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Dr. Richard Chamberlin

Dr. Richard Chamberlin
Emeritus - Sr. Field Geologist
New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
801 Leroy Place
Socorro NM 87801-4796
(575) 835-6333 fax

Since “retirement” in June 2010, Richard has continued to work part time at the Bureau on geologic map projects and related studies that concern Cenozoic volcanism, magmatism and the Rio Grande rift in central New Mexico. Richard’s primary interest is the structural control magmatism, geometry of magma ascent and the evolution of volcanoes, including the 32.5 million-year old supervolcano at Socorro known as the Socorro caldera.


  • Ph.D. Geology, 1980, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado
  • M.S. Geology, 1975, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico
  • United States Naval Reserve Officer Candidate School, 1968, Newport, RI
  • B.S. Geology, 1967, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico

Professional Experience

  • 1996 – present
    Senior Field Geologist, NMBMMR (now NMBGMR )
  • 1990 – 1996
    Field Economic Geologist, NMBMMR
  • 1990 (Feb-July)
    Field Geologist, Queensland Geological Survey (sabbatical)
  • 1980 – 1990
    Economic Geologist, NMBMMR
  • 1974 (Summer)
    Exploration Geologist, EXXON CO. USA
  • 1973 (Summer)
    Exploration Geologist, NORANDA EXPLORATION INC.

Specialties and Interests

  • Geologic mapping, especially in volcanic terranes and calderas
  • Structural geology of the Rio Grande rift, extensional tectonics
  • Cenozoic geology of west-central New Mexico

Honors & Awards

  • Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge: Volunteer Service Certificate, 2002
  • New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology: Twenty Year Service Award, 2000
  • New Mexico Geological Society: Honorary Member, 1997
  • Constantin Boy Scout Camp: Geology Camp Leader Award, 1996

Professional Societies

  • New Mexico Geological Society: (elected honorary member, 1997) President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Guidebook Editor, Field Conference Chair, Publications Committee Chair, Spring Meeting Chair.
  • Geological Society of America
  • Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
  • Sigma Xi

Current Projects

  • Argon geochronology and geology of Neogene basalts and rhyolites in the central Rio Grande rift (with Bill McIntosh)
  • Geologic mapping of the Water Canyon quadrangle
  • Geologic mapping and Ar/Ar dating of the Magdalena radial dike swarm (w/ Bill McIntosh)
  • Geologic mapping of intersecting basaltic dikes near Riley and the Joyita Hills
  • Monitoring of surface deformation (tilting) above the Socorro magma body (w/ Dave Love
  • Quaternary and late Cenozoic deformation patterns above the Socorro magma body
  • Geology and Ar/Ar dating of manganese mineralization in the Socorro-Magdalena region (with Virgil Lueth and Lisa Peters)