Kathryn Watts


Kathryn is a Research Geologist with the Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics (GMEG) Science Center in Spokane, Washington. Her research is focused on various aspects of crustal magmatism, from processes the fuel volcanic eruptions to those that contribute to the formation of economically valuable mineral resources. Kathryn's areas of expertise include: igneous petrology, geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, geochronology, volcanology, and economic geology. 


  • Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of Oregon, 2011
  • B.S., Geology, Louisiana State University, 2006

Current USGS Research Projects

  • 2019-Present: REE Resources in the Southeast Mojave Desert, California
  • 2019-Present: Lithium from Source to Sink: Genesis and Evolution of Li Brines and Clays
  • 2019-Present: Systems Approach to Critical Minerals Inventory, Research, and Assessment

Former USGS Research Projects

  • 2019-2020: Mineral Resource Assessment Training (Tungsten)
  • 2016-2018: Geophysical, Geologic, and Geochemical Investigations of REE Deposits in the Southeast Mojave Desert, Including Music Valley, Thor, and Mountain Pass
  • 2015-2018: Magmas to Metals: Melt Inclusion Insights into the Formation of Critical Element-Bearing Ore Deposits
  • 2013-2018: Geologic Framework of the Northern Great Basin
  • 2012-2016: Formation and Eruption of Large Silicic Magma Chambers and Their Potential Genetic Relationship to Carlin-Type Gold Deposits in the Northern Great Basin (Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellowship)