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Jay M. Thompson, Ph.D.

I am the laboratory manager for the USGS-LTRACE laboratory that specializes in laser ablation ICP-MS chemistry and geochronology of solid materials including minerals, glasses, powdered rocks, shells, and fossils. This laboratory houses several excimer lasers and an Agilent 8900 ICP-MS/MS for routine chemical analysis and method development.

My research includes analytical method development for laser ablation ICP-MS for: 1) quantitative trace element analyses in minerals to investigate potential matrix effects by developing new mineral reference materials and 2) develop beta-decay geochronometers (e.g., 176Lu-176Hf, 187Re-187Os) with direct applications to ore deposit research in the Mineral Resources Program.

I have a background in igneous petrology with a Master’s degree (2009) from the University of Iowa where I studied causes of chemical and isotopic variations within a small volume, monogenetic basalt flow (the Ice Springs flow) in central Utah. After my thesis I worked as a laboratory manager at the University of Iowa in a Clean Lab for Sr, Nd, Hf, Pb, Ra, Th and U separation for isotopic analysis and ran an ICP-MS and laser ablation instrumentation. In 2011 I moved to Australia to work at the CODES Laboratories at the University of Tasmania. There, I managed an LA-ICP-MS lab, oversaw a method development program, and produced many reports on U-Pb geochronology on a wide range of minerals and ore deposit types. I started a part-time PhD in 2015 on LA-ICP-MS method development while working full time, with a completion in 2021. The two directions of my PhD research were to better understand the ionizing plasma in ICP-MS instrumentation when coupled with laser ablation, and to improve zircon and apatite U-Pb geochronological analyses by LA-ICP-MS. I In 2019, I joined the ARES group at the Johnson Space Center where I developed methods for trace element and isotopic analysis of astromaterials and their terrestrial analogs. I started at the USGS in January of 2021, wherein I have managed laboratories and collaborated with multiple groups in the USGS, by providing cutting edge methods for mineral chemistry and geochronology for advancing research in ore deposit research. 

*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