Peter K. Haff

Peter K. Haff

Professor Emeritus of Geology and Civil and Environmental Engineering

Primary Appointment

Earth & Ocean Sciences Division

The neoenvironment is the total environment in which we live. It is the sum of the natural, human, and technological systems and processes that surround us. It includes for example forest ecosystems, animals and machines, nanotechnology, the internet, highways, medical systems, power grids, human populations, political parties, governments and bureaucracies, robots and religions and their interactions with each other. In an age in which both the level and acceleration of technology are high, understanding and living with our "environment" can only mean understanding and living with the neoenvironment. Technology cannot be factored out of the neoenvironment leaving only natural processes. The neoenvironment must be understood as a whole. There are many consequences for the future of human-well being that flow from the emergence of the neoenvironment and my research examines some of them.


In The News


Haff, PK. "Purpose in the Anthropocene: Dynamical role and physical basis." Anthropocene 16 (December 2016): 54-60.
Williams, M, Zalasiewicz, J, Waters, CN, Edgeworth, M, Bennett, C, Barnosky, AD, Ellis, EC, Ellis, MA, Cearreta, A, Haff, PK, Ivar do Sul, JA, Leinfelder, R, McNeill, JR, Odada, E, Oreskes, N, Revkin, A, Richter, DD, Steffen, W, Summerhayes, C, Syvitski, JP, Vidas, D, Wagreich, M, Wing, SL, Wolfe, AP, and Zhisheng, A. "The Anthropocene: a conspicuous stratigraphical signal of anthropogenic changes in production and consumption across the biosphere." Earth's Future 4, no. 3 (March 2016): 34-53.
Williams, M, Zalasiewicz, J, Haff, P, Schwa gerl, C, Barnosky, AD, and Ellis, EC. "The Anthropocene biosphere." The Anthropocene Review 2, no. 3 (December 1, 2015): 196-219.
Zalasiewicz, J, Waters, CN, Williams, M, Barnosky, AD, Cearreta, A, Crutzen, P, Ellis, E, Ellis, MA, Fairchild, IJ, Grinevald, J, Haff, PK, Hajdas, I, Leinfelder, R, McNeill, J, Odada, EO, Poirier, C, Richter, D, Steffen, W, Summerhayes, C, Syvitski, JPM, Vidas, D, Wagreich, M, Wing, SL, Wolfe, AP, An, Z, and Oreskes, N. "When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal." Quaternary International 383 (October 2015): 196-203.
Edgeworth, M, deB Richter, D, Waters, C, Haff, P, Neal, C, and Price, SJ. "Diachronous beginnings of the Anthropocene: The lower bounding surface of anthropogenic deposits." The Anthropocene Review 2, no. 1 (April 2015): 33-58.


ENVIRON 899: Master's Project (ENVIRON 899: Master's Project)
EOS 791: Independent Study (EOS 791: Independent Study)
EOS 393: Research Independent Study (EOS 393: Research Independent Study)

area(s) of expertise

Earth Surface Processes Geomorphology

Contact Information

Box 90230
Durham, NC 27708-0230
321B Old Chem Bldg
Durham, NC 27708


Ph.D., University of Virginia (1970)
B.A., Harvard University (1966)