earth science and engineering faculty

Earth Science and Engineering PhD

Participating Faculty

Earth Science

Geochemistry
 

Alysia Cox, Montana TechAlysia Cox, Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry and Geochemistry Dept.

Dr Alysia Cox - Earth Science and Engineering PhD ProgramDr.Cox’s research focuses on the interactions between aqueous geochemistry and microbial activity hosted in a wide variety of geologic settings ranging from continental to seafloor hot springs to mining impacted groundwater and rivers. You can find her and her students of the Laboratory Exploring Geobiochemical Engineering and Natural Dynamics (LEGEND) out sampling and experimenting in the field around Butte, Yellowstone, Ecuador, Iceland, and the seafloor as well as performing laboratory experiments and biomolecule extractions or geochemical modeling calculations at Montana Tech. The LEGEND strives to provide a theoretical, analytical, and experimental framework to explain and predict energy cycling between the biotic and abiotic processes of Earth.

 
Dr. Chris Gammons
This photo was taken in the Lexington Tunnel of Butte, showing jarosite dripstones formed by oxidation and evaporation of acidic mine water.
Dr. Gammons’ research interests involve the geochemistry of natural waters in a wide spectrum of environments, as well as the minerals that form in these various settings. He and his students have studied pristine and polluted rivers in Montana, acid mine waters, pit lakes, volcanically acidic rivers, and hydrothermal fluids. Dr. Gammons also does field- and lab-based research on mineral deposits, especially hydrothermal deposits, using field mapping, mineralogy, fluid inclusion, stable isotopes, and geochemical modeling studies. He has a hydrothermal laboratory for synthesizing minerals and measuring their thermodynamic stability and solubility.Berkely Pit researcjh
 
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Glenn Shaw Montana Tech facultyMy research focuses on investigating groundwater and surface water interactions in mountain systems. Both my M.S. and Ph.D. research has focused on using environmental tracers and isotopes to investigate how groundwater interacts in with surface water, but current research often includes the use of groundwater flow modeling. I am interested in estimating groundwater residence times, cycling rates and flows, as well as identifying source waters within mountain catchments. Since 2015 my research focus has expanded to studying how river restoration impacts mountains rivers (particularly using beaver mimicry structures).

 
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Applied Geociences
 
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Kaleb ScarberryKaleb joined the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in 2012. He is a field geologist that works on 1:24,000-scale and 1:100,000-scale geologic mapping projects in western Montana. His current research efforts include: (1) geologic mapping of magmatic hydrothermal systems; (2) correlation of Cretaceous volcanic sequences using geochronology and bulk geochemistry (3) preserving and analyzing information related to historic mining and production in Montana from mineral systems associated with critical metals. Kaleb’s work is in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth-MRI (Mapping Resource Initiative) Program. Kaleb is also mapping the geology around geothermal features north of Yellowstone National Park.
Geophysics
 
Dr Marvin SpeeceComing soon...
 
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Hydrogeology
 
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Glenn Shaw Montana Tech facultyMy research focuses on investigating groundwater and surface water interactions in mountain systems. Both my M.S. and Ph.D. research has focused on using environmental tracers and isotopes to investigate how groundwater interacts in with surface water, but current research often includes the use of groundwater flow modeling. I am interested in estimating groundwater residence times, cycling rates and flows, as well as identifying source waters within mountain catchments. Since 2015 my research focus has expanded to studying how river restoration impacts mountains rivers (particularly using beaver mimicry structures).

Engineering

Environmental
 

DJ JiangDaquian 'DJ' Jiang

My research combines experimental work and statistical modeling to develop systematic solutions for some of the most pressing environmental challenges. My main focus on the experimental side is to utilize bio-electrochemical cells to degrade persistent contaminants. My main focus on the modeling side is to understand the use, accumulation, and discharge of synthetic organic chemicals in a modern economy.

 

Dr. Raja NagisettyRaja Nagisetty

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Katherine Zodrow PhDKatherine Zodrow, Assistant Professor, Environmental Engineering Dept.

Geological
 

Dr. Sadeghi'Mohammad Sadeghis research team focuses on static and dynamic behavior of geomaterial (soils, rocks, aggregates and mine tailings) as it relates to ground improvement, natural hazards and earthquake engineering (especially liquefaction). We aim to better understand the behavior of these material and develop novel sustainable methods, including biotechnological methods, of altering and improving poor ground conditions to meet performance requirements for foundations, embankments and slopes stability.

Dr Sadeghi's research team
Dr. Sadeghi and his research team visiting a project site.
Mechanical
 

Dario PrietoDario Prieto, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Dept.

Mineral and Metallurgical Processing
 
Avimanyu Das Associate Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Dept. Avimanyu Das, Associate Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Dept.
 

Jerry Downey Ph.D.Jerry Downey, Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Dept.

 

Courtney YoungCourtney Young, Head and Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Dept.

As an accomplished researcher, Dr. Courtney Young has been recognized with Montana Tech’s Research Award in 2009 and Lifetime Distinguished Researcher Award in 2016.  Most of his research involves mineral processing and extractive metallurgy and their application to secondary resource recovery, critical materials and mining sustainability issues.  Consequently, his research has been varied.  Example research efforts include but are not limited to improving Au recovery, remediating cyanide, selecting and testing ores, recycling spent pot-liner, making synthetic lunar soil, repurposing slags and tails, treating acid-rock drainage, determining depressant action in Cu-Mo flotation, conducting Cu electrowinning for energy savings, modeling flotation, examining novel collectors in REE flotation, recovering valuables from slags and tails (PGMs, Cu, garnet, etc.), making pig Fe from slag, designing flowsheets, precipitating nano-Au, recycling plastics by surface modification and flotation, manufacturing TiO2 nano-particles for photocatalytic water remediation, comparing voltammetry on fused salt REE electrolysis with thermodynamic calculations, and understanding surface reactions of sulfide minerals in flotation and leaching.

Mining
 
Petroleum
 
Todd HoffmanTodd Hoffman

Developing low permeability unconventional reservoirs has revolutionized petroleum engineering, yet recovery factors remain low (5-10%) in these reservoirs. We are working on ways in increase the amount of oil that can be produced by injecting fluids into the reservoir. Early success with gas injection has prompted further research into the mechanisms of recovery and in optimizing the process to make it more efficient. While much has been learned, we are still in the infancy of understanding unconventional reservoirs and significant research is needed over the next decade to fully reach their potential.

Todd Hoffman, PhD Earth Science Engineering

Todd Hoffman, faculty, Montana Tech