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Danielle A Olinger

Danielle Olinger is a geologist with the Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center.

During her undergraduate experience, Danielle worked as an excavator at the Big Pig Dig in the Badlands National Park; helped create, organize, and facilitate outreach events for the SDSM&T Geology Museum; completed 6 weeks of field camp hosted in central Turkey; and completed a senior thesis characterizing exoskarns and endoskarns collected in the Kirikkale Province of central Turkey. After completing her undergraduate degree, Danielle worked as a consulting geologist for Rare Element Resources (RER) on their Bear Lodge Alkaline Complex rare earth element exploration project. Through the financial support of RER, Danielle attended graduate school where she worked on many tasks including: characterizing carbonatite and alkaline silicate units of the Bear Lodge Alkaline Complex; using trace element variations in minerals to understand magmatic cycling in the Pecos Mafic Intrusive Complex, Texas; operating analytical equipment for geochemical analysis (WDXRF, ICP-OES, ICP-MS, LA-ICP-MS); teaching the Mineralogy and Petrology laboratory sections which involved revamping lesson plans and assignments; and thermodynamically modeling the role of water in the formation of migmatite at the Ballachulish Metamorphic Complex, Scotland.

Research Interests

Danielle is interested in igneous petrology as it relates to understanding ore deposits. Her current research focuses on characterizing the processes and conditions for the formation of carbonatite-hosted rare earth element deposits using a variety of methods including: optical petrography, fluid inclusion microthermometry, RAMAN spectroscopy, laser ablation ICP-MS, whole-rock geochemistry, and microbeam analysis (SEM, microprobe).

Professional Experience

  • September 2018 - present, Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, CO

  • September 2014 - September 2018, Physical Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, CO

  • September 2010 - May 2014, Teaching/Research Assistant, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

  • August 2009 - December 2011, Consulting Geologist, Rare Element Resources, Ltd., Sundance, WY

Education and Certifications

  • M.S. Geology, Texas Tech University, 2012

  • B.S. Geology, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 2009

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • Geochemical Society

  • Volunteer Education Coordinator for Mines Museum of Earth Science

Honors and Awards

  • 2020, President, Friends of the Mines Museum

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government