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Staff News

New people and positions:

Victor Labson, Denver, was selected to serve as the Team Chief Scientist of the Crustal Imaging and Characterization Team. Vic served as the Team's Associate Chief Scientist and had been Acting Team Chief Scientist for several months prior to his selection.

Bernard Hubbard, Reston, started a two-year post-doc appointment in Reston, June, 2001. Bernard specializes in the application of remote sensing and GIS to geologic problems. Bernard received his PhD from the State University of New York, Buffalo, and is working with James Crowley, Reston. Welcome Bernard!

Honors and awards:

Jeff Wynn, Reston, was elected president of the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society for 2002-2003.

David Leach, Denver, is a 2001-2002 International Lecturer for the Society of Economic Geologists. Dave is an expert in Missippi Valley-type lead-zinc deposits and has been traveling overseas lecturing about these deposits through time; the discovery, geology and genesis of the giant Red Dog shale-hosted zinc-lead deposit in Alaska; and geo-environmental aspects of mining sediment-hosted lead-zinc deposits.

Richard J. Goldfarb, Denver, was named winner of the Society of Economic Geologists 2001 Silver Medal. Rich is an expert on the geology and origin of gold deposits. The medal is awarded annually for "excellence in original work in the geology of mineral deposits". In addition, Rich will be a 2002-2003 Thayer Lindsley lecturer for the Society. Rich plans to discuss his work on genetic and environmental issues related to ore deposits.

Sandra Clark, Reston, and Anne Tubiolo, National Park Service, produced a 25-minute video on the geology of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The video will receive Documentary and Educational Program Gold Screen awards from the National Association of Government Communicators on April 4, 2002. The video was co-produced by the USGS and National Park Service to help increase public awareness of geologic processes and their cumulative effects. A teacher's guide and companion brochure for the video are available on-line at:

Warren Nokleberg, Menlo Park, had a fossil named after him, Paraoehlertia noklebergi. Paraoehlertia noklebergi is found in Emsian (late Early Devonian) strata on the south flank of Limestone Mountain, Medfra B-4 quadrangle, west-central Alaska. The limestone containing the fossil is part of the Nixon Fork terrane and was deposited along a tropical Devonian passive continental margin that extended from the North Siberian Craton Margin into the North American Craton Margin. Subsequently, the margin was rifted in the late Devonian, leaving behind the Nixon Fork and other terranes as remnants of Siberia. The fossil was discovered and named by Robert Blodgett, a well-known Alaskan and U.S. West Coast paleontologist, and will be described in a forthcoming research paper.

Photograph of Paraoehlertia noklebergi
Photograph of Paraoehlertia noklebergi, named after USGS geologist Warren Nokleberg.


Jan Kutina (USGS and American University) and Patrick Taylor (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) organized a workshop on "Deep Structure of the Earth and Concentration of Metals in the Lithosphere: A Geodynamic Approach," that was held at the USGS in Reston, September, 2001, under the auspices of the International Association on the Genesis of Ore Deposits Commission on Tectonics of Ore Deposits. A report will appear in the May 2002 issue of EOS.

David B. Smith, Denver, will present a keynote lecture at the Sixth International Symposium on the Geochemistry of the Earth's Surface to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, May 20-24, 2002. The title of the lecture is "Standardized Geochemical Baselines: The First Step Toward Recognizing, Understanding, and Quantifying Human Interaction with the Earth's Surface Environment". Dave also presented a keynote lecture and conducted a workshop at the VIII Brazilian Geochemical Congress and the 1st Geochemical Symposium of the MERCOSUL Countries held in Curitiba, Brazil, October 21-26, 2001. The title of the lecture and the workshop was "Multipurpose Applications of Multielement Geochemical Surveys".

September 11-related activities:

Joseph Duval, Reston, assisted the U.S. Customs Service. He provided estimated concentrations of potassium, uranium, and thorium, and calculated estimated gamma-ray exposure for their offices along the U.S.-Canadian border. Since September 11, 2001, the Customs Service has been using radiation detection devices to check for radioactive materials at their posts along the border and needed the natural background radiation levels to set the detection thresholds on their equipment.

USGS scientists in Denver (Roger Clark, Gregg Swayze, Greg Meeker, Steve Sutley, Todd Hoefen, Eric Livo, Geoff Plumlee, Steve Wilson, Phil Hageman, Paul Lamothe, Isabelle Brownfield, Carol Gent, Laurie Morath, Joseph Taggart, Peter Theodorakos, and Monique Adams) conducted an environmental study of the World Trade Center area after the September 11, 2001 attack that was the topic of many news articles. The study, coauthored with Robert Green, Betina Pavri, and Chuck Sarture from the Jet Propulsion Lab; Sam Vance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Joe Boardman, Analytical Imaging and Geophysics, LLC, is available on-line at: Remote sensing images of the site soon after the attack were used to identify thermal hot spot information, which was used by fire fighters to fight the fires resulting from the attack. Studies of the dust found it to be very variable in characteristic and mildly to very alkaline (high pH). Mineralogic and chemical analyses of the dust indicated varying degrees of chrysotile asbestos and concentrations of heavy metals and metalloids (such as aluminum, chromium, antimony, molybdenum, and barium) that are readily leached from the dusts into rain or wash water and may be bioavailable.

Greta Orris and Jim Bliss, Tucson, compiled an inventory of more than 1000 mines and mineral occurrences in Afghanistan and published the inventory as U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-110 (Available on-line at: The data were compiled from published literature and the files of project members of the National Industrial Minerals project of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Minerals News from across the USGS

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