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

Wright Horton is a Research Geologist in the USGS Florence Bascom Geoscience Center. He is an authority on 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.

Biography

Research Interests

Field and laboratory research on structural geology and tectonics, metamorphic and igneous rocks, impact craters and related materials, fault zones and fault rocks, mountain chains, Appalachian Piedmont and Blue Ridge geology, pre-Cretaceous terranes and buried basins beneath the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains, intraplate earthquakes, and hydrogeology of fractured crystalline rocks, including geologic mapping, scientific drilling, geologic interpretation of geophysical data, and multidisciplinary collaborations

 

Professional Experience

Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, 1980–present

National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, 1978–80

Assistant Professor of Geology, University of Southern Maine, Portland and Gorham, Maine, 1977–78

 

Education

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

 
Awards and Honors

STAR Awards, U.S. Geological Survey, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011, 2018

Superior Service Award, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1997

Elected Fellow, Geological Society of America, 1986

Special Achievement Award, U.S. Geological Survey, 1986

Awarded National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Research Associateship, 1978–80

 

Projects

Project Leader, USGS Coastal Basement Geology of the Southeastern U.S. Project. 2018-present

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

 

Scientific Editor (Books)

The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake and Its Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America, Geological Society of America Special Paper 509, edited by J.W. Horton Jr., M.C. Chapman, and R.A. Green, 2015

The Sedimentary Record of Meteorite Impacts, Geological Society of America Special Paper 437, edited by K.R. Evans, J.W. Horton Jr., D.T. King Jr., and J.R. Morrow, 2008

Studies of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure—The USGS-NASA Langley corehole, Hampton, Virginia, and related coreholes and geophysical surveys, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1688, edited by J.W. Horton Jr., D.S. Powers, and G.S. Gohn, 2005

Forum on Geologic Mapping Applications in the Washington-Baltimore Urban Area, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1148, edited by J.W. Horton Jr., and E.T. Cleaves, 1997

The Geology of the Carolinas, Carolina Geological Society Fiftieth Anniversary Volume, University of Tennessee Press, edited by J.W. Horton Jr. and V.A. Zullo, 1991

Mélanges and Olistostromes of the U.S. Appalachians, Geological Society of America Special Paper 228, edited by J.W. Horton Jr. and N. Rast, 1989

 

Editorial Boards

Associate Editor, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 1988–90 and 1991–93

Editorial Board, South Carolina Geology, 1989-97

 

Committees and Review Panels

Co-leader, USGS Science Coordination Team for Virginia Earthquake Studies, 2011-2016

Science Review Committee, Barringer Family Fund for Meteorite Impact Research, 2015-2018

NAGT-USGS Internship Review Panel, 2011

USGS Ad Hoc Committee on Research Priorities following the Virginia Earthquake Sequence, 2011

Argon Geochronology Laboratory Advisory Committee, USGS Geology Discipline, 2006–07

Organizing Committee for ICDP-USGS Workshop on Deep Drilling in the Central Crater of the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure, Virginia, USA, Herndon, VA, 2003

Co-chair, Science Language Technical Team Subgroup on Metamorphic Rocks, North American Geologic Map Data Model (NAGDM), 2001–04

Membership Committee, Geological Society of America, 2000–03

Eastern Region Publications Steering Committee member, USGS Geologic Division, 1998

Publications Committee, Geological Society of America, 1993–95

U.S. National Committee for IGCP Project 233, Terranes in the Circum-Atlantic Paleozoic Orogens, 1986–91

Science Advisory Committee, USGS Geologic Division, 1988–90

Committee on Penrose Conferences, Geological Society of America, 1983–85

North Carolina State Geologic Map Advisory Committee, 1983–85

Working Group E4 of Geodynamics Continental-Ocean Transects Program, 1982–87

 

Organizing Conferences and Special Sessions

Co-convener of Topical Session, Intraplate Earthquake Sources, Processes, and Hazards in Central and Eastern North America, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2017.

Co-convener of Theme Session, Seismic Zones, Paleoseismology, and Neotectonics in the Southeastern United States, Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting, 2017.

Co-convener of Topical Session, Evidence for Neotectonic Earthquakes and Their Driving Mechanisms in the Intraplate Region of Central and Eastern North America, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2016.

Co-convener of Topical Session, Intraplate Earthquakes, Seismotectonics, and Geodynamics in Eastern and Central North America, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2015.

Co-convener of Topical Session, Magnetic Surveys for Imaging the Geology of Earth and Other Planetary Bodies: A Session Honoring the Legacy of Isidore Zietz, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2014

Co-convener of Theme Session, Lessons Learned from the 2011 Virginia Earthquake, Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting, 2014.

Co-convener of Topical Session, Central Virginia Earthquakes of 2011: Geology, Geophysics, and Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2012.

Co-convener of Topical Session, Exploring Subsurface Terranes and Buried Basins of Eastern and Central North America - Geology, Geophysics, and Geochronology, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2011

Co-convener of Topical Session, Tectonic Significance of Buried Terranes of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, Geological Society of America Northeastern/Southeastern Sections Meeting, 2010

Technical Program Co-chair, Geological Society of America Northeastern/Southeastern Sections Joint Meeting, 2010

Co-convener of Symposium, Drilling of Impact Structures, Conference on Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV, Vredefort Dome, South Africa, 2008

Co-convener of Symposium, The Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Formation and Consequences, American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, 2005

Co-convener of SEPM Research Conference, The Sedimentary Record of Meteorite Impacts, 2005

Co-convener of Topical Session, Peri-Gondwanan Terranes of the Appalachians, Geological Society of America Northeastern/Southeastern Sections Meeting, 2004

Co-convener, Forum on Geologic Mapping Applications in the Washington-Baltimore Urban Area, sponsored by U.S. Geological Survey and Maryland Geological Survey, 1997

 
Professional Organizations 
American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, Carolina Geological Society (President, 1981–82), Geological Society of America (Fellow), Geological Society of Washington (Council Member, 2009–10), Impact Field Studies Group, Planetary Crater Consortium (formerly Mars Crater Consortium), Meteoritical Society, Sigma Xi - The Scientific Research Society, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology)