Leah E Morgan, Ph.D.


I joined the 40Ar/39Ar geochronology lab at the USGS in Denver, Colorado as a research geologist in 2015. I was previously a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center and at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I received a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 2009, and a BA from Carleton College in 2004. I was born and raised in Vermont.

I have worked on a range of applications and method development issues in 40Ar/39Ar geochronology. Applications have largely focused on questions in paleoanthropology and the geologic timescale. Method development projects include developing metrologically traceable systems for measuring absolute quantities of 40Ar and 40K, and the design of a mobile neutron source for the future in situ deployment of 40Ar/39Ar capabilities on planetary surfaces.

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Morgan, L.E., D.P.S. Ramos, B. Davidheiser-Kroll, J. Faithfull, N.S. Lloyd, R.M. Ellam, and J.A. Higgins, 2018. High-precision 41K/39K measurements by MC-ICP-MS indicate terrestrial variability of δ41 K. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometryhttps://doi.org/10.1039/C7JA00257B

Shackley M.S., L. Morgan, D. Pyle, 2017. Elemental, isotopic, and geochronological variability in Mogollon-Datil volcanic province archaeological obsidian, southwestern USA: Solving issues of inter-source discrimination. Geoarchaeology. 

Morgan, L. E., M. Munk, B. Davidheiser-Kroll, N.H. Warner, S. Gupta, R. Slaybaugh, P. Harkness, and D.F. Mark, 2017. Instrumentation Development for In Situ 40Ar/39Ar Planetary Geochronology. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, doi:10.1111/ggr.12170

Kavalieris, I., B.E. Khashgerel, L.E. Morgan, A. Undrakhtamir, and A. Borohul, 2017. Characteristics and 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology of the Erdenet Cu-Mo Deposit, Mongolia. Economic Geology, 112(5), 1033-1053.

Mark, D.F., P.R. Renne, R. Dymock, V.C. Smith, J.I. SImon, L.E. Morgan, R.A. Staff, and B.S. Ellis, 2017. High-precision 40Ar/39Ar dating of pleistocene tuffs and temporal anchoring of the Matuyama-Brunhes boundary. Quaternary Geochronology 39, 1-23.

Righter, K., M.A. Cosca, and L.E. Morgan, 2016. Preservation of ancient impact ages on the R chondrite parent body: 40Ar/39Ar age of hornblende‐bearing R chondrite LAP 04840. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 51 (9), 1678-1684.

Morgan, L.E.201640Ar/39Ar and K-Ar Geochronology, in: A.S. Gilbert (ed.), Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology. Springer. 

Morgan, L.E., and B. Davidheiser-Kroll, 2015. Pressure disequilibria induced by rapid valve closure in noble gas extraction lines. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005823.

Morgan, L.E.2015. Noble Gas Mass Spectrometry, in: W.J., and J.W. Thompson (eds.), Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods. Springer.

Sahle, Y., L.E. Morgan, D.R. Braun, W.K. Hutchings, 2014. Chronological and behavioral contexts of the earliest Middle Stone Age in the Gademotta Formation, Main Ethiopian Rift, Quaternary International, v. 331, p. 6-19.

Mark, D.F., M. Petraglia, V.C. Smith, L.E. Morgan, D.N. Barfod, B.S Ellis, N.J. Pearce, J.N. Pal, R. Korisettar, 2014. A high-precision 40Ar/39Ar age for the Young Toba Tuff and dating of ultra- distal tephra: forcing of Quaternary climate and implications for hominin occupation of India, Quaternary Geochronology, v. 21, p. 90-103.

Sahle, Y., W.K. Hutchings, D.R. Braun, J.C. Sealy, L.E. Morgan, A. Negash, B. Atnafu, 2013. Earliest stone-tipped projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift date to >279,000 years ago. PLOS ONE, v. 8, no. 11, e78092.

Morgan, L.E., D.F. Mark, J. Imlach, D.N. Barfod, 2013. FCs-EK: A new sampling of the Fish Canyon tuff 40Ar/39Ar neutron flux monitor, in: Jourdan, F., Mark, D., and Verati, C. (eds.), Advances in 40Ar/39Ar Dating: from Archaeology to Planetary Sciences. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 378.

Renne, P.R., A.L. Deino, F.J. Hilgen, K.F. Kuiper, D.F. Mark, W.S. Mitchell, L.E. Morgan, R. Mundil, J. Smit, 2013. Timescales of critical events around the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Science, v. 339, p. 684-687.

Schoene, B., D.J. Condon, L.E. Morgan, N. McLean, 2013. Precision and accuracy in geochronology. Elements Magazine, v.9, no.1, p. 23-28.

Renne, P.R., S.R. Mulcahy, W.S. Cassata,, L.E. Morgan, S.P. Kelley, L. Hlusko, J. Njau, 2012. Retention of inherited Ar by alkali feldspar xenocrysts in a magma: Kinetic constraints from Ba zoning profiles. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 93, p. 129-142.

Morgan, L.E., P.R. Renne, R. Galotti, G. Kieffer, M. Piperno, J.-P. Raynal, 2012. A chronological framework for a long and persistent archeological record: Melka Kunture, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution, v. 62, no. 1, p. 104-115.

Frost, S.R., H.L. Schwartz, L. Giemsch, L.E. Morgan, P.R. Renne, M. Wildgoose, C. Saanane, F. Schrenk, K. Harvati, 2012. Refined age estimates and paleoanthropological investigation of the Manyara Beds, Tanzania. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, v. 90, p. 151-161.

Schwartz, H., P.R. Renne, L.E. Morgan, M.M. Wildgoose, P.C. Lippert, S.R. Frost, K. Harvati, F. Schrenk, C. Saanane, 2012. Geochronology of the Manyara Beds, northern Tanzania: stratigraphy and new magnetostratigraphy and 40Ar/39Ar ages. Quaternary Geochronology, v. 7, no. 1, p. 48-66.

Morgan, L.E., O. Postma, K.F. Kuiper, D.F. Mark, W. van der Plas, S. Davidson, M. Perkin, I. Villa, J.R. Wijbrans, 2011. A metrological approach to measuring 40Ar* concentrations in K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar mineral standards, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., v. 12, p. A0AA20, doi:10.1029/2011GC003719.

Renne, P.R., A.L. Deino, W.E. Hames, M.T. Heizler, S.R. Hemming, K.V. Hodges, A.A.P. Koppers, D.F. Mark, L.E. Morgan, D. Phillips, B.S. Singer, B.D. Turrin, I.M. Villa, M. Villeneuve and J.R. Wijbrans, 2009. Data reporting norms for 40Ar/39Ar geochronology. Quaternary Geochronology, v. 4, no. 5, p. 346-352.

Renne, P.R., W.S. Cassata, and L.E. Morgan2009. The isotopic composition of atmospheric argon and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology: time for a change? Quaternary Geochronology, v. 4, no. 4, p. 288-298.

Renne, P. R., L.E. Morgan, G. WoldeGabriel, W.K. Hart, Y. Haile-Selassie, and T.D. White, 200940Ar/39Ar Ages of the Middle Awash Late Miocene, in: Haile-Selassie, Y., and WoldeGabriel, G. (eds.), Ardipithecus kadabba: Late Miocene evidence from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Morgan, L.E., P.R. Renne, R.E. Taylor, and G. WoldeGabriel, 2009. Archaeological age constraints from eruption ages of obsidian: Examples from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Quaternary Geochronology, v. 4, p. 193-203.

Morgan, L.E. and P.R. Renne, 2008. Diachronous Dawn of Africa’s Middle Stone Age: New 40Ar/39Ar ages from the Ethiopian Rift. Geology, v. 36, no. 12, p. 967-970.

Gihring, T.M., L.-H. Lin, M. Davidson, T.C. Onstott, L. Morgan, M. Milleson, T.L. Kieft, E. Trimarco, D.L. Balkwill, and M.E. Dollhopf, 2006. The Distribution of Microbial Taxa in the Subsurface Water of the Kalahari Shield, South Africa. Geomicrobiology Journal, v. 23, p. 415-430.