Link to curriculum vitae (pdf)
Sharp received both his B.A. and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California at Berkeley. His doctoral research involved development and application of K-Ar and U-Pb geochronometry to the formation of continental crust via plate tectonics processes. He accepted a faculty position in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he taught and established a research program centered on 40Ar/39Ar geochronometry applied to problems in continental crustal evolution.
Since coming to the Berkeley Geochronology Center (then Institute of Human Origins) in 1992, his research has focused on providing a time-axis for significant processes and events over the past one million years, including volcanism, glaciation, paleoclimatic change, active faulting, and human biologic and behavioral evolution, primarily via applications of uranium-series (230Th/U) dating. Sharp has developed 230Th/U dating of: 1) silica and carbonate soil components that provide ages of climatically significant landforms and slip rates for active fault systems such as the San Andreas fault, and 2) young corals (>1000 years old) from Pacific archaeological contexts that refine the timing of Polynesian settlement, cultural development, and related environmental change on islands of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Sharp is currently developing a new approach to 230Th/U dating of ostrich eggshells, which are a common component of archaeological sequences in Africa, the Near East, and Asia, and can be used to determine the timing and rate of human dispersal and behavioral innovation over the past circa 500,000 years. Sharp also uses 230Th/U dating to provide time axes for paleoclimate proxy records contained in cave and soil carbonates in North America and Asia. He serves on the editorial board of Quaternary Geochronology and as Associate Director of the BGC.
Sharp, W.D., and Clague, D.A., 2006. 50-Ma Initiation of Hawaiian-Emperor Bend Records Major Change in Pacific Plate Motion. Science, 313: 1281-1284.
Cruz, J., F.W., Burns, S.J., Karmann, I., Sharp, W.D., Vuille, M., Cardoso, A.O., Ferrari, J.A., Silva Dias, P.L. and Viana, J., O., 2005. Insolation-driven changes in atmospheric circulation over the past 116,000 years in subtropical Brazil. Nature, 434: 63-66.
Kirch, P.V. and Sharp, W.D., 2005. Coral 230Th Dating of the Imposition of a Ritual Control Hierarchy in Precontact Hawaii. Science, 307: 102-104.
Sharp, W.D. and Renne, P.R., 2005. The 40Ar/39Ar dating of core recovered by the Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project (phase 2), Hilo, Hawaii. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 6(4), Q04G17, doi:10.1029/2004GC000846.
Sharp, W.D., Ludwig, K.R., Chadwick, O.A., Amundson, R. and Glaser, L.L., 2003. Dating fluvial terraces by 230Th/U on pedogenic carbonate, Wind River Basin, Wyoming. Quaternary Research, 59: 139-150.
Hemming, S.R., Broecker, W.S., Sharp, W.D., Bond, G.C., Gwiazda, R.H., McManus, J.F., Klas, M. and Hajdas, I., 1998. Provenance of Heinrich layers in core V28-82 northeastern Atlantic: 40Ar/39Ar ages of ice-rafted hornblende, Pb isotopes in feldspar grains, and Nd-Sr-Pb isotopes in the fine sediment fraction. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 164: 317-333.
Renne, P.R., Sharp, W.D., Deino, A.L., Orsi, G. and Civetta, L., 1997. 40Ar/39Ar Dating Into the Historical Realm: Calibration Against Pliny the Younger. Science, 277(5330): 1279-1280.
Sharp, W.D., Turrin, B.D., Renne, P.R. and Lanphere, M.A., 1996. 40Ar/39Ar and K/Ar dating of lavas from the Hilo 1-km core hole, Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project. Journal of Geophysical Research, 101(5): 11,607-11,616.
Sharp, W.D., 1988. Pre-Cretaceous crustal evolution in the Sierra Nevada region, California, in Metamorphism and Crustal Evolution of the Western United States, edited by W. G. Ernst, Ruby Volume VII, 823-886 pp, Prentice Hall.
Ross, J. A., and W.D. Sharp, 1988. The effects of sub-blocking temperature metamorphism on the K-Ar systematics of hornblendes: 40Ar/39Ar dating of polymetamorphic garnet amphibolite from the Franciscan Complex, California. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 100: 213-221.