New Faculty at NBMG

A message from Dr. Jim Faulds, NBMG Director and State Geologist:
We are very pleased to welcome two new faculty members to NBMG—Dr. Rich Koehler and Dr. Bridget Ayling.  Dr. Koehler brings expertise in neotectonics and Quaternary geology to NBMG.  Dr. Ayling is the new Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy and has a wealth of expertise in geothermal energy and unconventional petroleum resources.

Dr. Rich Koehler
Dr. Rich Koehler recently joined the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno as an Assistant Professor.  He received his BA in Geology from the University of California, Santa Cruz; MS in Geology from Humboldt State University; and PhD in Geology from University of Nevada, Reno.  Dr. Koehler’s research focuses on earthquake geology, Quaternary geology, paleoseismology, geomorphology, and engineering geology.  To address problems in these topics, he applies expertise in air photo, lidar, and satellite imagery interpretation; Quaternary geologic and geomorphic mapping; soil stratigraphy; and paleoseismic trenching.

Dr. Koehler’s paleoseismic experience includes studies throughout the western United States, including faults in California, New Mexico, Washington, Alaska, and Nevada and international projects in Turkey, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Haiti.  Dr. Koehler has contributed to geologic and seismic hazard evaluation for major infrastructure projects including oil and gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas facilities, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, and industrial and residential developments.

In his current work, Dr. Koehler is focused on researching active faults and Quaternary geology in the Great Basin and surrounding region to better characterize seismic hazards.  Toward this goal, he is building a new Quaternary laboratory specifically designed for paleoseismic research, including state-of-the-art computing facilities for processing and analysis of 3-D topographic datasets developed from satellite, lidar, and aerial photography and soil processing facilities for the separation and processing of samples for various Quaternary dating techniques.  He also continues to collaborate with colleagues at the USGS on a project assessing earthquake and tsunami recurrence in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

Dr. Bridget Ayling

Dr. Bridget Ayling recently joined the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno as an Associate Professor and new Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy.  Dr. Ayling is a geologist and geochemist with over nine years of combined experience in the geothermal and unconventional gas sector.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in New Zealand, completing a BSc (Hons) degree at Victoria University of Wellington.  She then moved to Australia to undertake a PhD in environmental geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Australian National University.  After completing her PhD in 2006, Dr. Ayling joined Geoscience Australia (Australia’s national geological survey), where she became involved in geothermal energy research and mapping of Australia’s geothermal resource potential.  She spent two years at the University of Utah (2010–2012), working with researchers at the Energy & Geoscience Institute on a range of geothermal projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, before returning to Geoscience Australia to pursue research in geothermal reservoir characterization and unconventional petroleum plays.

Dr. Ayling has worked in both conventional and unconventional (i.e. EGS) geothermal settings in Australia and the United States, contributing to regional geothermal resource assessments, surface heat-flow measurement, characterization of reservoir fracture mineralogy, geochemical tracer studies, and conducting numerical modeling to understand reservoir fluid flow regimes.  More recently, she applied hyperspectral imaging techniques to map and understand the mineralogical characteristics of unconventional petroleum source rocks in Cambrian marine sediments in northern Australia.

Dr. Ayling’s current research interests center on reservoir characterization and integration of multidisciplinary datasets to understand the dynamics of geothermal systems at the reservoir and basin scale.  She is also interested in reservoir engineering, sustainable management of geothermal resources, renewable energy technologies more broadly, and the promotion of geothermal energy use in developing countries.

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