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New Bedrock Geologist Joins Mapping Program

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Dr. Snir Attia mapping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.
Courtesy of Snir Attia

Socorro, NM
— September 28, 2020

The Bureau of Geology’s Geologic Mapping Program welcomes new bedrock geologist Dr. Snir Attia. Attia has extensive experience synthesizing field mapping and analytical data to reconstruct past mountain-building events.

“Working at the Bureau is a tremendously exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to be joining a group that does such excellent mapping and research,” said Attia. “I’m thrilled to be working on a few quadrangle maps across the state this year and am really looking forward to exploring New Mexico and the state’s geology.”

Attia joins the Bureau with a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Earth Sciences. His doctoral research focused on the tectonic history of the Mesozoic-age Sierra Nevada volcanic arc in eastern California. This research combined geologic mapping, digital data synthesis, laboratory analysis, and numerical methods to reconstruct spatial and temporal patterns of magmatic, tectonic and surficial processes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains spanning approximately 350 million years of geologic history.

“To understand the processes that control how volcanic arcs and mountain building regions evolve on geologic timescales, we have to look to the rock record of such systems. The challenge lies in reconstructing the geologic history preserved in the rock record, which we investigate principally through geologic mapping and field observations,” said Attia. “This work has spurred my interest in geologic data models and further developing digital syntheses of field data. I am excited to apply this integrative approach, as well as new tools, to my work at the Bureau.”

Attia will continue studying the evolution of earth’s crust in tectonically active settings through time in his new position at the Bureau. “I’m particularly interested in studying the space-time patterns of magmatic activity, deformation, and lithospheric evolution from the initiation of the Laramide orogeny to the present day,” said Attia.

"Dr. Snir Attia joins the Bureau of Geology from the University of Southern California, where he studied the Late Paleozoic tectonic assembly of the Sierra Nevada Range,” said Dr. J. Michael Timmons, Bureau Deputy Director and Manager of the Geologic Mapping Program. “Part of his work involved large GIS compilations of geologic maps over large regions of California with U.S. Geology Survey colleagues, which gave him some great technical skills for working with the Bureau's Geologic Mapping Program."