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Gretchen Hoffman — Curriculum Vitae

Emeritus — Principal Sr. Coal Geologist
New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources
New Mexico Tech
801 Leroy Place
Socorro NM 87801-4796
Phone: (575) 835-6105
Fax: (575) 835-6333


  • 1979: University of Arizona, M.S., Geology; stratigraphy, sedimentation, and paleontology option.
  • 1976: Adams State College, B.A., Geology and Anthropology.


"Paleoenvironmental Study of a Patch Reef in Upper Mural Limestone in southwestern Arizona, Lower Cretaceous (early Albian) time." Thesis directed by Dr. Karl Flessa, Univ. of Arizona.


May 1980 - present: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
Senior Coal Geologist- June 1992
Senior Coal Geologist and Database Coordinator- September 2000
Principle duties include evaluating coal resources in New Mexico and related industrial mineral resources (i.e. humate, clinker, coal combustion byproducts). Resource evaluation includes collecting and interpreting geophysical and quality data, tracking mine production data, and developing digital databases for these data. Monitoring the economics and market trends of the coal industry and related industries is also important in evaluating the economic potential of the resource. Occasionally sampling and mapping of coal-bearing units is required. Dissemination of data and results of evaluations to the public through publications, presentations and service work are an integral part of the job. U.S. Geological Survey cooperative grants have been maintained since 1980 to enter, update, and refine coal data in the National Coal Resource Data System. As part of this contract (NCRDS) coal outcrops are being digitized via arc in geodatabase models for much of the southern San Juan Basin.

From 1983-1988 involved in a coal quality project to evaluate New Mexico coals through an extensive drilling and analytical program funded in part by the New Mexico Research and Development Institute.  Responsibilities included 1) logistics of obtaining access for drilling, 2) bidding process for drilling and logging, 3) overseeing the drilling operation, and 4) analyzing cuttings, geophysical logs and determining core intervals at drill sites. Major reports were produced at the end of each drilling season.  A comprehensive report was published (NMBG &MR Bull 141) in 1993 on the results of this study.

For several years (1996-2005) conducting resource availability evaluations using previously collected data were a major part of the job. These evaluations were funded by the USGS and used GIS to calculate resources for small areas (4 quadrangles and the surrounding 12 quadrangles) and for each coal zone defined by correlation. Areas were chosen based on their potential of becoming economic in the near future. All four studies are available as open-file reports at the NMBG&MR.

As an offshoot of my coal research I have written articles and given talks on humate, clinker, and fly ash. From 2003-2005 I participated in the development of the Industrial Rocks and Minerals 7th edition, published by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. I authored and co-authored 3 papers; Soil Amendments, Pozzolanic and Supplementary Cementitious Materials, and Abrasives. For this publication I developed and managed the database to track editor and author contact information and deadlines for the senior editors for 114 chapters.

Duties have been expanded since 2008 to georeference old coal mine maps stored at the Bureau and verify the existing inactive coal mine database for projects funded by OSM resulting in ArcMap and database products (i.e. Gallup coal mines – NMBGMR Open-file report 530, San Juan Basin – Open-file report 549).

Starting in 2010, took over management of the Perlite testing lab at the NMBGMR. This laboratory receives samples primarily from perlite companies throughout the U.S. to test perlite for expansion properties, brightness, density, and sieve analyses. This is one of the few labs in the country doing these analyses that is not operated by a company producing perlite.

Assist with development and maintenance of databases within the NMBGMR for business office, and hydrology database as well as maintaining several coal databases and a reference library. Starting in 2011 working with NMBG webmaster and geologists to develop geodatabase with back-end forms for data entry a variety of well data from petroleum and geothermal sources. For approximately 8 months migrated geothermal and scout card data into this geodatabase format and develop queries to extract data to meet needs of geothermal contract. Presently there are over 427,000 wells in this database.

July 1978-1979: University of Arizona (Nuclear Engineering Dept)
Research Assistant - Assessing the possible use of natural caverns for low-level waste disposal. This entailed describing the formation of limestone caverns and lava tubes, relying on geologic knowledge of rock material, their weathering properties, and effects of groundwater. Individual caverns in several areas of the U.S. were investigated as possible disposal sites. This information was published in two reports (September 1978, and January 1979) from the Engineering Experiment Station, University of Arizona.

Academic Year 1977-1978: University of Arizona (Dept. of Geosciences)

Teaching Assistant - Teaching physical geology labs first semester. Reorganizing the invertebrate paleontology collection, second semester.

Summer 1977: U.S. Geological Survey, Geologic Division, Branch of Exploration Research.

Geologic Field Assistant - Prepare samples for spectrographic and chemical analysis and conduct arsenic tests. Knowledge and recognition of minerals, such as those containing iron or copper, and their relative abundance in a sample helped to prevent the contamination of other samples, giving accurate spectrographic and chemical results.

Academic Year 1976-1977: University of Arizona (Dept. of Geosciences)

Teaching Assistant - Teaching physical geology labs.



  • Registration Chairman for New Mexico Geological Society's (NMGS) Spring Meeting, April 1986. General Co‑Chairman for NMGS Spring Meeting, April 1987.
  • Co-organizer for coal field trip and compiling guidebook for the Geological Society of America's annual convention (Phoenix, Arizona, October, 1987) with E.C. Beaumont, F.E. Kottlowski, and O.J. Anderson.
  • New Mexico Geological Society Executive Committee-Secretary, 1995, Treasurer, 1996, Vice President, 1997, President, 1998, Past President, 1999.
  • Co-leader for Rocky Mountain section AAPG field trip to Chevron's Mt. Taylor uranium mine and Santa Fe Coal Corp's Lee Ranch coal mine with V.T. McLemore and W.L. Chenowith, October, 1989.
  • Chair for Economic Geology, Geochemistry and Coal session, NMGS Spring Meeting, April 1990.
  • Nominating Committee member, Geological Society of America Coal Division 1991, 1992.
  • Education Committee Chairman, AAPG Energy and Minerals Division, 1991-1994.
  • Co-leader with E.C. Beaumont of pre-meeting field trip for New Mexico Geological Society's 1992 Fall Field Conference.  Trip was on coal geology of southeastern San Juan Basin.
  • EMD Short Course Chairman, 1994 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, CO.
  • Registration Chair, 31st Forum on Industrial Minerals, April 1995, El Paso, Texas.
  • Program Chair, 1996, Chairman, 1997, Board member 1998, Treasurer 2000-2003, NM Central Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.
  • Second Vice Chair 2003, First Vice Chair 2004, Geological Society of America, Coal Division.
  • Co-session chair 2004 Raton Basin: From Coal To Coalbed methane, with Chris Carroll, Colorado Geological Survey, Annual GSA Meeting, Denver, Co. November 7-10, 2004.
  • Co-leader for field trip to the Raton basin for Annual GSA meeting in Denver, October 2013 with Chris Carroll, Wyoming Geological Survey: Coal Geology and Mining History of the Raton Mesa Coal Region, Oct. 25-27, 2013.

Publications, Talks:

Author or co-author of over 44 published papers, 22 open-file reports, and 17 talks with abstracts pertaining to aspects of New Mexico coal geology. Author or Co-author and presenter of several studies on humates, clinker and fly ash. [see full publications list]