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J. Wright Horton, Jr., Ph.D.

Wright is an emeritus Research Geologist in the USGS Florence Bascom Geoscience Center. He has decades of experience in southern and central Appalachian geology, served as co-leader and leader of the USGS Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater Project, is involved in eastern U.S. earthquake studies, and explores terranes and basins beneath the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

Research Interests

Structural geology and tectonics, metamorphic and igneous rocks, impact craters and crater materials, fault zones and fault rocks, Southern and Central Appalachian regional geology and tectonics, pre-Cretaceous terranes and basins beneath the Atlantic Coastal Plain, significance of Mineral, Virginia, earthquake for understanding intraplate earthquakes in eastern North America, geologic mapping, hydrogeology, scientific drilling, geologic interpretation of potential-field geophysics, and multidisciplinary collaborations.

Projects

  • Project Leader, USGS Coastal Basement Geology of the Southeastern U.S. Project. 2018-2020
  • Task Leader, Central Virginia Seismic Zone Overview and Synthesis task of USGS Geologic Framework for Seismic Hazards in Central Virginia and the Eastern U.S. Project, 2014–2018
  • Coastal Basement Task Leader, USGS Geology of Atlantic Watersheds Project, 2008–2014
  • Project Leader (2007–2008) and Co-leader (2004–2007), USGS Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater Project
  • Cooperating Principal Investigator, ICDP-USGS Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure Deep Drilling Project, 2004–2009
  • Co-leader, Crater Materials Science Team, ICDP-USGS Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure Deep Drilling Project, 2004–2009
  • Task Co-leader, USGS Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater Project, 2000–2004
  • Task Co-leader, Hydrogeologic framework of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge, North Carolina task of USGS Bedrock Regional Aquifer Systematics Study (BRASS) Project, 2000–2005
  • Staff Scientist, USGS Office of Eastern Regional Geology (2002)
  • Task Leader, Geology of the Washington-Baltimore Urban Area task of USGS Appalachian Regional Geology and Hydrology Project, 1998–2002
  • Project Chief, USGS Geology of the Mid-Atlantic Urban Corridor (GOMAC) Project, 1995–98
  • Project Chief, USGS Geology of the South-Central Virginia Piedmont Project, 1991–95
  • Assistant Branch Chief, USGS Branch of Eastern Regional Geology, 1984–85
  • Project Chief, USGS Raleigh Belt and Eastern Slate Belt Project, 1983–91
  • Geologic mapping, USGS projects in Charlotte (NC-SC) and Greenville (SC-GA) 1° × 2° quadrangles, 1980-89

Professional Experience

  • Scientist Emeritus, Florence Bascom Geoscience Center, USGS, Reston, VA, 2020-present

  • Research Geologist, USGS, Reston, VA, 1980–2020

  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate at USGS, Reston, VA, 1978–80

  • Assistant Professor of Geology, Univ. Southern Maine, 1977–78

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Geology), 1977

  • M.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Geology), 1974

  • B.S., Furman University (Geology), 1972

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • AAAS, Am. Geophysical Union, Carolina Geol. Soc. (President, 1981–82)

  • Geol. Soc. America (Fellow)

  • Geol. Soc. Washington (Councilor, 2009–10)

  • Meteoritical Soc.

  • SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology)

  • Sigma Xi

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