USGS Professional Pages
I serve the USGS as an economic and structural geologist. I hold an M.S. in Geology from San Jose State University (2009) and a B.S. in Earth Sciences from California Polytechnic State University (2004). During my M.S. studies, I joined the USGS in the Menlo Park, California office. Currently, I work in the Spokane, Washington field office within the Geology, Minerals, Energy, Geophysics (GMEG) Science Center. My current projects include geophysical and structural analysis of the Stillwater Complex in Montana and qualitative assessments of potential for undiscovered sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits worldwide.
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PublicationsLudington, Steve; John, D.A.; Muntean, J.L.; Hanson, A.D.; Castor, S.B.; Henry, C.D.; Wintzer, Niki; Cline, J.S.; Simon, A.C., 2009. Mineral-Resource Assessment of Northern Nye County, Nevada - A Progress Report. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1271, ii, 13 p. [Link]
My Science Topics
My USGS Science Strategy AreasEnergy & Minerals for America's Future
As an economic geologist, I assess potential for undiscovered mineral deposits. As part of the USGS Global Mineral Resources Assessment Project, I qualitatively assessed potential for undiscovered sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits in 10 worldwide locations. It is incredible that—although this deposit type varies a bit—the rocks formed and deformed similarly all over the world throughout much of geologic time. (The above figure displays the ore-forming system of sediment-hosted stratabound copper and is modified from Hitzman and others, 2010)
Hitzman, M.W., Selley, David, and Bull, Stuart, 2010, Formation of sedimentary rock-hosted stratiform copper deposits through Earth history: Economic Geology, v. 105, p. 627–639.
As a structural geologist, I study the fabric (visible patterns) in rocks to figure out how they got that way. For example, I analyzed foliation, lineation, and fold orientations that I measured in mid to deep crustal rocks. These once-deep now-shallow rocks are part of the Skagit Gneiss Complex in the North Cascades of Washington State. I was able to apply my structural analyses to regional-scale geology and separte out 5 distinct deformational episodes. I discovered a previously unknown interval of regional shortening (the rocks got squished together more often than geologists knew previously). Combining my research with recently determined geochronlogic dates (Gordon and others, 2010) in the study area, we were able to determine roughly when the rocks were deformed during the 5 different episodes. See Wintzer (2012) to the left in the Publications section for a link to my professional publication.
Gordon, S.M., Bowring, S.A., Whitney, D.L., Miller, R.B., McLean, N., 2010, Timescales of metamorphism, deformation, and crustal melting in a continental arch, North Cascades, USA: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 122, p. 1308–1330
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