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Cynthia Dusel-Bacon

Cynthia Dusel-Bacon is a Scientist Emerita in the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center in Menlo Park, California. Since 1975 she has worked to decipher the geology, geologic setting of syngenetic and epigenetic mineral deposits, and tectonic history of east-central Alaska.

Cynthia Dusel-Bacon joined the USGS Branch of Alaskan Geology, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, in 1975. In 1977, during her third field season of geologic mapping in east-central Alaska, she was mauled by a black bear and lost both arms as a result of her injuries. Her disability has not kept her from enjoying a long and productive career that includes fieldwork in Alaska, petrologic studies, and publication of results.

Research Focus

Dusel-Bacon’s studies have involved deciphering the geologic and tectonic history of east-central Alaska utilizing geologic mapping, metamorphic petrology, whole-rock geochemistry, trace-element tectonic fingerprinting of (meta)igneous rocks, and geochronology (U-Pb zircon,40Ar-39Ar, and apatite fission track data) generated by collaborating scientists. Her studies also have included correlation of regional events in east-central Alaska with those in the western Canadian Cordillera; the age, character, and tectonic setting of submarine, syngenetic, hydrothermal mineral deposits (both volcanic- and sedimentary-hosted); and compilation of a Metamorphic Facies Map of Alaska.


  • San Jose State University, BA, Geology, 1975
  • San Jose State University, Secondary Teaching Credential (Spanish), 1969
  • University of California Santa Barbara, BA, Spanish, 1968

Professional Experience

  • 2014 –   Scientist Emerita, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California
  • 1980 – 2014 Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California 
  • 1975 – 1979 Physical Science Technician, Branch of Alaskan Geology, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California


  • 1974 –   Geological Society of America (Fellow since 2005, former Associate Editor GSA Bulletin)
  • 1980 –   Mineralogical Society of America 
  • 1980 –    American Geophysical Union 
  • 1996 –   Geological Association of Canada
  • 1998 –   Society of Economic Geologists 


  • US Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award, 2011
  • Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee (1 of 10) for 1981