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Dr. William McIntosh

Dr. William McIntosh
Emeritus - Sr. Volcanologist, Geochronologist
New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
801 Leroy Place
Socorro NM 87801-4796
(575) 835-6333 fax

My position at New Mexico Tech is 75% research and 25% teaching. In my teaching role I annually team-teach argon geochronology courses open to graduate students and upper level undergraduates. These courses combine seminars in current Ar-Ar topics with hands-on laboratory projects. As of 2015 we are now teaching the introductory argon geochronology class using Distance Education Program at NMT, making the class available to students at University of New Mexico and New Mexico Highlands University. In addition to teaching, I have served as primary advisor or committee member for numerous MS and PhD students at New Mexico Tech and UNM. In my role as co-director of the New Mexico Geochronology Research Laboratory, I have made it a priority to make high quality Ar-Ar geochronology available and affordable to students from other universities, particularly those working on geological projects in southwestern USA and Antarctica. We have also accommodated, at very low cost, a number of student projects based out of Central American and South American Universities. My outreach activities include giving public presentations on Antarctic Research at other universities, high schools, and elementary schools. I also serve as a regular judge for the New Mexico State Science Fair and Science Olympiad, and am a regular participant in “Rockin’ around New Mexico” K-12 Teacher Training sponsored by the NM Bureau of Geology.


  • A.B., Highest honors, Geology, 1976, Princeton University
    Senior thesis: Paleomagnetic Reversals in the Newark Group Brunswick Formation of eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey.
    Advisor: R.B. Hargraves
  • M.S., Geology, 1981, University of Colorado, Boulder
    Thesis: Rock?magnetism and paleomagnetism of Antarctic hyaloclastites
    Advisor: W.E. LeMasurier
  • Ph.D., Geology, 1990, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
    Dissertation: Ages and distribution of ignimbrites in the Mogollon?Datil volcanic field: a stratigraphic framework using 40Ar/39Ar dating and paleomagnetism
    Advisor: C.E. Chapin


  • Volcanologist/Geochronologist (1991 to present), N.M. Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
  • Associate Professor (1996 to present), N.M. Tech. Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Joint appointment)
  • Assistant Professor (1991 to 1996), N.M. Tech. Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Joint appointment)
  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate (1989 to 1991); Research Assistant (1982 and 1984-88), N.M. Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Paleomagnetism and 40Ar/39Ar dating of Eocene-Oligocene ignimbrites
  • Field Geologist, Antarctica (31 austral summers, 1977?2011), Volcanology of Cenozoic and Jurassic volcanic rocks

Honors & Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Sigma Xi
  • Princeton senior thesis prize, 1976
  • Antarctic Service Medal, National Science Foundation, 1978
  • New Mexico Geological Society Grant in Aid, 1986
  • Kottlowski Award, New Mexico Geological Society, 1987
  • Founders Award, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 1990
  • Distinguished Research Award, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 2005
  • GSA Fellow, 2014

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Crow, R., Karlstrom, K.E., McIntosh, W., Peters, L., Crossey, L., Fyster, A., 2015, A new model for Quaternary lava dams in Grand Canyon based on 40Ar/39Ar dating, basalt geochemistry, and field mapping: Geosphere, v. 11, p. 1305-1342.
  2. Ferguson, C. A., McIntosh, W.C., Miller, C.F., 2013, Silver Creek Caldera: the tectonically dismembered source of the Peach Spring Tuff: Geology, v. 41, p. 3-6.
  3. Lipman, P. ,Zimmerer, M., and McIntosh, W.C., 2015 An ignimbrite caldera from the bottom up: Exhumed floor and fill of the resurgent Bonanza caldera, Southern Rocky Mountain volcanic field, Colorado: Geosphere, GES01184. 1.
  4. Zimmerer, M.J., and McIntosh, W.C., 2012a, The geochronology of volcanic and plutonic rocks at the Questa caldera: Constraints on the origin of caldera-related silicic magmas: Geological Society of American Bulletin, v. 124, p. 1394-1408.
  5. Zimmerer, M.J., and McIntosh, W.C., 2012b, An investigation of caldera-forming magma chambers using the timing of ignimbrite eruptions and pluton emplacement at the Mt. Aetna caldera complex: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 245/246, p. 128-148.

Other Selected Publications

  1. Cather, S.M., Dunbar, N.W., McDowell, F.W., McIntosh, W.C., and Scholle, P.A., 2009, Climate forcing by iron fertilization from repeated ignimbrite eruptions; the icehouse-silicic large igneous province (SLIP) hypothesis: Geosphere, v. 5, p. 315-324.
  2. Dunbar, N.W., and McIntosh, W.C., 2009, Tephra as an absolute dating and correlation tool for Antarctic ice cores: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 73, p. A312-A312.
  3. Lipman, P. and McIntosh, W.C., 2008, Eruptive and noneruptive calderas, northeastern San Juan Mountains, Colorado: Where did the ignimbrites come from?: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 120, p. 771-795.
  4. Phillips F, McIntosh W, Dunbar N., 2011, Chronology of late Cenozoic volcanic eruptions onto relict surfaces in the south-central Sierra Nevada, California: Geological Society Of America Bulletin, v. 123, p. 890-910.
  5. Ross J, McIntosh W, Dunbar N., 2012, Development of a precise and accurate age-depth model based on 40Ar/39Ar dating of volcanic material in the ANDRILL (1B) drill core, southern McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: Global And Planetary Change , v. 96-97, p. 118-130.

Research Collaborators

Amato, Jeff; Cather, Steve; Chesner, Craig; Dunbar, Nelia; Faulds, Jim; Ferguson, Charles; Gamble, John; Goff, Frazer; Henry, Chris; Heizler, Matt; Karlstrom, Karl; Kurbatov, Andre ; Lamb, Melissa; Levin, Naomi; Luitkus, Cindy; Miller, Calvin; Oppenheimer, Clive; Polyak, Victor; Quade, Jay; Smellie, John; Umhoefer, Paul; Woldegabriel, Gidaye

Ph.D. Students

Wilch, Thom; Zimmerer, Matthew; Ross, Jake; Panter, Kurt