National Science Foundation/USGS Internship Opportunities

Hydrothermal alteration at Yellowstone - linking geophysical models to alteration mineralogy

This opportunity focuses on integration of geophysical modeling with constraints on alteration mineralogy from spectral measurements on drill core and hyperspectral remote sensing data.

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Project Hypothesis or Objectives:

This internship is focused upon understanding linkages between measured geophysical properties, specifically electrical conductivity and magnetic susceptibility, and alteration mineralogy. At Yellowstone, physical properties may be controlled by a number of  factors, including temperature, pH, porosity, groundwater salinity, and alteration clay. The linkage to alteration mineralogy could be explored through constrained geophysical modeling, the analysis of hyperspectral data collected from drill cores, physical property measurements on hand and core samples, and examination of remote sensing data. Modeling of the vast geophysical data set at Yellowstone is at a mature stage, but its interpretation in terms of subsurface fluid flow is dependent upon this work. Expertise is needed at the interface between geophysics, remote sensing, and alteration mineralogy.

Duration: Up to 12 months

Internship Location: Lakewood, CO

Keywords: Chemistry/Geochemistry, Geology, Geologic Hazards/Volcanology, Geophysics, Hydrology, Mineralogy/Petrology, Remote sensing

Applicable NSF Division: GEO (Atmospheric, Earth Sciences, Ocean Sciences, Polar Programs)

Intern Type Preference: Any Type of Intern


The intern will work with a strong team of USGS geophysicists, geochemists and remote-sensing specialists. Field work is not the primary emphasis of this internship, although there may be an opportunity for limited field work. The initial part of this internship involves geophysical modeling, laboratory measurements of physical properties, analysis of remote sensing data, and integration of these data sets. The latter portion of the experience will be focused on interpretation and manuscript preparation.

Expected Outcome:

This research will advance understanding of complex hydrothermal systems at Yellowstone. The intern will interpret and integrate geophysical models, laboratory measurements, and remote sensing data to define the influence of alteration mineralogy on geophysical response and its variability with lithology, chemistry and temperature. A peer-reviewed journal paper is the desired outcome of the internship.

Special skills/training Required:

Completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in geophysics or a related field. Experience in processing and analyzing geophysical and remote sensing data is desirable, but not required. Experience with data integration (e.g. ArcGIS) software is valuable, as is knowledge of mineralogy and/or economic geology. Applicant should have basic programming experience and the ability to learn software packages independently.


Paul A Bedrosian

Research Geophysicist
Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Phone: 303-236-4834