Richard W. Hurst, Ph.D.

Senior Adjunct Faculty Member
(805) 630-0207
ASCI 110

Originally from New York, Richard Hurst taught for 30 years at California State University, Los Angeles where he is now a Professor Emeritus. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Research Geologist/Lecturer at University of California, Santa Barbara. As an undergraduate at State University of New York, Stony Brook, Hurst performed research on age dating of corals and analyzed rare gases in lunar samples returned from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. His current research focuses on forensic geochemistry, tracing and age dating contaminants in the environment.

For relaxation, I enjoy hiking, playing guitar, and throwing a few anything (fish, chicken, steak) on the barbecue. In order to attempt to stay fit, I participate in martial arts and currently the the rank of Nidan, second degree black belt, in ninjutsu.   

B.S. Degree: SUNY, Stony Brook (Earth & Space Sciences; Minors in Mathematics and Chemistry) Ph.D. Degree: University of California, Los Angeles (Geology & Geochemistry) Dissertation Topic: Geology/Geochronology of Coastal Labrador and the Sudbury Nickel Irruptive

Dr. Hurst has worked his way through the geologic time scale, performing research designed to better understand how rocks form and the time scales of such processes. The age of the rocks he has studied is inversely correlated with his age. While at UCLA and UCSB in the 1970s, his work focused on the Earth's early history, 2.5 to 4.5 billion years ago. During the 1980s, rocks of interest ranged in age from approximately 600 to 5 million years old. By the 1990s, through the present, his research has focused on the forensic geochemistry of environmental contamination where he is often attempting to estimate when, during the 20th Century, a specific contamination event occurred and identifying the party or parties responsible for the contamination. He is regarded as a leading expert on contamination derived from leaded gasoline and lead paint, as well as issues associated with climate change.