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Joseph Colgan

Research Geologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

I study the Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the western United States using geologic mapping and structural analysis, geochronology, low-temperature thermochronology, and geophysical data. I joined the USGS in 2006 as a Mendenhall postdoctoral fellow with the Mineral Resources program, after graduating from Stanford University in 2005 with Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Sciences.

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Colgan, J.P., 2013, Reappraisal of the relationship between the northern Nevada rift and Miocene extension in the northern Basin and Range Province: Geology, v. 41(2), p. 211-214, doi: 10.1130/G33512.1. [link]

Langenheim, V.E., Jachens, R.C., Graymer, R.W., Colgan, J.P., Wentworth, C.M., and Stanley, R.G., 2013, Fault geometry and cumulative offsets in the central Coast Ranges, California: Evidence for northward increasing slip on the San Gregorio-San Simeon-Hosgri Fault: Lithosphere, v. 5(1), p. 29-48, doi:10.1130/L233.1. [link]

Colgan, J.P., McPhee, D.K., McDougall, K., and Hourigan, J.K., 2012, Superimposed extension and shortening in the southern Salinas Basin and La Panza Range, California: A guide to Neogene deformation of the Salinian block in the central California Coast Ranges: Lithosphere, v. 4(5) p. 411–429, doi:10.1130/L208.1. [link]

Henry, C.D., Hinz, N.H., Faulds, J.E., Colgan, J.P., John, D.A., Brooks, E.R., Cassel, E.J., Garside, L.J., Davis, D.A., and Castor, S.B., 2012, Eocene–Early Miocene paleotopography of the Sierra Nevada–Great Basin–Nevadaplano based on widespread ash-flow tuffs and paleovalleys: Geosphere, v. 8, p. 1–27, doi:10.1130/GES00727.1. [link]

Colgan, J.P. Henry, Christopher D., and John, D.A., 2011, Geologic map of the Caetano caldera, Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map 174, Scale 1:75,000. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Egger, A.E., John, D.A., Cousens, B., Fleck, R.J., and Henry, C.D., 2011, Oligocene and Miocene arc volcanism in northeastern California: Evidence for post-Eocene segmentation of the subducting Farallon plate: Geosphere, v. 7, p. 733–755, doi:10.1130/GES00650.1. [link]

Henry, C.D., McGrew, A.J., Colgan, J.P., Snoke, A.W., and Brueseke, M.E., 2011, Timing, distribution, amount, and style of Cenozoic extension in the northern Great Basin, in Lee, J., and Evans, J.P., eds., Geologic Field Trips to the Basin and Range, Rocky Mountains, Snake River Plain, and Terranes of the U.S. Cordillera: Geological Society of America Field Guide 21, p. 27–66, doi:10.1130/2011.0021(02). [link]

John, D.A., Rockwell, B.W., Henry, C.D., and Colgan, J.P., 2011, Hydrothermal alteration of the late Eocene Caetano ash-flow caldera, north-central Nevada: A field and ASTER remote sensing study: Proceedings of the Geological Society of Nevada 2010 Symposium, Reno, Nevada, May 14–22, 2010, p. 1055–1083.

Henry, C.D., and Colgan, J.P., 2011, The regional structural setting of the 2008 Wells earthquake and Town Creek Flat basin—Implications for the Wells earthquake fault and adjacent structures, in dePolo C.M., and LaPointe, D.D., eds., A compendium of earthquake-related investigations prepared by the University of Nevada, Reno: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Special Publication 36, p. 53–64. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Howard, K.A., Fleck R.J., and Wooden J.L., 2010, Rapid middle Miocene extension and unroofing of the southern Ruby Mountains, Nevada: Tectonics, v. 29, doi:10.1029/2009TC002655. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Wyld, S.J., and Wright, J., 2010, Geologic map of the Vicksburg Canyon 7.5’ quadrangle, Humboldt County, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map M169, scale 1:24,000. [link]

Egger, A.E., Colgan, J.P., and York, C., 2009, Provenance and palaeogeographic implications of Eocene–Oligocene sedimentary rocks in the northwestern Basin and Range: International Geology Review, v. 51(9-11), p. 900–911, doi: 10.1080/00206810902949829. [link]

Colgan, J.P., and Henry, C.D., 2009, Rapid middle Miocene collapse of the Mesozoic orogenic plateau in north-central Nevada: International Geology Review, v. 51(9-11), p. 920–961, doi: 10.1080/00206810903056731. [link]

Lerch, D.W., Klemperer, S.L., Egger, A.E., Colgan, J.P., and Miller, E.L., 2009, The northwestern margin of the Basin and Range Province, part 1:  Reflection profiling of the moderate-angle (35°) Surprise Valley Fault: Tectonophysics, v. 488(1–4), p. 143–149, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2009.05.028. [link]

Fosdick, J.C, and Colgan, J.P., 2008, Miocene extension in the East Range, Nevada: A two-stage history of normal faulting in the northern Basin and Range: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 120(9-10), p. 1198–1213. doi:10.1130/B26201.1. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Shuster, D.L., and Reiners, P.W., 2008, Two-phase Neogene extension of the northwestern Basin and Range recorded in a single thermochronology sample: Geology, v. 36(8), p. 631–634, doi:10.1130/G24897A.1. [link]

Colgan, J.P., John, D.A., Henry, C.D., and Fleck, R.J., 2008, Large-magnitude Miocene extension of the Eocene Caetano caldera, Shoshone and Toiyabe Ranges, Nevada: Geosphere, v. 4(1), p. 107–130. doi:10.1130/GES00115.1. [link]

John, D.A., Henry, C.D., and Colgan, J.P., 2008, Magmatic and tectonic evolution of the Caetano caldera, north-central Nevada: A tilted mid-Tertiary eruptive center and source of the Caetano Tuff: Geosphere, v. 4(1), p. 75–106. doi:10.1130/GES00116.1. [link]

Lerch, D.W., Miller, E.L., McWilliams, M.O., and Colgan, J.P., 2008, Tectonic and magmatic evolution of the northwestern Basin and Range and its transition to unextended volcanic plateaus: Black Rock Range, Nevada: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 120 (3-4), p. 300–311. doi:10.1130/B26151.1. [link]

Mattinson, C.G., Colgan, J.P., Metcalf, J.R., Miller E.L., and Wooden, J.L., 2007, Late Cretaceous to Paleocene metamorphism and magmatism in the Funeral Mountains metamorphic core complex, Death Valley, California, in Cloos, M., Carlson, W.D., Gilbert, M.C., Liou, J.G., and Sorensen, S.S., eds., Convergent Margin Terranes and Associated Regions: A Tribute to W.G. Ernst: Geological Society of America Special Paper 419, p. 205–223, doi:10.1130/2006.2419(11). [link]

Lerch, D.W., Klemperer, S.L., Glen, J.M.G., Ponce, D.A., Miller, E.L., and Colgan, J.P., 2007, Crustal structure of the northwestern Basin and Range Province and its transition to unextended volcanic plateaus: Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems, v. 8, doi:10.1029/2006GC001429. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Dumitru, T.A., Reiners, P.W., Wooden, J.L., and Miller, E.L., 2006, Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Basin and Range Province in northwestern Nevada: American Journal of Science, v. 306(8), p. 616–654. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Dumitru, T.A., McWilliams, M.O., and Miller, E.L., 2006, Timing of Cenozoic volcanism and Basin and Range extension in northwestern Nevada: new constraints from the northern Pine Forest Range: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 118(1-2), p. 126–139, doi:10.1130/B25681.1. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Dumitru, T.A., and Miller, E.L., 2004, Diachroneity of Basin and Range faulting and Yellowstone hotpsot volcanism in northwestern Nevada: Geology, v. 32(2), p. 121–124, doi:10.1130/G20037.1. [link]

Brabb, E.E., Colgan, J.P., and Best, T.C., 1999 Map showing inventory and regional susceptibility for Holocene debris flows and related fast-moving landslides in the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2329, scale 1:2,500,000. [link]

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Energy & Minerals for America's Future

A National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program

Geologic framework of the northern Great Basin

Image of Current Focus for Geologic framework of the northern Great Basin

The goal of this project is to better understand the distribution of mineral and geothermal resources in northern Great Basin by refining our knowledge of the relationship between Cenozoic magmatism, mineralization, and extensional faulting. This work is based on both regional and detailed geologic mapping, integrated with geochemical, geochronologic, and geophysical studies of key areas.

Neogene tectonics of the California Coast Ranges

The goal of these projects is to improve our understanding of the subsurface geology and geologic history of the California Coast Ranges by integrating geologic mapping and geophysical data to build 3D models of the subsurface geology.

San Andreas 3D/4D mapping project

Geohydrology of Coast Range Basins project

Contact Information

Joseph Colgan
345 Middlefield Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3561
650-329-5491 - Fax
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