Photo of Joel Des Ormeau outside wearing a backpacking backpack.

Joel DesOrmeau

Geosciences Lab Manager He/him/his


I serve as the lab manager for the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Microbeam Lab and the recently established LA-ICP-MS facility. On any given day, I oversee and perform research with students and faculty that combines the fields of electron microscopy and in situ isotope geochemistry. We routinely collect high-resolution images (SE, BSE, CL), x-ray maps, and crystal orientation data by EBSD from a variety of rock, mineral, and metal types in the Mackay Microbeam Lab. These important chemical and textural maps are then used to guide high-spatial-resolution isotopic analyses of major and accessory silicate phases with our RESOlution M50 193 nm excimer laser and Agilent 7700 quadrupole mass spectrometer in the LA-ICP-MS facility.

Research interests

My research interests involve large-scale tectonic processes, the timing of crystallization of igneous and metamorphic minerals, magmatic and metamorphic texture formation, and determining the pressure and temperature conditions experienced by various metamorphic mineral assemblages. I am constantly intrigued by high-grade metamorphism (i.e., amphibolite-eclogite-facies) and subsequent overprinting involved with the exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) terranes. More recently, I have become involved in research related to unique inclusion suites within eclogite zircons, fluid history of eclogites with oxygen and sulfur isotope data, and the construction of silicic plutons in the upper crust. For these studies, I combine BSE, CL, EDS, and EBSD mapping of a variety of phases from different rock compositions that can then be further characterized by LA-ICP-MS trace element and U-Pb analyses and ID-TIMS geochronology.

Courses taught

  • GEOL 100
  • GEOL 451


  • Dual B.S., International Field Geosciences, University of Montana, Universität Potsdam-Germany, 2010
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Nevada-Reno, 2016

Selected publications  

  • Zuza A, Cao W, Hinz N, DesOrmeau JW, Odlum M, Stockli D. (2019). Footwall rotation in a regional detachment fault system: Evidence for horizontal-axis rotational flow in the Miocene Searchlight pluton, NV. Tectonics, 38, no. 7 (2019): 2506-2539.
  • Eddy MP, Ibañez‐Mejia M, Burgess SB, Coble MA, Cordani UG, DesOrmeau JW, Gehrels GE et al. (2019). GHR 1 Zircon–A new Eocene natural reference material for microbeam U‐Pb geochronology and Hf isotopic analysis of zircon. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 43(1), pp.113-132. DOI: 10.1111/ggr.12246.
  • DesOrmeau JW, Gordon SM, Little TA, Bowring SA, Schoene B, Samperton KM, and Kylander-Clark ARC. (2018). Using Eclogite Retrogression to Track the Rapid Exhumation of the Pliocene Papua New Guinea UHP Terrane. Journal of Petrology, 59 (10): 2017-2042. DOI: 10.1093/petrology/egy088.
  • DesOrmeau JW, Gordon SM, Little TA, Bowring SA, and Chatterjee N. (2017). Rapid time scale of Earth’s youngest known ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic event, Papua New Guinea. Geology, 45(9): 795-798. DOI: 10.1130/G39296.1. DesOrmeau JW, Gordon SM, Kylander-Clark AR, Hacker BR, Bowring SA, Schoene B, and Samperton KM. (2015). Insights into (U)HP metamorphism of the Western Gneiss Region, Norway: A high-spatial resolution and high-precision zircon study. Chemical Geology, 414:138-155. DOI: 10.1016/ j.chemgeo.2015.08.004.