Ruth Aronoff

Associate Professor of Earth Sciences

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Dr. Ruth Aronoff is a geologist who studies how continents form and how tectonic plates operate. She integrates field studies with a variety of analytical techniques. Dr. Aronoff is interested in planetary evolution, energy resources, climate change solutions, and creating safe and welcoming spaces for scientists and students. Dr. Aronoff earned a B.A. in geosciences and anthropology from Williams College. She then worked in nonprofit environmental advocacy before earning her Ph.D. in geology and tectonics. During her undergraduate and graduate career, Dr. Aronoff also engaged in research on energy, including analyzing energy infrastructure and decision-making, and understanding the earth science framework behind the raw materials used in energy production. Dr. Aronoff is excited to collaborate with Furman students in the classroom and through original research projects. Her teaching and mentoring focus on providing students with experiences that will build their skills as scientists, learners, and members of a collaborative, creative project team.


  • Ph.D., Purdue University
  • B.A., Williams College


Dr. Aronoff's research interests include structural geology, tectonics, geochronology, metamorphic petrology, geodynamics, and energy resources. Ongoing projects focus on the tectonic development of North America in the Proterozoic eon; the formation and stabilization of continental lithosphere at convergent plate margins; the future of energy production and consumption; and excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion in science disciplines.Dr. Aronoff and her students specialize in employing a diverse set of research tools to better understand tectonic processes. She is particularly fascinated by the interaction between deformation and metamorphism from the microscopic scale to the continent scale, and the evolution of pressure and temperature in the solid earth over both time and space. Dr. Aronoff and her students interpret the tectonic history of a region using field methods, numerical models, and lab methods that span structural geology, petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics.Dr. Aronoff has received funding from Furman University, the National Science Foundation, Purdue University, ExxonMobil, and the Geological Society of America. She collaborates with Furman undergraduates on research projects, and with scientists at a variety of institutions, including at other universities and at local and national government offices and agencies. Dr. Aronoff is excited to develop new collaborations with students and scientists at all career stages.


  • * denotes mentored student author, † denotes invited submission
  • Kuiper, Y.D., Aronoff, R.F., Daniel, C.G., and Bzdok, M. (in press, 2022), The nature and extent of the Mesoproterozoic Picuris orogeny in Colorado, Geological Society of America Field Guides.
  • *Bollen, E.M., Stowell, H.H., Aronoff, R.F., Stotter, S.V., Daniel, C.G., McFarlane, C.R.M., and Vervoort, J.D., (2022), Reconciling garnet Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd, and monazite U-Pb ages for a prolonged metamorphic event, northern New Mexico, Journal of Petrology, v. 63 no. 5.
  • †Daniel, C.G., Aronoff, R.F., Indares, A., and Jones, J.V. III (in press, 2022) Laurentia in transition during the Mesoproterozoic: observations and speculation on the ca. 1500-1340 Ma tectonic evolution of the south Laurentian margin, in Whitmeyer, S., Williams, M., Tikoff, B., and Kellett, D., eds., Laurentia: An Evolving Continent. Geological Society of America Memoir.
  • Daniel, C.G., Indares, A., Medaris, L.G. Jr., Aronoff, R.F., Malone, D., and Schwartz, J., (2022) Linking the Pinware, Baraboo, and Picuris orogens: recognition of a trans-Laurentian ca. 1520-1340 Ma orogenic belt, in Whitmeyer, S., Williams, M., Tikoff, B., and Kellett, D., eds., Laurentia: An Evolving Continent. Geological Society of America Memoir.
  • *Hernandez-Montenegro, J.D., Andronicos, C.L., Zuluaga, C., and Aronoff, R.F. (2019), Effects of melt loss and melt retention on differentiation of anatectic pelites: A case study of the Wet Mountains, Colorado, Lithos, 344, 425-439.
  • Daniel, C.G., Andronicos, C.L. and Aronoff, R.F., (2016), Regional Al2SiO5 triple-point metamorphic rocks of northern New Mexico: A field trip to honor the career contributions of Lincoln Hollister to petrology and tectonics, in Keller, S.M. and Morgan, M.L., Unfolding the Geology of the West: Geological Society of America Field Guide 44, p. 201-229.
  • Aronoff, R.F., Andronicos, C.L., Vervoort, J.D., and Hunter, R.A., (2016), Redefining the metamorphic history of the oldest rocks in the southern Rocky Mountains, GSA Bulletin: B31455-1.