Julie Laity

Dr. Julie Laity
Professor / Arid Lands, Geomorphology
(818) 677-3523
Office location:
Sierra Hall, Room 130-H



  • Ph.D, 1982, University of California, Los Angeles
  • MA, 1976, University of California, Los Angeles
  • BA, 1973, University of California, Los Angeles

Courses Taught

  • Physical Geography (101)
  • Weather (103)
  • The Atmosphere (311),
  • Geomorphology (365)
  • Hydroclimatology (414)
  • Arid Environments (467)
  • Senior Thesis (490) and numerous undergraduate seminars in physical geography.

Selected Publications and Presentations

V.R. Baker, J.C. Boothroyd, M.H. Carr, J.A. Cutts, P.D. Komar, J.E. Laity, B.K. Lucchita, M.C. Malin, H. Masursky, D. Nummedal, P.C. Patton, D. Pieri, and D. E. Thompson, 1983, Channels and valleys on Mars: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 92, no. 2, p. 1035-1054.

Laity, J.E., 1983, Diagenetic controls on groundwater sapping and valley formation, Colorado Plateau, revealed by optical and electron microscopy: Physical Geography, v. 4, no. 2, p. 103-125.

Laity, J.E. and M.C. Malin, 1985, Sapping processes and the development of theater headed valley networks on the Colorado Plateau: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 94, no. 2, p. 203-217.

Laity, J.E., 1986, The role of groundwater sapping in valley evolution on the Colorado Plateau: Proceedings and field guide for the NASA Groundwater Sapping Conference, p. 116-131.

Laity, J.E., 1987, The Colorado Plateau in Planetary Geology Studies: In Geomorphic Systems of North America (Chapter 8, The Colorado Plateau, (W.L. Graf, Ed.), Decade of North American Geology Volume, Geological Society of America, p. 288-297.

Laity, J.E.,1987. Topographic effects on ventifact formation, Mojave Desert, California: Physical Geography, v. 2, p. 113-132.

Laity, J.E., 1990, Case study: Theater-headed valleys of the Colorado Plateau. Groundwater Geomorphology, Geological Society of America Memoir 252, p. 240-244.

Laity, Julie E., 1992. Ventifact evidence for Holocene wind patterns in the east-central Mojave Desert. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, Suppl.-Bd. 84, p. 73-88.

Laity, Julie E., 1994 Landforms of aeolian erosion. In A. Abrahams and A. Parsons (Eds.) Geomorphology of Desert Environments, London: Chapman & Hall, 506-35.

Laity, Julie E., 1995. Wind abrasion and ventifact formation in California. In V.P. Tchakerian (Ed.) Desert Aeolian Processes. London: Chapman and Hall, 295-321.

Breed, C.S., J.F. McCauley, M.I. Whitney, V.P. Tchakarian and J.E. Laity, 1997. Wind erosion in drylands. In D.S.G. Thomas (Ed.), Arid Zone Geomorphology (2nd Edition). Chichester: Wiley, 437-464.

Laity, Julie E., 2000. Yardangs. In Thomas D. and A. Goudie (Eds.), The Dictionary of Physical Geography, Blackwell Publishers Ltd., Oxford p. 537.

Laity, J.E., 2002. Desert Environments. In Physical Geography of North America (A.R. Orme, Ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 380-401.

Greeley, R., N.T. Bridges, R.O. Kuzmin, and J.E. Laity, 2002, Terrestrial analogs to wind-related features at the Viking and Pathfinder landing sites on Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), V.107, No. E1, p. 5-1 to 5-21.

Laity, J.E., 2003, Aeolian destabilization along the Mojave River, Mojave Desert, California: Aeolian, fluvial, and groundwater linkages. Physical Geography, 24, 3, p. 196-221.

Bridges, T.T., J.E. Laity, R. Greeley, J. Phoreman and E. Eddlemon, 2004, Insights on rock abrasion and ventifact formation from laboratory and field analog studies with applications to Mars. Planetary and Space Science, 52, 199-213.

Laity, J.E., 2004. Groundwater and geomorphology. In: Encylopedia of Geomorphology, Goudie, A., (ed.), pp. 497-500. New York: Routledge.

Laity, J. E., 2008. Deserts and Desert Environments. Wiley-Blackwell, 342 p.

Laity, J.E. and Bridges, N.T. (2009) Ventifacts on Earth and Mars: Analytical, field, and laboratory studies supporting sand abrasion and windward feature development. Geomorphology, 105, 202-217.

Laity, J. E., 2009, Landforms, landscapes, and processes of aeolian erosion. In: Abrahams, A. and Parsons, A. (Eds.) Geomorphology of Desert Environments, 2nd edition, Springer, pp. 597-628.

Laity, J.E., 2011. Pavements and stony mantles. In: Thomas, D.S.G. (Ed.) Arid Zone Geomorphology, 3rd edition. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., pp. 181-207.

Laity, J.E., 2011. Wind erosion in drylands. In: Thomas, D.S.G. (Ed.) Arid Zone Geomorphology, 3rd edition. John Wiley and Sons Ltd., pp. 539-568

Varkonyi, P. and Laity, J., 2012. Formation of surface features on ventifacts: modeling the role of rebounding sand grains. Geomorphology, 139-140, 220-229

Laity, J.E. and Bridges, N.T., 2013, Abraded Systems. . In: John F. Shroder (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology, Volume 11, pp. 269-286. San Diego: Academic Press.

Bridges, N.T. and Laity, J.E., 2013, Fundamentals of Aeolian Sediment Transport: Aeolian Abrasion. In: John F. Shroder (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology, Volume 11, pp. 134-148. San Diego: Academic Press.

Research and Interests

My research has principally involved the study of aeolian, fluvial, and groundwater systems in deserts. My first area of interest was groundwater sapping processes on the Colorado Plateau and Mars. My recent research has focused on wind erosion, rock abrasion, and the human impact on deserts, including problems of dune encroachment and dust generation. One project involves the study of ongoing processes of abrasion and ventifact formation, for which a fully automated weather station has been established in the Little Cowhole Mountains of the Mojave Desert. This work has been in conjunction with Tim Boyle, a graduate student in our department and the department Weather Observer. A second study examines wind erosion and climate change during the past 10,000 years in the southwestern United States. A third area of research is environmental degradation and groundwater overdraft in the Lower Mojave Valley, which has resulted in the death of native vegetation, the reactivation of ancient dune systems, and problems associated with blowing sand. Additionally, I have investigated the location, timing and frequency of dust events in this region.