Jim Faulds, a research professor for the University of Nevada, Reno and director for the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, has been elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America for his work on tectonics and structural geology.
"I am very honored that my peers have chosen me as a Fellow for the Geological Society of America," Faulds said. "The Society is one of the most prominent geological organizations in North America."
One of 63 recipients from universities across the North American continent and abroad, Faulds was awarded his fellowship at an awards ceremony in Colorado last fall. He was nominated for the award by fellow colleague, state geologist emeritus and Geological Society of America member, Jonathan Price.
"Faulds was recognized for fundamental work on the tectonics and structural geology of the Great Basin region and Basin and Range province in the western U.S.," Price said. "An accomplished mapper, Faulds has integrated detailed geologic mapping into nearly all his work, which has had direct applications to earthquake hazards, industrial minerals, metallic ore deposits and geothermal resources."
Faulds first came to love geology as a child watching ice on lakes break up during springtime and collide with one another. He turned this interest toward the earth's crust and began studying geology. He began teaching at the University for the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology in 1997 and became the director in 2012.
"Being director is challenging, but rewarding," Faulds said. "I have the opportunity to guide the Bureau in the analysis of Nevada geology and better understand natural resources and hazards of the area."
Nevada is often prone to earthquakes due to tectonic shifts. As a structural geologist, Faulds studies how the area's crust deforms and extends, thereby producing earthquakes, tremors, hot water deposits and mineral precipitation. Of his many contributions to tectonics, Faulds most enjoys studying the association between fault patterns and geothermal resources, or areas of flowing hot water. Whether at the surface or underground, the hot water is an accessible energy source that can be used to produce electricity, heat buildings and homes or provide appropriately temperatured waters for greenhouses and fish hatcheries.
"The research on geothermal resources felt very relevant and applicable to society's use," Faulds said. "A geothermal plant could run consistently, develop energy, and not deplete the resource."
Faulds' tectonic research is just one example of his work that earned him the Fellowship from the Geological Society of America.
"I have been very fortunate to spend so much of the past 30 years studying the amazing geology and landscapes of Nevada and surrounding regions," Faulds said. "This award should really go to those landscapes, which have and will continue to intrigue the curiosity of myself and others for many generations to come."
The Geological Society of America is a coalition of academic, government, business and industry professionals dedicated to studying the earth. Annual fellowships are granted to current members in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the geosciences.