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Two seasoned geologists join AZGS staff

Image: Lisa Thompson (left); Victor Garcia (right)

The AZGS welcomes two seasoned geologists to its staff. Victor Garcia and Lisa Thompson will join us in mid-Nov. 2020, bringing a myriad of skills and research interests that complement and bolster existing AZGS research programs. Their interests dovetail nicely with some of the research goals of our colleagues in the UArizona Geosciences program, which should lead to further collaborative research projects. With these new hires AZGS staff stands at 19 full-time employees.

Addressing the new hires, Dr. Phil Pearthree, AZGS Director and Arizona State Geologist, said, ‘Their roles will evolve as we encourage them to maximize their talents and explore their own research interests’.  Over the next year both will play substantial roles in AZGS’ STATEMAP geologic mapping program. Victor will team up with AZGS economic geologist Carson Richardson on  Data Preservation work – geodatabase updates and critical mineral work - and on our new Earth Mapping Research Initiative (Earth MRI) project.

The two-year, $153,000 Earth MRI project involves geologic mapping in the Big Sandy Valley, Arizona.  Research here will focus on the distribution of the potential source and host rocks for lithium mineralization identified in playa sediments exposed in the valley.  

Lisa Thompson, M.S.

Lisa  has a broad geological background and more than a decade of experience in geologic mapping, cartography, GIS, volcanology, sedimentology, and teaching & pedagogy. She graduated with her Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 2005 and, after a brief stint in public radio, was brought on as faculty in the School of Earth & Sustainability at NAU. For the last 10 years, she has taught and mentored undergraduate students at Northern Arizona University in GIS, geologic field methods, geologic disasters, and volcanology. Lisa is deeply interested in studying all things related to volcanoes, particularly water/lava/sediment interactions in shallow marine, fluvial, and lacustrine depositional environments.

She has 10 years of experience designing and leading domestic and international geologic field courses, has worked on several geologic map compilation projects including that for the Petrified Forest National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and has designed immersive digital learning environments for university and high school geology courses. In collaboration with the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, she is currently working on a multipurpose digital terrestrial analog geologic field guide for Verde Valley, AZ, and just finished advising a Fullbright research project on submarine geomorphologic mapping in the Santorini Volcanic Group, Greece.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her 11-year old son hiking and biking (he is a geology and map enthusiast), boxing (she’s been training to fulfill a wild dream to step in a ring), cooking, and gardening.

Victor Garcia, Ph.D.

Victor has a background in geochemistry, geochronology, and economic geology. Specifically, he focuses on the use of U-series and Sr isotopes to constrain the timing of mineral formation and trace fluid flow near fault systems. Due to his background in geochemistry, Victor is also involved in economic geology projects in which a fundamental understanding of fluid-rock geochemistry is necessary. In the past 4 years, Victor has  taught and mentored undergraduate students at the University of Texas at El Paso in geological processes, mineralogy, structural geology, field camp, GIS, geochemistry, and introductory geology courses. In addition to his research, Victor is passionate about geoscience outreach. In the past, he has worked with multiple K-12 schools in El Paso county, Texas and hopes to continue this type of work in the Tucson area.

Victor completed his B.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at El Paso, and his M.S. at the University of Arizona. His research interests broadly include: economic geology, structural geology, hydrogeochemistry, thermochronology and geochronology, geochemistry (in particular major/trace elements, U-series, Sr, C, and O isotopes).  His current and recent projects include:

•    Strontium isotope stratigraphy near salt diapirs
•    Geochronology and geochemistry of travertine deposits in the Rio Grande rift
•    Hydrogeochemistry of fluids near the Santa Fe fault zone
•    Geochemical and mineralogical characterization of the Kucing Liar Cu-Au skarn deposit

Posted 11/9/2020 by AZGS Staff