-sustaining processes.
          Jl. Coastal Research, 24: 70-83

Riggs, S.R., Ames, D.V., and Dawkins, K.R. 2008. Coastal Processes and Conflicts: North Carolina's Outer Banks
          A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students. NC Sea Grant Program, Raleigh, North Carolina


Culver, S.J., Grand Pre, C.A., Mallinson, D., Riggs, S.R., Corbett, D.R., Foley, J., Hale, M., Metger, L., Ricardo, J., Rosenberger, J.,
         Smith, D.G., Smith, C.W., Snyder, S.W., Twamley, D., Farrell, K., and Horton, B.P. 2007. Late Holocene barrier island collapse:
         Outer Banks, North Carolina, USA.
The Sedimentary Record, 5: 4-8.

Parham, P.R., Riggs, S.R., Culver, S.J., Mallinson, D.J., and Wehmiller, J.F., 2007,
          Quaternary depositional patterns and sea-level fluctuations, northeastern North Carolina: Quaternary Research, v. 67, p. 83-99.

Riggs, S.R.,and Ames, D.V., 2007, Effect of Storms on Barrier Island Dynamics,  Core Banks, Cape Lookout
           National Seashore, North Carolina, 1960-2001. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5309, 73 p.


Culver, S.J., Ames, D.V., Corbett, D.R., Mallinson, D.J., Riggs, S.R., Smith, C.G., and Vance, D.J., 2006, Foraminiferal and
           sedimentary record of late Holocene barrier island evolution, Pea Island, North Carolina.: The role of storm overwash,
           inlet processes and anthropogenic modification. Journal of Coastal Research, v. 22, p.836-846.

O’Driscoll, M.A., Riggs, S.R., Ames, D.V., Brinson, M.M., Corbett,D.R., and Mallinson, D.J., 2006. Geomorphic, ecologic, and
          hydrologic dynamics of Merchants Millpond, North Carolina; in Hydrology and Management of Forested Wetlands,
          American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, Proceedings of the International Conference, Annual Meeting, 2006, p. 423-431.

O’Paerl, H.W., Valdes, L.M., Joyner, A.R., Peierls, B.L., Piehler, M.F., Riggs, S.R., Christian, R.R., Eby, L.A., Crowder, L.B., Ramus, J.S.,
          Clesceri, E.J., Buzzelli, C.P., and Luettich, R.A., 2006. Ecological response to hurricane events in the Pamlico Sound system,
          North Carolina, and implications for assessment and management in a regime of increased frequency.
          Estuaries and Coasts, v. 29, no. 6A, p. 1033-1045.


Mallinson, D.J., Riggs, S.R., Thieler, E.R., Culver, S.J., Farrell, K., Foster, D.S., Corbett, D.R.,  Horton, B.P., and Wehmiller, J.F., 2005,
          Late Neogene and Quaternary evolution of the northern Albemarle embayment (mid-Atlantic continental margin, USA).
          Marine Geology, 217: 97-117.


Havholm, K.G., Ames, D.V., Whittecar, G.R., Wenell, B.A., Riggs, S.R., Jol, H.M., Berger, G.W., and Holmes, M.A., 2004,
           Stratigraphy of back-barrier coastal dunes, northern North Carolina and southern Virginia:
Journal of Coastal Research,
            v. 20, p. 980-999.

Riggs, S.R., 2004, Stan Riggs, in R. Moore and J. Barnes, eds., Faces From the Flood: Hurricane Floyd Remembered: Univ.
           of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, p. 187-194.


Riggs, S.R., 2003, The framework of North Carolina’s coastal system, in E. Bird, ed., The World’s Coasts.
           Online, Kluwer Publishing Co.

Riggs, S.R.,and Ames, D.V., 2003, Drowning of North Carolina: Sea-Level Rise and Estuarine Dynamics. NC Sea Grant
           Program, Raleigh, NC, Pub. No. UNC-SG-03-04, 152 p.


Anderson, J., Belknap, D., Douglas, B., FitzGerald, D., Fletcher, C., Holman, R., Lane, R., Leatherman, S., Richmond, B.,
            Riggs, S., Rodriguez, A., Tebbens, S., Tornquist, T., and van de Plassche, O., 2002, CoForce: Coastal Forcasting in
            Rapidly Changing Environments: GSA Today, v. 12, no. 2, p. 46.

Riggs, S.R., 2002, Life at the Edge of North Carolina’s Coastal System, in C. Beal and C. Prioli, C., eds., Life at the Edge
            of the Sea. Coastal Carolina Press, Wilmington, NC, p. 63-96.


Cleary, W.J., McLeod, M.A., Rauscher, M.A., Johnston, M.K., and Riggs, S.R., 2001, Beach nourishment on hurricane impacted
           barriers in Southeastern North Carolina, USA: targeting shoreface and tidal inlet sand resources: Journal of Coastal
           Research, v. 34, p. 232-255.

Riggs, S.R., 2001, Anatomy of a flood, in Maiolo, J.R., Whitehead, J.C., McGee, M., King, L., Johnson, J., and Stone, H., eds.,
           Facing Our Future: Hurricane Floyd and Recovery in the Coastal Plain. Coastal Carolina Press, Wilmington, NC, p. 29-45.

Riggs, S.R., 2001, Shoreline Erosion in North Carolina Estuaries: NC Sea Grant College Program, Raleigh, NC, Pub. No.
           UNC-SG-01-11, 69 p.

Riggs, S.R., Ames, D.V., Brant, R., and Sager, E., 2001, The Waccamaw Drainage System: Geology and dynamics of a
            coastal wetland, southeastern North Carolina. N.C. Division of Water Resources Pub., 238 p.
            On line book available at http://www.ncwater.org/Reports_and_Publications/waccamaw/wacrept8.htm


Fletcher, C., Anderson, J., Crook, K., Kaminsky, G., Larcombe, P., Murray-Wallace, C.V., Sansone, F., Scott, D., Riggs, S.,
            Sallenger, A., Shennan, I., Theiler, R., and Wehmiller, J.F., 2000, Coastal sedimentary research examines critical issues
            of national and global priority: EOS, v. 81, no. 17, p.181/186.

Fletcher, C., Anderson, J., Crook, K., Kaminsky, G., Larcombe, P., Murray-Wallace, C.V., Sansone, F., Scott, D., Riggs, S.,
            Sallenger, A., Shennan, I., Theiler, R., and Wehmiller, J.F., 2000, Research in the sedimentary geology of the coastal
            zone and inner shelf: GSA Today, v. 10, no. 6, p. 10-11.

Riggs, S.R., 2000, Did we create our own flood crisis in eastern North Carolina? in Rickert, E.W., ed., Eye of the Storm: Coastal
            Carolina Press, Wilmington, NC, p. 94-99.

Riggs, S.R., 2000, Outer Banks from Ocracoke to Pea Island: Merging of the Sand and Sea, in Frankenberg, D., ed., Exploring
            North Carolina’s Natural Areas: Parks, Nature Preserves, and Hiking Trails: University of North Carolina Press,
            Chapel Hill, p. 28-40.

Riggs, S.R., and Frankenberg, D. 2000, Downeast lowlands: being swallowed by the sea, in Frankenberg, D., ed., Exploring
            North Carolina’s Natural Areas: Parks, Nature Preserves, and Hiking Trails: University of North Carolina Press,
            Chapel Hill, p. 41-53.

Riggs, S.R., Rudolph, G.L., and Ames, D.V., 2000, Erosional scour and geologic evolution of Croatan Sound, Northeastern
            North Carolina: N.C. Department of Transportation, Raleigh, NC, Rept. No. FHWA/NC/2000-002, 115 p.

Riggs, S.R., Snyder, S.W., Ames, D., and Stille, P., 2000, Chronostratigraphy of Upper Cenozoic phosphorites on the North
            Carolina continental margin and oceanographic implications for phosphogenesis, in, Glenn, C.R., Prevot-Lucas, L.,
            and Lucas, J., eds., Authigenic Marine Minerals: From Global to Microbial: Journal of Sedimentary Research, Special
            Publication No. 66, p. 369-385.


Riggs, S.R., 1999, Coupled inner shelf-shoreline sediment responses to small-scale Holocene sea-level fluctuations: North
            Carolina coastal zone, in Fletcher, C.H., and Matthews, J.V., eds., Non-steady State of the Inner Shelf--Shoreline:
            Coastal Change on Time Scales of Decades to Millennia in the late Quaternary: Univ. Hawaii Press, Honolulu, p. 165-167.

Riggs, S.R., Snyder, S.W., Ames, D., and Stille, P., 1999, Chronostratigraphy of Upper Cenozoic phosphorites on the North
            Carolina continental margin and oceanographic implications for phosphogenesis, in, Glenn, C.R., and Lucas, J., eds.,
            Marine Authigenesis: From Global to Microbial: Journalof Sedimentary Research Special Publication No. 66, p. 369-385.


Pilkey, O.H., Neal, W.J., Riggs, S.R. and others, 1998, The North Carolina Shore and Its Barrier Islands: Restless Ribbons
            of Sand: Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 318 pp.

Riggs, S.R., Ambrose, W.G., Cook, J.W., Snyder, S.W., & Snyder, S.W., 1998, Sediment production on sediment-starved continental
            margins: the inter-relationship between hardbottoms, sedimentologic & benthic community processes, & storm dynamics:
            Jour. Sedimentary Geol., v. 68, p. 155-168.

Sager, E.D., and Riggs, S.R., 1998, Models for Holocene valley-fill history of Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, in Alexander, C.,
            Henry, V.J., and Davis, R., eds., Tidalites: Processes and Products: Journal of Sedimentary Research Special Publication
            No. 61, p. 119-127.


Riggs, S.R., Stille, P., and Ames, D., 1997, Sr isotopic age analysis of co-occurring Miocene phosphate grain types on the North
           Carolina continental shelf: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 67, p. 65-73.


Cleary, W.J., Riggs, S.R., Marcy, D.C., and Snyder, S.W., 1996, The influence of inherited geological framework upon a hardbottom
            dominated shoreface on a high energy shelf: Onslow Bay, North Carolina, USA, in De Batiste, M., and Jacobs, P., eds., Geology
            of Siliciclastic Shelf Seas: Geological Society of London, Spec. Pub. No. 117, p. 249-266.

Riggs, S.R., 1996, Conflict on the not-so-fragile barrier island systems: Geotimes, v. 41, n. 12, p. 14-18.

Riggs, S.R., 1996, Sediment evolution and habitat function of organic-rich muds within the Albemarle estuarine system, NC:
            Estuaries, v. 19, no. 2A, p.169-185.

Riggs, S.R., Snyder, S.W., Hine, A.C., Mearns, D.L., and Snyder, S.W., 1996, Hardbottom morphology and relationship to the
            geologic framework of Onslow Bay, North Carolina continental shelf: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 66, p. 830-846.


Riggs, S.R., Cleary, W.J., and Snyder, S.W., 1995, Influence of inherited geologic framework upon barrier beach morphology
            and shoreface dynamics: Marine Geology, v. 126, p. 213-234.


Riggs, S.R., & Cleary, W.J., 1993, Influence of inherited geologic framework upon barrier island morphology and shoreface
            dynamics: Large Scale Coastal Behavior '93, St. Petersburg, FL, U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 93-381,
            p. 173-176.

Riggs, S., Stille, P., and Clauer, N., 1993, Sr istotopic analysis of  phosphate peloids through multiple sea-level cycles: testing
           the depositional model, North Carolina continental margin, in V. Zullo, W. Harris, T. Scott, and R. Portel, eds., The Neogene
           of Florida and Adjacent Regions: Florida Geological Survey, Spec. Pub.37, p. 107-109.

Snyder, S.W., Hine, A.C., Riggs, S.R., and Snyder, S.W., 1993, Miocene geology of the continental shelf, Onslow Bay, North
            Carolina: North Carolina GeologicalSurvey, Map Series No. 3.


Stille, P., Riggs, S., & Clauer, N., 1991, Nd and Sr isotope stratigraphy of phosphates from the North Carolina continental margin:
            European Union of Geosciences VI, Strasbourg, Fr., Terra, v. 3, no. 1.