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Joseph Colgan

Research Geologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

I joined the USGS in 2006, as a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow with the Mineral Resources team in Menlo Park, CaliforniaIn 2009 I became a research geologist with the GMEG Science Center in Menlo Park, and have worked on a variety of geologic mapping projects related to mineral resources and geologic hazards in the western United States. In the fall of 2014 I moved to the GEC Science Center in Denver, Colorado.

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Ellis, M.A., Barnes, J.B., and Colgan, J.P., 2015, Geomorphic evidence for enhanced Plio-Quaternary faulting in the northwestern Basin and Range: Lithosphere, v. 7(1), p. 59–72, doi:10.1130/L401.1. [link]

Colgan, J.P., Henry, C.D., and John, D.A., 2014, Evidence for large-magnitude, post-Eocene extension in the northern Shoshone Range, Nevada, and its implications for the structural setting of Carlin-type gold deposits in the lower plate of the Roberts Mountains allochthon: Economic Geology, v. 109, p. 1843–1862. [link]

Henry, C.D., Bell, J.W., John, D.A., and Colgan, J.P., 2013, Preliminary geologic map of the West Gate quadrangle, Churchill County, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Open-File Report 13-9, scale 1:24,000. [link]

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


Image of Current Focus for Research

I study continental deformation and magmatism using a variety of data sets and analytical techniques grounded in field observations and geologic mapping. Current research interests include:

Cenozoic tectonic and magmatic evolution of the western United States

Formation and eruption of large silicic magma chambers

Low-temperature thermochronology

Geologic mapping and structural analysis

Current Projects

Origin and nature of Cenozoic extension, magmatism, and mineralization in the northern Great Basin.

 Geologic Framework of the northern Great Basin

 Magmatic-tectonic history and component sources of major precious metal deposits in the southern Walker Lane


Timing and kinematics of late Cenozoic deformation in the central California Coast Ranges

 Seismic Hazards in the Sacramento Delta

 Geohydrology of Coast Range Basins

Contact Information

Joseph Colgan
W 6th Ave Kipling St
Lakewood, CO 80225
303-236-5601 - Fax
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