Laszlo Kestay

Laszlo Kestay

Science Center Director

Southwest Region

Phone: 928-556-7002
Fax: 928-556-7014

2255 North Gemini Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001-1637


Laszlo received his bachelors degrees from the University of Texas in Austin, in Mathematics and Geophysics. He completed a masters in Planetary Sciences and doctorate in Geology from the California Institute of Technology. He was employed as a research associate by both the University of Hawai'i and the University of Arizona but resided mostly on Kilauea Volcano, working at the USGS Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory as a volunteer/guest. He was hired by the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in 2003 as a research geologist. 




The University of Texas at Austin

1987                B.S., MathematicsSumma Cum Laude

1988                B.S. with Honors, Geological Sciences (Geophysics Option), Summa Cum Laude


California Institute of Technology

1993                M.S., Planetary Science

1994                Ph.D., Geology, Thesis: On the Thermal Budget of Pahoehoe Lava Flows,                                                      Advisor: Bruce C. Murray


NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow

1994-1996       University of Hawaii at Manoa and U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.                             Supervisor: Stephen Self



2003-present   Research Geologist Astrogeology Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey.  Studying volcanism on Io, Mars, and the Earth.  Lead advisor for a USGS Mendenhall Fellow working with the Volcano Hazards Program and the National Park Service to study geothermal activity at Yellowstone from space.  Involved in nascent NASA activities to train astronauts in geology and hazards related to asteroid impacts. 

2011                Associate Science Center Director for Technical Operations Astrogeology Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey.  Overseeing the technical activities (cartography, software development, computer science, data archival, etc.) in the Astrogeology Science Center with a focus on managing the varied portfolio of NASA-funded projects. 

2004-2007       Assistant Team Chief Scientist for Science Astrogeology Program, U.S. Geological Survey.  Assisting the Team Chief Scientist in the program’s scientific endeavors. 

2001-2003       Senior Research Associate Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona.  Worked to use volcanism to probe the interiors of Io and Mars. 

1996-2001       Research Associate Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona.  Worked with the Galileo SSI camera to study the active volcanism on Jupiter’s moon, Io. Also examined volcanic features seen in the Mars Global Surveyor data. 

1998-1999       Physical Volcanologist Ocean Drilling Project, Leg 183.  Examined drill cores and downhole logging data from Kerguelen Plateau flood lavas.   

1996-2002       Associate Researcher School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai’i.  Worked on the emplacement of the Columbia River Basalts as inflated pahoehoe sheet flows.  Also studied the crystallization, cooling, and hardening of basalt on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. 

1991-1999       Guest Investigator U. S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.  Assisted the staff in monitoring the >24-year-long Kilauea eruption.  Specialized in collecting in situ field data on the dynamics and cooling of lava flows.