David King
Professor and Director of Concepts of Science

Office: Petrie 115

210 Petrie Hall
Auburn, AL 36849 

Phone: (334) 844-4882
Fax: (334) 844-4486

Dr. King’s current research interest is the effect of asteroid and comet impact upon Earth history and the stratigraphic record.

Ph.D., Geology, University of Missouri-Columbia
M.S., Geology, University of Houston
B.S., Geology, University of Louisiana-Monroe


Professor, Auburn University
Associate Professor, Auburn University
Assistant Professor, Auburn University

1998 - Present
1986 - 1998
1980 - 1986

At the undergraduate level, Dr. King regularly teaches introductory-level Physical Geology, junior-level Lunar and Planetary Geology, and senior-level Stratigraphy.  He is one of several faculty members who offer team-taught graduate courses in sedimentary geology and stratigraphy, including Facies Analysis and Sequence Stratigraphy and Cycles through Earth History. Dr. King also teaches a geology elective courses for undergraduates titled Lunar and Planetary Geology as well as various directed studies classes. He regularly offers directed study classes in impact geology. He is a former instructor in the Human Odyssey Program (1997-1999), and since 2003 he has taught annually in Auburn's Concepts of Science Program. From 1980 to 2000, he taught many sections of Introductory Geology (I and II), Historical Geology, Engineering Geology, Advanced Stratigraphy, and other courses under the now-ended quarter system. In addition to teaching, he is an academic advisor for undergraduate students and directs graduate-student research in his specialty areas. Since 2010, he is the Director for the Concepts of Science program at Auburn (http://www.auburn.edu/scmh1010).

Dr. King's current academic research interests are related to the effect of asteroid and comet impact upon Earth history and the stratigraphic record and his applied research interests relate to energy resources on Earth, including petroleum and energy exploration. His current research projects include studies of (1) Wetumpka impact crater in Elmore County, Alabama; (2) Cretaceous-Tertiary impact-boundary stratigraphy in the Gulf Coastal plain and in Belize and adjacent Mexico; (3) other impact structures, including Chesapeake Bay crater in Virginia, and possible impact structures including the Kilmichael structure in Mississippi, and (4) stratigraphy and petroleum geology of Belize, Central America. From 1980-1995, most of his work focused on facies analysis, sequence stratigraphy, sea-level dynamics, and clastic aquifer properties of eastern Alabama’s Upper Cretaceous stratigraphic section.  He maintains an interest in basic stratigraphic research, particularly in the Gulf Coastal plain and in Belize. In the past, Dr. King has studied Jurassic Smackover Limestone of south Alabama hydrocarbon basins, Waulsortian (Early Mississippian) buildups and reefs in the North American mid-continent and globally, Late Cretaceous dinosaur biogeography, lunar regolith grain sizes, chert petrology and metamorphism, and the petrography and diagenesis of limestone, chalk, and marl. He has worked as a concession geologist for petroleum exploration in Belize. He maintains a strong interest in the history of stratigraphy, which he teaches about in his Stratigraphy class. Dr. King is a former Commissioner of the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature (1997-2000). In 1982, while doing field studies in Montgomery County, Alabama, he discovered the most complete eastern North American tyrannosaurid dinosaur, which belongs to Auburn University. He is the author of a book on this subject titled Alabama Dinosaurs. Since 1980, Dr. King has supervised over 20 geology graduate-student (MS) thesis projects. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers, over 250 scientific abstracts, and over 50 orhter papers and monographs related to pedogogy and public understanding of science.

Dr. King's research (2009-2012) was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other sources.  In the recent past, his research has been funded by the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, the ICDP/USGS (Chesapeake Bay crater), a Dean’s Research Initiative (Wetumpka impact crater), the National Geographic Society (clastic aquifers), Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (Smackover Limestone), and Vulcan Materials Company (Wetumpka impact crater). In addition, his earlier research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Chevron USA, Atlantic-Richfield, American Chemical Society, U.S. CRDF,  USDA/CSRS/Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, the Council on Undergraduate Research, USGS/Water Resources Research Institute, General Crude Oil Minerals, Inc., and internal Auburn University Grants-in-Aid.

In 2005, Dr. King was appointed by Gov. Riley as a member of the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Geologists. As an ABLPG member, he represents the academic community in Alabama on the Board and addresses Board issues related to the continuing education requirements for license renewal in Alabama. In 2009, he was elected to the post of Secretary/Treasurer of the Board. Recently, he was reappointed to serve on the Board until 2013.

In 2007, Dr. King and Jens Ormö hosted a GSA-sponsored international Field Forum at Wetumpka, which brought in 40 scientists from 9 countries. For learn more about the activites of this conference, go to this link - http://www.geosociety.org/fieldForums/07rpt01.htm.

Dr. King has been honored as the outstanding science/math faculty member in the former School of Arts and Sciences (1985) and as an Auburn Alumni Association outstanding teacher (1989).

Dr. King received a 2004 Grover C. Murray Award for an outstanding paper in the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions.

Dr. King received a 2012 Dean's Faculty Outreach Award for his work with the city of Wetumpka, Alabama, on public understanding of the Wetumpka impact crater.

  1. Wartho, J.-A., M. C. van Soest, D. T. King, Jr., and L. W. Petruny, 2012, An (U-Th)/He age for the shallow-marine Wetumpka impact structure, Alabama, USA: Meteoritics and Planetary Science, v. 47, p. 1243-1255.
  2. King, D.T., Jr. and J. Ormö, 2011, Wetumpka – a marine target impact structure examined in the field: in Garry, W.B., and Bleacher J.B., eds., Analogues for planetary exploration:Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America, Special Paper 483, p. 287-300.
  3. Ferrell, R., D.T. King, Jr., and L.W. Petruny, 2011, Nontronitic clay pseudomorphs of Cretaceous-Paleogene (KT) microtektites, Shell Creek, Alabama, U.S.A.: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v.81, p. 348-354.
  4. de Villiers, G., D.T. King, Jr., and L.J. Marzen, 2010, A study of candidate marine target impact craters in Arabia Terra, Mars: Meteoritics and Planetary Science, v. 45, p. 947-964.
  5. King, D.T., Jr., and L.W. Petruny, 2008, Impact spherule-bearing, Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sand body, Shell Creek stratigraphic section, Alabama, USA, in Evans, K., et al., eds., The Sedimentary Record of Meteorite Impacts: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 437, p. 179-188.

Last updated: 11/14/2014