Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

22-14. Integrated geophysical and structural analysis to identify 3D critical mineral resources and tectonic context of NE Washington

We seek a Mendenhall postdoctoral researcher to examine the structural geology, geophysics, and critical minerals potential in northeastern Washington State. We solicit proposals that include a multi-faceted approach to constrain the structural controls on critical mineral potential.

Description of the Research Opportunity

Northeastern Washington is home to a concentration of metallic-mineral mines, however improved understanding of surface and subsurface geology is required to identify potentially untapped critical mineral resources. Newly acquired high-resolution aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric datasets in northeastern Washington show significant variation in magnetic and radiometric characteristics. Geophysical data help delineate structural controls and magmatic intrusions that promote the formation, emplacement, and alteration of mineral deposits. To clearly identify the three-dimensional nature of mineral systems and deposits and understand the tectonic framework in which they occur, these data require careful analysis with existing and new geologic mapping and structural data. The project is expected to advance three-dimensional mapping of critical mineral resources in Washington State, characterize mineral systems in relation to the geologic, tectonic, and magmatic framework, and conduct modern systematic analysis of mineral systems using innovative research that reduce uncertainties in mineral resource assets.  We encourage proposal that will apply new and innovative methods to interpret potential-field and aeroradiometric data in order to illuminate subsurface geology, structure, and possible mineral resources. 

This project will include map-based interpretation and forward modeling of new airborne geophysical data, constrained by new and existing gravity, geologic, and structural data collected in the region of interest. While careful analysis of newly acquired high-resolution aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric datasets in the region are an important centerpiece of the project, the postdoctoral researcher is also expected to include a component of new collection and analysis of geologic, geophysical, and structural data from the study area. This may involve lithologic identification, bedding and foliation orientations, fault mapping, ground magnetic transects, or gravity measurements targeted across potential mineralogical features identified in the airborne geophysical surveys. Additionally, sample collection for low-temperature thermochronology, radiometric geochronology, and magnetic/radiometric properties may be useful to identify the time-temperature history across major extensional fault systems or as benchmark inputs into geophysical modeling software. 

Geologic mapping in Northeast Washington is of varying detail, and the new airborne magnetic and radiometric survey cover a large region. To maximize efficiency and impact, postdoctoral applicants should identify specific regions and cross sections for sample collection and structural/geophysical analysis that correspond to well exposed and accessible geology as well as mineralogical potential.  

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisor(s) early in the application process to discuss project ideas. 


Proposed Duty Station(s)

Portland, Oregon


Areas of PhD

Geology, geophysics or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered). 



Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Geologist or Research Geophysicist 

(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above.  However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.)