Burke Minsley


Burke Minsley joined the USGS in 2008 as a Research Geophysicist with the Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center in Denver, Colorado. After receiving a B.S. in Applied Physics from Purdue University in 1997, Burke began his career as a field geophysicist working on offshore seismic vessels before receiving a Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT in 2007. His work involves the development and implementation of innovative ground-based and airborne geophysical methods used in interdisciplinary studies to improve our understanding of Earth’s geosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere. Burke’s projects are interdisciplinary and geographically diverse, including permafrost mapping in Alaska, critical zone studies in a mountain headwater system in Colorado, and a large regional water availability study in the lower Mississippi River valley. He also works on development of computational methods for uncertainty quantification in geophysical datasets and associated geologic or hydrologic interpretations. In 2012, Burke received the PECASE award for his fundamental research on advancing airborne electromagnetic survey methodology and its use in studying permafrost.  In 2019, he was elected President-Elect of the Near-Surface Geophysics Section of AGU.


Ph.D. Geophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007

B.S. Applied Physics, Purdue University, 1997



2008 - present: Research geophysicist, Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO

2007 - 2008: Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

2002 - 2007: Research assistant, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

1997 - 2002Field geophysicist with WesternGeco, offshore


Honors and Awards

USGS Unit Award for Excellence of Service- LandCarbon team member, 2017

Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE), 2012

USGS Superior Service Award, 2012

Paper one of ‘Ten Best of SAGEEP’ 2010, 2011

Outstanding Student Paper Award, Near Surface section, Fall AGU, 2006

Martin Family Society Fellowship for Sustainability, MIT, 2004 – 2005



Minsley, B. J., N. L. Foks, and P. A. Bedrosian (2020), Quantifying model structural uncertainty using airborne electromagnetic data, Geophysical Journal International, ggaa393, https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggaa393

Rey, D. M., Walvoord, M. A., Minsley, B. J., Ebel, B. A., Voss, C. I., & Singha, K. (2020). Wildfire‐initiated talik development exceeds current thaw projections: Observations and models from Alaska's continuous permafrost zone. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL087565. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087565

Ball, L. B., Davis, T. A., Minsley, B. J., Gillespie, J. M., & Landon, M. K. (2020). Probabilistic categorical groundwater salinity mapping from airborne electromagnetic data adjacent to California's Lost Hills and Belridge oil fields. Water Resources Research, 56, e2019WR026273. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019WR026273

Ball, L.B., P.A. Bedrosian, and B.J. Minsley (2020), High-resolution mapping of the freshwater–brine interface using deterministic and Bayesian inversion of airborne electromagnetic data at Paradox Valley, USA. Hydrogeology Journal, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-019-02102-z.

Hansen, T.M. and B.J. Minsley (2019), Inversion of airborne EM data with an explicit choice of prior model, Geophysical Journal International, 218, 2,1348–1366, https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggz230.

Rey, D.M., M.A. Walvoord, B.J. Minsley, J. Rover, and K. Singha (2019), Investigating Lake-Area Dynamics across a Permafrost-Thaw Spectrum Using Airborne Electromagnetic Surveys and Remote Sensing Time-series Data in Yukon Flats, Alaska, Environmental Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaf06f.

Walvoord, M.A., C. Voss, B. Ebel, and B.J. Minsley (2019), Development of perennial thaw zones in boreal hillslopes enhances potential mobilization of permafrost carbon, Environmental Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaf0cc.

Pastick, N.J., Jorgenson, M.T., Goetz, S.J., Jones, B.M., Wylie, B.K., Minsley, B.J., Genet, H., Knight, J.F., Swanson, D.K., and Jorgenson, J.C. (2018), Spatiotemporal remote sensing of ecosystem change and causation across Alaska: Global Change Biology, 19 p., https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14279.

Finn, C.A., Deszcz-Pan, M., Ball, J.L., Bloss, B.J., and Minsley, B.J. (2018), Three-dimensional geophysical mapping of shallow water saturated altered rocks at Mount Baker, Washington: Implications for slope stability: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 357, p.  261-275, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2018.04.013.

Kass, M. A., Irons, T. P., Minsley, B. J., Pastick, N. J., Brown, D. R. N., and Wylie, B. K. (2017), In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems, The Cryosphere, 11, 2943-2955, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-2943-2017. [Link]

Parsekian, A. D., Claes, N., Singha, K., Minsley, B. J., Carr, B., Voytek, E., Harmon, R., Kass, A., Carey, A., Thayer, D., and Flinchum, B. (2017), Comparing Measurement Response and Inverted Results of Electrical Resistivity Tomography Instruments. Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, 22(3), 249–266. https://doi.org/10.2113/JEEG22.3.249. [Link]

Gulbrandsen, M.L., L.B. Ball, B.J. Minsley, and T.M. Hansen (2017), Automatic mapping of the base of aquifer — A case study from Morrill, Nebraska. Interpretation, 5(2), T231-T241, doi: 10.1190/INT-2016-0195.1. [Link]

Christensen, N. K., B. J. Minsley, and S. Christensen (2017), Generation of 3-D hydrostratigraphic zones from dense airborne electromagnetic data to assess groundwater model prediction error, Water Resources Research, 53, doi:10.1002/2016WR019141. [Link]

M. Elwaseif, J. Robinson, F.D. Day-Lewis, D. Ntarlagiannis, L.D. Slater, J.W. Lane, B.J. Minsley, G. Schultz (2017), A matlab-based frequency-domain electromagnetic inversion code (FEMIC) with graphical user interface, Computers & Geosciences, 99, p. 61-71, ISSN 0098-3004, doi: 10.1016/j.cageo.2016.08.016. [Link]

Gulbrandsen, M. L., B. J. Minsley, L. B. Ball, and T. M. Hansen (2016), Semiautomatic mapping of permafrost in the Yukon Flats, Alaska, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 12,131–12,137, doi:10.1002/2016GL071334. [Link]

Minsley, B. J., N. J. Pastick, B. K. Wylie, D. R. N. Brown, and M. Andy Kass (2016), Evidence for nonuniform permafrost degradation after fire in boreal landscapes, Journal of Geophysical Research- Earth Surface, 121, 320–335, doi:10.1002/2015JF003781. [Link]

Minsley, B. J., Wellman, T. P., Walvoord, M. A., and Revil, A. (2015), Sensitivity of airborne geophysical data to sublacustrine and near-surface permafrost thaw, The Cryosphere, 9, 781-794, doi:10.5194/tc-9-781-2015. [Link]

Parsekian, A. D., K. Singha, B. J. Minsley, W. S. Holbrook, and L. Slater (2015), Multiscale geophysical imaging of the critical zone, Reviews of Geophysics, 53, doi:10.1002/2014RG000465. [Link]

Minsley, B.J., M.A. Kass, G. Hodges, and B.D. Smith (2014), Multielevation calibration of frequency-domain electromagnetic data, Geophysics, 79(5), E201-E216, doi: 10.1190/geo2013-0320.1. [Link]

Sams, J.I., G. Veloski, B.D. Smith, B.J. Minsley, M.A. Engle, B.A. Lipinski, R. Hammack, and J.W. Zupancic (2014), Application of near-surface geophysics as part of a hydrologic study of a subsurface drip irrigation system along the Powder River floodplain near Arvada, Wyoming, International Journal of Coal Geology, 126, 128-139, doi: 10.1016.j.coal.2013.10.009. [Link]

Pastick, N.J., B.K. Wylie, B.J. Minsley, M.T. Jorgenson, L. Ji, M.A. Walvoord, B.D. Smith, J.D. Abraham, and J.R. Rose (2013), Extending airborne electromagnetic surveys for regional permafrost interpretation and active-layer thickness mapping with remote sensing and ancillary data, Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, doi:10.1002/ppp.1775. [Link]

Eppinger, R. G, D. L. Fey, S. A. Giles, E. C. Grunsky, K. D. Kelley, B. J. Minsley, L. Munk, and S. M. Smith (2013), Summary of Exploration Geochemical and Mineralogical Studies at the Giant Pebble Porphyry Cu-Au-Mo Deposit, Alaska: Implications for Exploration Under Cover, Economic Geology108(3), 495–527, doi:10.2113/econgeo.108.3.495. [Link]

Jepsen, S. M., C. J. Voss, M. A. Walvoord, B. J. Minsley, and J. Rover (2013), Linkages between Lake Shrinkage/Expansion and Sublacustrine Permafrost Distribution Determined from Remote Sensing of Interior Alaska, USA, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/grl.50187. [Link]

Karaoulis, M., A. Revil, P. Tsourlos, D.D. Werkema, and B.J. Minsley (2013), IP4DI: A software for time-lapse 2D/3D DC-resistivity and induced polarization tomography, Computers and Geosciences, 54, 164-170, doi: 10.1016/j.cageo.2013.01.008. [Link]

Jepsen, S.M., C.I. Voss, M.A. Walvoord, J.R. Rose, B.J. Minsley, and B.D. Smith (2012), Sensitivity analysis of lake mass balance in discontinuous permafrost: the example of disappearing Twelvemile Lake, Yukon Flats, Alaska (USA), Hydrogeology Journal special issue on Hydrology of Cold Regions, doi: 10.1007/s10040-012-0896-5. [Link]

Minsley, B.J., B.D. Smith, R. Hammack, J. Sams, and G. Veloski (2012), Calibration and filtering strategies for frequency domain electromagnetic data, Journal of Applied Geophysics, 80, 55-66, doi: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2012.01.008. [Link]

Araji, A.H., A. Revil, A. Jardani, B.J. Minsley, and M. Karaoulis (2012), Imaging with cross-hole seismoelectric tomography,Geophysical Journal International, 188, 1285-1302, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05325.x. [Link]

Minsley, B.J., J.D. Abraham, B.D. Smith, J.C. Cannia, C.I. Voss, M.T. Jorgenson, M.A. Walvoord, B.K. Wylie, L. Anderson, L.B. Ball, M. Deszcz-Pan, and T.P. Wellman (2012), Airborne electromagnetic imaging of discontinuous permafrost, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L02503, doi:10.1029/2011GL050079. [Link]

Elmore, A.J., S.M. Guinn, B.J. Minsley, A.D. Richardson, and J.I. Fisher (2011), Landscape controls on the timing of spring, autumn, and growing season length in mid-Atlantic forests, Global Change Biology, 18, 655-574. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02521.x. [Link]

Bedrosian, P.A., B.L. Burton, M.H. Powers, B.J. Minsley, J. Phillips, L.E. Hunter (2011), Geophysical investigations of geology and structure at the Martis Creek Dam, Truckee, California, Journal of Applied Geophysics, 77, 7-20, doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2011.11.002. [Link]

Minsley, B.J., B.L. Burton, S. Ikard, and M.H. Powers (2011), Hydrogeophysical investigations at Hidden Dam, Raymond, California, Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, 16, 145-164, doi: 10.2113/JEEG16.4.145. [Link]

Minsley, B.J. (2011), A trans-dimensional Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for model assessment using frequency-domain electromagnetic data, Geophysical Journal International, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05165.x. [Link]

Karaoulis, M., A. Revil, D.D. Werkema, B.J. Minsley, W.F. Woodruff, and A. Kemna (2011), Time-lapse three-dimensional inversion of complex conductivity data using an active time constrained (ATC) approach, Geophysical Journal International, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05156.x. [Link]

Minsley, B.J., J.B. Ajo-Franklin, A. Mukhopadhyay, and F.D. Morgan (2011), Hydrogeophysical methods for analyzing aquifer storage and recovery systems, Ground Water, 49(2), 250-269. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2010.00676.x. [Link]

Linde, N., J. Doetsch, D. Jougnot, O. Genoni, Y. Dürst, B.J. Minsley, T. Vogt, N. Pasquale, J. Luster (2011), Self-potential investigations on a gravel bar in a restored river corridor, Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences, special issue on restored river corridor dynamics 15(3): 729-742. doi:10.5194/hess-15-729-2011. [Link]

Ball L.B., Smith B.D., Minsley B.J., Abraham J.D., Voss C.I., Astley B.N., Deszcz-Pan M., Cannia J.C. (2011) Airborne electromagnetic and magnetic geophysical survey data of the Yukon Flats and Fort Wainwright areas, central Alaska, June 2010. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1304: 28 p. [Link]

Wellman, T.P., S.S. Paschke, B. Minsley, and J.A. Dupree (2011), Hydrogeologic setting and simulation of groundwater flow near the Canterbury and Leadville drainage tunnels, Leadville, Colorado, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5085, 56 p. [Link]

Smith, B.D., J.D. Abraham, J.C. Cannia, B. J. Minsley, L.B. Ball, G.V. Steele, and M. Deszcz-Pan (2011), Helicopter electromagnetic and magnetic geophysical survey data, Swedeburg and Sprague study areas, eastern Nebraska, May 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1288, 37 p. [Link]

Minsley, Burke J.; Ball, Lyndsay B.; Burton, Bethany L.; Caine, Jonathan S.; Curry-Elrod, Erika; Manning, Andrew H., 2010. Geophysical Characterization of Subsurface Properties Relevant to the Hydrology of the Standard Mine in Elk Basin, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1284, vi, 41 p. [Link]

Minsley, Burke J.; Burton, Bethany L.; Ikard, Scott; Powers, Michael H. , 2010. Geophysical Investigations at Hidden Dam, Raymond, California: Summary of Fieldwork and Data Analysis . U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1013, viii, 25 p. [Link]

Eppinger, Robert G.; Kelley, Karen D.; Fey, David L.; Giles, Stuart A.; Minsley, Burke J.; Smith, Steven M., 2010. USGS exploration geochemistry studies at the Pebble porphyry Cu-Au-Mo deposit, Alaska-pdf of presentation. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1225, ii, 65 p. [Link]

Minsley, Burke J.; Ikard, Scott, 2010. Geophysical Investigations at Hidden Dam, Raymond, California Flow Simulations. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1153, x, 64 p., 48 Figures [Link]

Smith, B.D.; Abraham, J.D.; Cannia, J.C.; Minsley, B.J.; Deszcz-Pan, M.; Ball, L.B., 2010. Helicopter electromagnetic and magnetic geophysical survey data, portions of the North Platte and South Platte Natural Resources Districts, western Nebraska, May 2009. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1259, 33 p.; Downloads Directory [Link]

Ferré, T., L. Bentley, A. Binley, N. Linde, A. Kemna, K. Singha, K. Holliger, J.A. Huisman, and B. Minsley (2009), Critical steps for the continuing advancement of hydrogeophysics, EOS, 90(23), doi:10.1029/2009EO230004. [Link]

Minsley, B., D. Coles, Y. Vichabian, and F.D. Morgan (2008), Minimization of self-potential survey mis-ties acquired with multiple reference locations, Geophysics, 73(2), F71-F81, doi:10.1190/1.2829390.[Link]

Minsley, B. (2007), Modeling and inversion of self-potential data, Ph.D. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 251 p. [Link]

Ajo-Franklin, J.B., B.J. Minsley, and T.M. Daley (2007), Applying compactness constraints to seismic traveltime tomography, Geophysics, 72(4), R67-R75, doi:10.1190/1.2742496. [Link]

Minsley, B., J. Sogade, and F.D. Morgan (2007), 3D source inversion of self-potential data, Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, B02202, doi:10.1029/2006JB004262. [Link]

Minsley, B., J. Sogade, and F.D. Morgan (2007), Three dimensional self potential inversion for subsurface DNAPL contaminant detection at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, Water Resources Research, 43, W04429, doi:10.1029/2005WR003996. [Link]

Willis, M.E., D.R. Burns, R. Rao, B. Minsley, M.N. Toksöz, and L. Vetri (2006), Spatial orientation and distribution of reservoir fractures from scattered sesimic energy, Geophysics, 71(5), 43-51, doi:10.1190/1.2235977. [Link]



Pace, M.D.M., Minsley, B.J., Moulton, C.W., and Reitman, J., 2020, Ground-based electromagnetic survey, Shellmound, Mississippi, October 2018: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9YRT884.

Burton, B.L., Minsley, B.J., Bloss, B.R., Rigby, J.R., Kress, W.H., and Smith, B.D., 2019, Airborne electromagnetic, magnetic, and radiometric survey, Shellmound, Mississippi, March 2018: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9D4EA9W.

Bloss, B.R., Pace, M.D.M., Thayer, D.C., White, E.A., Johnson, C.D., Adams, R.F., Smith, D.C., Bolton, W.J., and Minsley, B.J., 2019, Ground-based time-domain electromagnetic data and resistivity models for the Mississippi Alluvial Plain Project: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P965NBFT.

Minsley, B.J., Pastick, N.J., Wylie, B.K., Kass, M.A., Ebel, B.A., Rey, D.M., Chase, B.F.W., and James, S.R. (2018), Alaska permafrost characterization: Geophysical and related field data collected from 2016-2017: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P99PTGP4.

Minsley, B.J., Emond, A.M., and Rey, D.M., 2017, Airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey data and inverted resistivity models, western Yukon Flats, Alaska, February 2016: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7QC01P9.

Kass, M.A., Minsley, B.J., Pastick, N.J., Wylie, B.K., Brown, D.R.N., and Chase, B.F.W. (2018), Fire impacts on permafrost in Alaska: Geophysical and other field data collected in 2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7F18WTJ.

Minsley, B.J., Pastick, N.J., Wylie, B.K., Brown, D.R.N., and Kass, M.A., 2015, Fire impacts on permafrost in Alaska: Geophysical and other field data collected in 2014: U.S. Geological Survey data release, doi: 10.5066/F7959FM0. [Link]