Faculty Research

The department offers numerous opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to be involved in the research of its faculty.

Available as Faculty Mentors

The follow faculty are accepting Master's students.

Alyssa Abbey

Lab website: Abbey Lab

Research Interests:

  • tectonics
  • crustal deformation
  • surface processes
  • thermochronology


  • Paleotopography in the southern Rockies
  • Fault growth in the Andean Precordillera, Argentina
  • Tectonic and Climatic interactions in the basin and Range
  • Thermochronometric Modelling methods

Andrea Balbas

Research Interests:

  • geochronology
  • paleomagnetism
  • stratigraphy


Matthew Becker

Lab website: Becker Lab

Research Interests:

  • hydrogeology
  • enhanced geothermal reservoirs
  • fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing 
  • island submarine groundwater discharge

Current Projects:

  • Impact of groundwater discharge from atolls and high islands to reef environments
  • Hydraulic testing for enhanced geothermal at the Utah FORGE site
  • Sea level rise and ;groundwater flooding of hazardous waste sites in California
  • Field testing of low-temperature thermal remediation of solvent plumes
  • Distributed acoustic sensing as a strain sensor in fractured bedrock systems
  • Tracer testing in volcanic and bedrock systems

Ben Hagedorn

Lab website: Hagedorn Lab

Research Interests:

  • environmental forensics
  • water resources
  • global biochemical cycles


  • Groundwater Recharge and Interbasin Flow in Nevada
  • Hydrology of Ocean Islands
  • Solute Sources and Weathering Rates in the Central Rocky Mountains

Nate Onderdonk

Lab website: Onderdonk Lab

Research Interests:

  • tectonics
  • geomorphology


  • Neotectonics of the northern San Jacinto Fault Zone
  • Rotation of crustal blocks in Southern California and implications for crustal dynamics
  • Tectonic evolution of the Santa Maria Basin, southern California
  • Mud Volcanoes in the Salton Trough

Lora Stevens

Research Interests:

  • paleoclimatology
  • paleolimnology
  • isotope geochemistry

No Longer Accepting Master's Students

The following faculty are no longer available as faculty mentors for new Master's students.

Rick Behl

Greg Holk

Research Interests:

  • stable isotope geochemistry
  • fluid-rock interactions
  • igneous and metamorphic petrology


  • Magmatic evolution of the Coastal Batholith of Peru
  • The evolution of aqueous fluids in fault zones
  • Water-rock interactions in subduction-related metamorphic rocks

Tom Kelty

Research Interests:

  • structural geology


Stan Finney