The Earth and Environmental Sciences Department Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to earth and environmental sciences throughout their careers.  Awardees have personified service to and passion for the discipline and community.

Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Kathy Woida

Kathy grew up in northern Michigan on a farm owned by her family since 1873. She studied geology at UI on a University of Iowa Fellowship and completed her Ph.D. in 1991 on a thick Pleistocene paleosol found across southern Iowa and parts of adjacent states.  She had a distinguished career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and retired in December of 2018 as the State Geologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) (called the Soil Conservation Service until 1994) in Des Moines, IA after having worked in New Mexico and Utah in similar roles. “During my years with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, I came to believe that Iowa’s soils truly represent this state’s most precious and fundamental natural resource.” (Preface, p. xiv, Iowa’s Remarkable Soils).


Ph.D., Geology, 1991, University of Iowa

B.S., Geology, 1986, Illinois State University

M.L.S., Library Science, 1979, Western Michigan University

B.A., English & Philosophy, 1974, Western Michigan University

Professional History

Currently – Adjunct Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Science Department, University of Iowa

State Geologist (retired), U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), Des Moines, IA (1999-2018) 

State Geologist, USDA-NRCS, Albuquerque, NM (1995-99) 

Geologist, USDA-NRCS, Salt Lake City, UT (1993-95) 

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Iowa, Dept. of Geology (1993)

Visiting Assistant Professor, Earlham College, Dept. of Geology (1992-93)

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Northern Iowa, Earth Science Dept. (1992)

Lecturer in Geology, Grinnell College, Department of Biology (1990)

Head of Cataloging, Indian Trails Public Library, Wheeling, IL (1980-84)

Recent Publications/Contributions

WOIDA, K. 2022. “The Root of Our Problems: Iowa’s Degraded Soils,” Chapter 1 in Cornelia F. Mutel (editor), Tending Iowa’s Land: Pathways to a Sustainable Future. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, Bur Oak Books, 278 p.

WOIDA, K., 2021. Iowa’s Remarkable Soils: The Story of Our Most Vital Resource and How We Can Save It. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, Bur Oak Books, 238 p.

Kerr, P.J., Tassier-Surine, S., Kilgore, S., Bettis III, E.A., and WOIDA, K., 2019. Evidence for multiple advances of the southwestern Laurentide Ice Sheet during MIS 3. Abstract submitted to the 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Science (INQUA), July, 2019.

Tassier-Surine, S., Kerr, P.J., Bettis III, E.A., WOIDA, K., and Quade, D.J., 2018. Redefining the Middle Wisconsin Sheldon Creek boundary in north central Iowa. Geological Society of America, North-Central Section 52nd Annual Meeting, April, 2018.

Kerr, P.J., Tassier-Surine, S., Bettis III, E.A., WOIDA, K., and Quade, D.J., 2018. Timing of two Middle Wisconsin glacial advances into north central Iowa. Geological Society of America, North-Central Section 52nd Annual Meeting, April, 2018.

Kerr, P.J., Bettis III, E.A., Tassier-Surine, S., Quade, D.J., WOIDA, K., and Kilgore, S., 2017. Evidence for Middle Wisconsin glaciation in north central Iowa.  Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, October, 2017.

WOIDA, K. and Lensch, R., 2015. Pleistocene paleosols and the Clarinda soil series in Adams County, SW Iowa. Geological Society of America North-Central Section, 49th Annual Meeting, May, 2015.

WOIDA, K. and McCurdy, M., 2012. Study of sedimentation at four sites in Soap Creek Watershed—Appanoose, Davis, Monroe, Wapello counties, Iowa. Report prepared by NRCS for Soap Creek Watershed Board, 32 p.

WOIDA, K. and Atherton, B., 2010. The condition of channels and storm sewer outfalls in the Yeader Creek Watershed, Des Moines, Iowa: An erosion and sediment delivery study. Report prepared by NRCS for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 77 p.

WOIDA, K. and Link, R.V., 2003. Sediment quality at proposed watershed rehabilitation sites in Iowa.  Proceedings of the 8th National Watershed Conference, June 8-11, Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Kinvig, K., WOIDA, K., and others, 2001. Fena Watershed resources assessment: Erosion and sediment identification for critical area treatment. Report prepared by NRCS for the U.S. Navy, Guam.

WOIDA, K. and Thompson, M.L., 1993. Polygenesis of a Pleistocene paleosol in southern Iowa.  Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 105, p. 1445-1461.

Dana Kolpin

Dana Kolpin is a Research Hydrologist with the Central Midwest Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Iowa City, IA.  

Dana has been with the USGS since 1984 and has spent his entire career in Iowa. He led the USGS “Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in the Environment” project from 1998 until 2017. He now leads the USGS “Food Resources” project to understand the potential health risks from contaminant exposures associated with the growing and raising of plants and animals and the production and manufacturing of plant and animal products.

Dana has published over 250 papers that have been cited over 20,000 times in the literature. His paper "Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance" was a seminal paper on the occurrence of CECs in water resources and is the most highly cited paper in Environmental Science & Technology history. He has published a diverse array of papers including neonicotinoid insecticides in streams, the uptake of CECs into stream and terrestrial biota and the first ever documentation of the off-field transport on nitrapyrin and herbicide adjuvants to streams.

His most recent research includes investigating per-and polkyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure in rural settings, measuring antibiotic-resistance genes in the environment, and understanding chemical and microbial contaminants being discharged into the environment by food and feedstock processing plants. 

Biographical Sketch

Dana W. Kolpin, Research Hydrologist
U.S. Geological Survey
400 South Clinton Street
Iowa City, Iowa 52244 USA

Voice: (319) 358-3614
Fax: (319) 358-3606


University of Iowa (1986-88)

  • Geology, M.S. (1988)

Iowa State University (1980-84)

  • Geology, B.S. (1984)

Professional Experience

1996-present, Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

1988-1996, Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

1984-1988, Hydrologic Technician, U.S. Geological Survey

Other Select Experience

1998-2021, Editorial Board for the journal Science of the Total Environment

2005, Assisted teaching PhD short-course “Pharmaceuticals and hormones in the environment” given by the University of Copenhagen (Brorfeld Field Station, Denmark)

2011, Expert consultant to the U.S. Government Accountability Office for their reports “Antibiotic Resistance: Data Gaps Will Remain Despite HHS Taking Steps to Improve Monitoring” (GAO-11-406, June 2011).

2014, Expert consultant for Ontario Ministry of Environment’s document “Canadian Water Quality Guideline for the Protection of Aquatic Life for Carbamazepine”

2014-2016, Committee member for the EU funded CAPACITIE Project

2018-2020, Committee member for the EU funded NaToxAq Project (

2018-present, Advisory Board member for the Center for Effects of Environmental Contamination at the University of Iowa

2020-present, Member of the Iowa Biomonitoring Program Advisory Board (

2021-present, Advisory Board Member for University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center’s Project “Investigation of Environmental Toxicants in Suicide Behavior”

Awards and Honors (Selected)

2002, The stream reconnaissance study for emerging contaminants (Kolpin et al., 2002) was cited as Discover Magazine’s 8th top science story for 2002 (January 2003 issue).

2003, USGS Shoemaker Award for Communication Product Excellence in the Event category.

2013, Was filmed for PBS documentary on pharmaceutical disposal (March 2013). The 30 minute documentary was broadcasted on Michigan PBS stations in November of 2013 ( This documentary has subsequently received a Telly People’s Choice Award, A Telly Award for Cause Marketing, and a Communicator Award.

2016, Received the USEPA ORD Bronze medal for “Integrative research on the presence of chemical and microbiological contaminants of emerging concern in drinking water and their potential for human and ecological health impacts”.

2020, Recipient of the 2019 Recipharm International Environmental Award

2020, USEPA 2019 Level II Scientific and Technical Achievement Award (STAA) winner for the USEPA/USGS Nationwide study on the prevalence and potential health effects of CECs in drinking water.

Select Publications (ORCID: 0000-0002-3529-6505)

Additional info can be found at:

Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., and Buxton, H.T., 2002, Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance: Environ.  Sci. Technol., 36: 1202-1211. DOI:10.1021/es011055j.

Kolpin, D.W., Skopec, M., Meyer, M.T., Furlong, E.T., Zaugg, S.D., 2004, Urban contribution of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants to streams during differing flow conditions: Sci Total Environ., 328: 119-130. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.01.015

Kolpin, D.W., Thurman, E.M., Lee, E.A., Meyer, M.T., Furlong, E.T., Glassmeyer, S.T., 2006, Urban contributions of glyphosate and its degradate AMPA to streams in the United States: Sci. Tot. Environ., 354: 191-197. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2005.01.028.

Schultz, M.M., Furlong, E.T., Kolpin, D.W., Werner, S.L., Schoenfuss, H.L., Barber, L.B., Blazer, V.S., Norris, D.O., Vajda, A.M. 2010. Antidepressant pharmaceuticals in two U.S. effluent-impacted streams: Occurrence and fate in water and sediment, and selective uptake in fish neural tissue: Environ. Sci. Technol., 44: 1918-1925. DOI:10.1021/es9022706.

Bradley, P.M., L.B. Barber, J.W. Duris, W.T. Foreman, E.T. Furlong, C.E. Givens, L.E. Hubbard, K.J. Hutchinson, C.A. Journey, S.H. Keefe, D.W. Kolpin. 2016. Pre/post-closure assessment of groundwater pharmaceutical fate in a wastewater-impacted stream system. Sci Total Environ. 568:916-925. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.104.

Schoenfuss, H.L., Furlong, E.T., Phillips, P.J., Scott, T-M., Kolpin, D.W., Cetkovic-Cvrlje, M., Lesteberg, K.E., Rearick, D.C. 2016. Complex mixtures, complex responses: Assessing pharmaceutical mixtures using field and laboratory approaches: Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 35: 953-965. DOI: 10.1002/etc.3147.

Bradley, P.M., Journey, C.A., Romanok, K.M., Buxton, H.T., Jones, D.K., Foreman, W.T., Furlong, E.T., Hladik, M.L., Iwanowicz, L.R., Kolpin, D.W., Kuivila, K.M., Loftin, K.A., Mills, M.A., Meyer, M.T., Orlando, J.L., Reilly, T.J., Smalling, K.L., Villeneuve, D.L. 2017. Expanded target-chemical assessment reveals extensive mixed-organic-contaminant exposure in U.S. streams. Environ. Sci. Technol. 51: 4792-4802. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.7b00012.

Burns, E.E., Carter, L.J., Kolpin, D.W., Thomas-Oates, J., Boxall, A.B.A. 2018. Temporal and spatial variation in pharmaceutical concentrations in an urban river system. Water Research, 137: 72-85. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2018.02.066.

Scott, T-M., Phillips, P.J., Kolpin, D.W., Colella, K., Foreman, W.T., Furlong, E.T., Gray, J.L. 2018. Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities as sources of pharmaceuticals to municipal wastewater treatment plants in the United States. Sci. Total Environ. 636: 69-79. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.160.

Boone, J.S., Vigo, C., Boone, T., Byrne, C., Ferraio, J., Benson, R., Donohue, J., Simmons, J.E., Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Glassmeyer, S.T. 2019. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in source and treated drinking waters of the United States. Sci. Total Environ. 653: 359-369. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.245.

Masoner, J.R., Kolpin, D.W., Cozzarelli, I.M., Barber, L.B., Burden, D.S., Foreman, W.T., Forshay, K.J., Furlong, E.T., Groves, J.F., Hladik, M.L., Hopton, M.E., Jaeschke, J.B., Keefe, S.H., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Lowrance, R., Romanok, K.M., Rus, D.L., Selbig, W.R., Williams, B.H., Bradley, P.M. 2019. Urban stormwater: An overlooked pathway of extensive mixed contaminants to surface and groundwaters in the United States. Environ. Sci. Technol. 53:10070-10081. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.9b02867.

Masoner, J.R., Kolpin, D.W., Cozzarelli, I.M., Smalling, K.L., Bolyard, S., Field, J.A., Furlong, E.T., Gray, J.L., Lozinski, D., Reinhart, D, Rodowa,  A., Bradley, P.M. 2020. Landfill leachate contributes per-/poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pharmaceuticals to municipal wastewater. Environ. Sci.: Water Res. & Technol. 6: 1300-1311. DOI: 10.1039/d0ew00045k.

Zhi, H., Kolpin, D.W., Klaper, R.D., Iwanowicz, L.R., Meppelink, S.M., LeFevre, G.H. 2020. Occurrence and spatiotemporal dynamics of pharmaceuticals in a temperate-region wastewater effluent-dominated stream: Variable inputs and differential attenuation yield evolving complex exposure mixtures. Environ. Sci. Technol. 54: 12967-12978. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.0c02328.

Kolpin, D.W., Hubbard, L.E., Cwiertny, D.M., Meppelink, S.M., Thompson, D.A., Gray, J.L. 2021. A comprehensive statewide spatiotemporal stream assessment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in an agricultural region of the United States. Environ. Sci. Technol. Letters, 8: 981-988. DOI:10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00750.

Webb, D.T., Zhi, H., Kolpin, D.W., Klaper, R.D., Iwanowicz, LR., LeFevre, G.H. 2021. Municipal wastewater as a year-round point source of neonicotinoid insecticides that persist in an effluent-dominated stream. Environ. Sci.: Processes & Impacts. 23: 678-688. DOI:10.1039/D1EM00065A

Zhi, H., Mianecki, A.L., Kolpin, D.W., Klaper, R.D., Iwanowicz, L.R., LeFevre, G.H. 2021. Tandem field and laboratory approaches to quantify attenuation mechanisms of pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical transformation products in a wastewater effluent-dominated stream. Water Research, 203: 117537. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117537.

Hubbard, L.E., Kolpin, D.W., Givens, C.E., Blackwell, B.R., Bradley, P.M., Gray, J.L., Lane, R.F., Masoner, J.R., McCleskey, R.B., Romanok, K.M., Sandstrom, M.W., Smalling, K.L., Villeneuve, D.L. 2022. Food, beverage, and feedstock processing facility wastewater: A unique and underappreciated source of contaminants to U.S. streams. Environ. Sci. Technol., 56: 1028-1040. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.1c06821.

Wilkinson, J.L., Boxall, A.B.A., Kolpin, D.W., et al., 2021. Pharmaceutical pollution of the world’s rivers. PNAS. 119(8): e2113947119. DOI:10.1073/pnas.2113947119.

Meade, E.B., Iwanowicz, L.R., Neureuther, N., LeFevre, G.H., Kolpin, D.W., Zhi, H., Meppelink, S.M., Lane, R.F., Schmoldt, A., Mohaimani, A., Mueller, O., Klaper,R.D. 2022. Transcriptome signatures of wastewater effluent exposure in larval zebrafish vary with seasonal mixture composition in an effluent-dominated stream. Sci.Total Environ. v. 856, 159069.

Schumann, P.G., Meade, E.B., Zhi, H., LeFevre, G.H, Kolpin, D.W., Meppelink, S.M., Iwanowicz, L.R., Lane. R.F., Schmoldt, A., Mueller. O., Klaper, R.D. 2022. RNA-seq reveals potential gene biomarkers in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) for exposure to treated wastewater effluent. Environmental Science Processes & Impacts, in press.

Portrait of Ron Blakey

Ronald C. Blakey is Professor Emeritus in Geology at Northern Arizona University where he taught graduate courses in sedimenta­tion, sedimentary petrology, regional tectonics, and stratigraphy and undergraduate courses in stratigraphy sedimentation, oceanography, and historical geology.  

Research interests past and present are sedimentary proces­ses, sedimentary tectonics, environmental reconstruction, and stratigraphic analysis and computer applications to geological education.  Most recent research focuses on relations of ancient sedimentary environments and their tectonic setting.  This has generated numerous paleogeographic maps of regional to global scale, that are in textbooks, scientific journals, museums, park displays and are widely used as teaching aids.  Rocks of fluvial, eolian, lacustrine, and shallow marine origin, as well as global and regional paleogeography, are subjects of recent publications.

Pennsylvanian and Early Permian Paleogeography of North America with Emphasis on Greater Ancestral Rockies (GARM)
Ronald C. Blakey
Professor Emeritus of Geology
Northern Arizona University
Colorado Plateau Geosystems


The Greater Ancestral Rocky Mountains (GARM) comprise a series of uplifted mountains blocks and adjacent sedimentary basins.  Greatest uplift and subsidence took place during the Pennsylvanian and Early Permian – by Middle Permian, uplift and basin subsidence had ceased.  Studies of both the tectonics and structure of the mountains and the sedimentology and stratigraphy of the basins has amassed voluminous data but there is still not consensus regarding the tectonic cause of the orogen.  Early debate over source of voluminous Pennsylvanian-Permian eolian sandstone and fine-grained redbeds, sourced locally from Precambrian-cored uplifts or more distal sources, has been resolved by numerous detrital zircon (DZ) studies of these sedimentary rocks. Ages of DZ grains show Paleozoic (330-470 Ma),  Neoproterozoic (550-900 Ma), Grenville (1000-1300 Ma), Paleoproterozoic (1400-1800 Ma) and Earliest Proterozoic and Archean (> 2000 Ma) sources.  Only 1400-1800 Ma grains are abundant in Precambrian cores of GARM uplifts.  Detailed scrutiny of remaining grains suggests Canadian Shield, Appalachian Grenville basement, and Appalachian-Ouachita accreted terranes as the most likely sources.  Comparing the DZ ages in GARM basin sedimentary and sedimentary rocks in the Ouachita orogen with Upper Mississippian to Lower Permian sedimentary rocks of the Appalachian Basin, the Black Warrior Basin, and Midcontinent regions yield sediment dispersal patterns and likely fluvial and eolian transportation routes into GARM basins.  These additional routing patterns generate detailed and accurate Paleogeographic maps and contribute to our understanding of the geologic history of Southwest Pangea.

Personal Data: Born in 1945, Berwyn, Illinois; married, two sons; U.S. citizen; currently lives in Scottsdale AZ

Home Page: 


  • Ph.D. in Geology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1973
  • M.S. in Geology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 1970
  • B.S. in Geology University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1967

Professional History

  • President, Colorado Plateau Geosystems – Deep Time Maps, 2009-present
  • Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University, 1988-2009                   
  • Chair, Department of Geology, Northern Arizona University, 1990-1994
  • Associate Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University, 1981‑1988
  • Assistant Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University, 1975‑1981
  • Utah Geological and Mineral Survey (part time), 1972, 73, 78
  • Assistant Professor of Geology, Fort Hays, Kansas State University, 1973‑1975
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Iowa, 1970‑1973
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Utah, 1968‑1970
  • Field Assistant, Gulf Oil, Mineral Division; Uranium exploration, 1968

Short-Course Presentations

  • RMAG, Denver, Paleogeographic Maps, 2010
  • SWAAPG, Abilene, Ft. Worth, Paleogeographic Maps, 2011


  • 2011 – AAPG Geoscience in the media award for web sites
  • 2013 – Arizona Library Award for Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau (Blakey/Ranney)
  • 2013-2014 – AAPG Distinguished Lecturer – presentations given on “Paleogeography and Geologic History of Western North America” to Universities and Geological Societies across the country
  • 2016 – John W. Shelton Search and Discovery Award for article Paleogeography and Paleotectonics of the Western Interior Seaway:Jurassic-Cretaceous of North America from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
  • 2017 – Outstanding Alumni Award, University of Wisconsin
  • 2021 – John D. Haun Landmark Publication Award (in recognition for Ancient Landscapes of Western North America)
  • 2021 – Distinguished Alumni Award, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Iowa 

Membership in Scientific Societies

  • Society for Sedimentary Geology [SEPM]
  • International Association of Sedimentologists
  • Geological Society of America
  • Sigma Xi


  • Blakey, R. C., and Ranney, W., 2008, Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau: (Grand Canyon) Grand Canyon Association, 176 p.
  • Frisch, Wolfgang, Meschede, Martin, and Blakey, Ronald, 2010, Plate Tectonics (Heidelberg) Springer, 212 p.
  • Blakey, R. C., and Ranney, W. D., 2018, Ancient Landscapes of Western North America – A Geologic History with Paleogeographic Maps: Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 228 p.


60 reviewed scholarly publications (Selected Recent Publications attached), 80 abstracts

Selected Recent Publications      

  • Gehrels, George E. Ron Blakey, Karl E. Karlstrom, J. Michael Timmons, Bill Dickinson, and Mark Pecha, 2011, Detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology of Paleozoic strata in the Grand Canyon, Arizona: Lithosphere,v. 3-3, p. 183-200.
  • Nardin, E., Goddéris, Y., Donnadieu, Y., LeHir, G., Blakey, R.C., Pucéat, E., Aretz, M.
, 2011, Modeling the early Paleozoic long-term climatic trend: Bulletin of the Geological Society of America volume 123, issue 5, pp. 1181 – 1192.
  • Blakey, R. C., and Middleton, L. T., 2012, Geologic History and Paleogeography of Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic Sedimentary Rocks, Eastern Grand Canyon, Arizona, in, Timmons, J. M., and Karlstrom, K., (eds.) Advances in Understanding the Geology of Eastern Grand Canyon: Geological Society of America Special Paper 489.
  • Howell, Evan R., and Ronald C. Blakey, 2013, Sedimentological constraints on the evolution of the Cordilleran arc: New insights from the Sonsela Member, Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona, USA): Geological Society of America Bulletin 125, no. 7-8;1349-1368.
  • Blakey, R. C., 2014, Paleogeography and paleotectonics of the Western Interior Seaway, Jurassic-Cretaceous of North America: AAPG Search and Discovery Article #30392, 72 p.
  • Blakey, R. C., and Ranney, W. D., 2018, Ancient Landscapes of Western North America – A Geologic History with Paleogeographic Maps: Cham, Switzerland, 228 p.
  • Blakey, R. C., 2019, Pennsylvanian-Jurassic sedimentary basins of the Colorado Plateau and Southern Rocky Mountains, in Miall, A. D., ed, The sedimentary basins of the United States and Canada, p. 315-367, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Miall, A. D., and Blakey, R. C.,2019, The Phanerozoic tectonic and sedimentary evolution of North America, in Miall, A. D., ed, The sedimentary basins of the United States and Canada, p. 2-38, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Karlstrom, K.E., Jacobson, C.E., Sundell, K.E., Eyster, A., Blakey, R., Ingersoll, R.V., Mulder, J.A., Young, R.A., Beard, L.S., Holland, M.E., Shuster, D.L., Winn, C., and Crossey, L., 2020, Evaluating the Shinumo- Sespe drainage connection: Arguments against the “old” (70–17 Ma) Grand Canyon models for Colorado Plateau drainage evolution: Geosphere, v. 16, no. 6, p. 1425– 1456,
  • Karlstrom, K.E., et al., (R. Blakey 6th co-author), 2020, Redefining the Tonto Group of Grand Canyon and recalibrating the Cambrian time scale: Geology, v. 48, p. 425–430,
  • Blakey, R., 2021, Paleotectonic and paleogeographic history of the Arctic region: Atlantic Geology, v. 57, p. 7-39.
  • Lawton T. F., Blakey, R. C., Stockli, D. F., and Liu, L, 2021, Late Paleozoic (Late Mississippian-Middle Permian) sediment provenance and dispersal in western equatorial Pangea: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 572, p. 1-36.

Portrait of Joanna Thamke

Joanna Thamke is the Associate Center Director for Studies of the USGS Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center. She oversees the interpretive scientific activities (Studies Program) in the Center, across both States, including all the Studies Sections and Units. She also serves as the general contact for the Center’s science activities in Montana. Joanna is the Field Representative of the U.S. Accredited Officer for the St. Mary and Milk Rivers.

Joanna has been with the USGS since the mid-1980s and has spent most of her career in Helena, MT. Her projects focus on water quality, water availability, water use, and energy in the Williston Basin. Joanna’s work has been recognized outside the USGS with the 2007 American Association of Petroleum Geologists Research Award, the 2008 U.S. Department of Interior Environmental Achievement Award, the 2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Honor Award, the 2019 American Water Resources Association Montana Water Legend Award, and the 2020 University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award from the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department.

Biographical Sketch

Joanna Thamke
Associate Center Director for Studies
U.S. Geological Survey
Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center
3162 Bozeman Ave.
Helena, MT 59601

USGS Staff Profile


B.S. Geology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (1987)


2006-2007 – American Association of Petroleum Geologists Research Award by the Division of Environmental Geologists (DEG) – This is presented for outstanding contributions to understanding and communication of efforts to produce energy, minerals, and water with minimal impact on  environment; and for contributions to public understanding.

2008 – U.S. Department of Interior’s Environmental Achievement Award, (press release) – presented  to the “City of Poplar, Well Threat Plume Capture and Remediation Team”. Shallow groundwater in and  near the City of Poplar has been affected by brine that is seven times saltier than sea water. Open communication and data sharing enabled scientific and regulatory agencies and the oil company to improve water quality in the aquifer.

2011 – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Honor Award, Silver Medal – This is the second highest National award by EPA and was presented for work that led to the EPA issuing an administrative order to protect the health of people living in Poplar, Mont. The recipients included USGS and EPA staff.

2019 – American Water Resources Association Montana Water Legend Award – This is 
presented in recognition of everyday people who are legends in the Montana water arena.

2020 –Earth and Environmental Sciences Department Distinguished Alumnus Award – This is to recognize individuals who made significant contributions to earth and environmental sciences throughout their careers.

Ongoing Science

  • International Hydrologic Studies of the Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center
  • Science Team about Energy and Plains and Pothole Environments
  • Delineation of Brine Contamination in and near the East Poplar oil field, Fort Peck  Indian Reservation, Northeastern Montana
  • Estimating National Water Use associated with continuous oil and gas development

Selected Recent Publications

  • Estimates of water use associated with continuous oil and gas development in the  Williston Basin, North Dakota and Montana, 2007-17 (2020)
  • Analytical Framework to estimate water use associated with continuous oil and gas  development (2019)
  • Predicting attenuation of salinized surface- and groundwater resources from legacy  energy development in the Prairie Pothole Region (2019)
  • Groundwater availability of the Williston Basin, United States and Canada (2018)
  • Characterization and origin of brines from the Bakken-Three Forks petroleum system  in the Williston Basin, USA (2017)
  • Chemical and isotopic changes in Williston Basin brines during long-term oil  production: An example from the Poplar dome, Montana (2016)

John Eiler

John Eiler is a geologist and geochemist specializing in the distribution of stable isotopes among natural materials. His research is best known for developing the study of natural molecules containing two or more rare isotopes. His research techniques have been applied to the chemical physics of isotopes and used to solve applied problems in Earth history, environmental science, and planetary science, including paleothermometers, the atmospheric budget of CO2 and H2, hydrogen cycle of the earth’s interior, differentiation of basaltic lavas, and use of isotopes on meteorites which have been altered by water. Thus John’s research has provided new insights into the body temperatures of dinosaurs, Earth’s climate in the distant geological past, the rates of elevation change in mountain belts, thermal histories of rocks from Mars and primitive asteroids, and the origins of thermogenic and biogenic natural gas.

Biographical Sketch

John M. Eiler
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125

Phone: 626-395-6942; FAX: 626-395-1510


  • B.S. Geology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (1989)
  • M.S. Geology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (1991)
  • Ph.D. Geology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (1994)

Professional History

  • Director, Caltech/Thermo Fisher Center for Isotomics (1/15 to present)
  • Robert Sharp Professor of Geology and Geochemistry, Caltech (6/08 to present)
  • Director, Caltech Microanalysis Center (1/06 to present)
  • Professor of Geochemistry, California Institute of Technology (5/06-6/08)
  • Associate Professor of Geochemistry, Caltech (7/03-5/06)
  • Assistant Professor in Geochemistry, Caltech (7/98-6/03)
  • Senior Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology (7/97-6/98)
  • Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology (5/96-7/97)
  • Post-doctoral researcher, California Institute of Technology (6/94-5/96)
  • Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Fellow (1992-93)
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin (1991)
  • NSF Pre-Doctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin (1989-92)


  • Packard Fellow (2001-2006)
  • Mineralogical Society of America Award (2002)
  • James B. Macelwane Medal (2002)
  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2002-present)
  • Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology Excellence in
  • Teaching Award, 2002-2003
  • Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology Excellence as a
  • Research Mentor Award, 2007-2008
  • S. Epstein Medal, European Association of Geochemistry (2009)
  • Fellow of the Geochemical Society
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Geoscience (2010)
  • Arthur L Day Award of the Geological Society of America (2012)
  • Fellow of the Geological Society of America (2013)
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2017-present)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Awards of the University of Iowa College of Letters and Sciences and the Department of Earth and Environmental Science (2019)

Illustrative Recent Publications

  • Eiler JM, et al. (2014) Frontiers of Isotope Geoscience. Chemical Geology 372, 119-143.
  • Eiler, John and Cesar, Jaime and Chimiak, Laura et al. (2017a) Analysis of Molecular Isotopic Structures at High Precision and Accuracy by Orbitrap Mass Spectrometry. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 422 pp. 126-142.
  • Eiler, John M. and Clog, Matthieu and Lawson, Michael et al. (2017b) The isotopic structures of geological organic compounds. In: From Source to Seep: Geochemical Applications in Hydrocarbon Systems. Geological Society special publication. No.468. Geological Society, London, pp. 53-81.