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John Madsen

Associate Professor


I am the education coordinator and a governing scientist within the University's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration.  I have served as a Co-Chair of the University of Delaware Sustainability Task Force and I am a Past-President of the University Faculty Senate.

Undergraduate courses that I teach include: freshmen first year experience seminar; freshmen honors colloquia in energy and earth resources; introductory-level general geology; structural geology and plate tectonics; and senior seminar in petroleum geology and energy.  Graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses that I teach include: environmental and applied geology, geophysics, and geological aspects of offshore wind.

Department Affiliation

Geological Sciences

Current Projects

Sturgeon Research
With funding provided by NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Hudson River Foundation, we are using high-resolution side-scan sonar to image Atantic and short-nose sturgeon and their bottom habitats in the Delaware and Hudson Rivers.  The work is being conducted with Dr. Dewayne Fox and graduate student Amy Comer from Delaware State University.

Offshore Wind Research
With funding from the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, we are examining how the geological and geotechnical setting of the Mid-Atlantic Bight, a portion of the US eastern continental shelf from off Long Island, NY to Virginia, can be used to place constraints on the siting of offshore wind projects.

Geothermal Research
With pilot funding provided by the University of Delaware Energy Institute's Innovative Energy Research Grants Program, we are exploring the feasibility and policy needs for transforming decommissioned offshore oil and gas platforms and retrofitting them for energy production as geothermal systems.


Ph.D., Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, 1988
B.S. with distinction, Geology, Iowa State University, 1981

Selected Publications

Ford, D., Fifield, S., Madsen, J., and Qian, X., 2013, The Science Semester: Cross‐disciplinary inquiry for prospective elementary teachers, Journal of Elementary Science Teacher Education, v. 24, no. 6, 1049‐1072. doi:10.1007/s10972-012-9326-8 

Madsen, J., Bates, A., Callahan, J., and Firestone, J., 2011, Use of geospatial techniques in planning for offshore wind development, Thakur, J., Singh, S., Ramanathan, A., Krishna, M., Gossel, W.(eds.), Geospatial techniques: Managing environmental resources, Springer (Germany) and Capital Publication (India). Link  

Wilson, B., and Madsen, J., 2011, Investigation and review of the surface and sub‐surface sediment distribution of Reach E for the Delaware River and Bay Main Channel Deepening Project, Technical Report, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Dover, DE Link 

Madsen, J., Allen, D., Dagher, Z., Donham, R., Fifield, S., Ford, D., and Shipman, H., 2010, Use of PBL in University-Level Teacher Education Programs: Exposing Future Teachers to Inquiry-Based Pedagogies, Conference Proceedings, 2010 International Conference, Problem-Based Learning and Active Learning Methodologies, Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 8-10, 2010 

Research Interests

High-resolution geophysics in fisheries studies, geological and geotechnical aspects of offshore wind projects, and offshore geothermal energy. 


Using high-resolution side-scan sonar to image sturgeon and their bottom habitats.

Offshore Wind

Geological and geotechnical aspects of siting offshore wind projects.


Energy upcycling: transforming oil rigs to geothermal power systems


ARSC390, UNIV101


GEOL107, GEOL305, GEOL401


GEOL421/621,GEOL453/653 GEOL663


• Renewable Energy• Geophysics


CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

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Department of Geological Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

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Department of Geography

Investigating the interactions between people and the environment and the processes that explain the location of human and natural phenomena.

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College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA
Phone: 302-831-2841 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

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