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Rebecca Goughnour

 Rebecca Goughnour
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

I am a new field geologist with the Geologic Mapping Program at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR). Previously, I was a geologic mapping assistant with the Washington Geologic Survey, and now I am so excited to be back mapping in a state that isn’t covered in blackberry brambles! I am currently mapping Tertiary volcanic rocks in the southern San Mateo Mountains and Mesozoic strata along the Rio Chama.

My research interests have fluctuated considerably since starting my geology education, but my current fascination is in the world of geochronology and thermochronology (i.e., the study of a rock’s time-temperature history). In particular, my research focuses on using multiple thermochronometers (apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He, apatite and zircon fission track, biotite 40Ar/39Ar) to model how long individual dike intrusions fed the voluminous Miocene Columbia River flood basalts. At NMBGMR, I hope to apply a similar suite of thermochronologic tools to new research questions related to volcanism in New Mexico. I also hope to expand my usage of thermochronology to explore questions related to tectonic uplift/exhumation and erosion.

(See Curriculum Vitae)


  • M.S. in Geology, 2022, Idaho State University
    • Quantifying Columbia River flood basalt eruption durations using the resetting of low-temperature thermochronometers next to dikes
  • B.S. in Geology and B.A. in Environmental Science, 2016, Adrian College


  • July 2023 - December 2023: Engineering Geology Intern, WA Department of Transportation, Tumwater, WA
  • August 2022 - July 2023: Geologic Mapping Assistant, Washington Geological Survey, Olympia, WA
  • August 2020 - May 2022: Teaching Assistant, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
    • May 2021: TA for ISU field camp
  • May 2017 - August 2017: Paleoclimatology Intern, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.


(See Curriculum Vitae for more details)

  1. Contreras, T. A., Goughnour, R. L., and Lau, T. L., 2023, Geologic map of the Harts Lake 7.5-minute quadrangle, Pierce and Thurston Counties, Washington: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Map Series 2023-04, 1 sheet, scale 1:24,000, 16 p. text. [download]
  2. Goughnour, R. L., 2022, Quantifying Columbia River flood basalt eruption durations using the resetting of low temperature thermochronometers next to dikes [Master’s Thesis, Idaho State University].