Project Leaders

Tina Niemi (Project PI, 2015-2022) is a sedimentologist and Quaternary geologist at UMKC who specializes in paleoseismology, active tectonics, and geoarchaeology. Her interests include studying active faults, earthquake recurrence in the geologic and archaeological records, paleoenvironmental reconstructions, analyses of high-resolution geophysical data, and characterization of recent hurricane and tsunami deposits. Niemi is the director of the Baja Basins REU and IRES program, organizes the field and lab logistics for participants and mentors, and works with the external evaluator. Tina mentors students in the basin analysis group.

Cathy Busby (Project Co-PI, 2015-2017; mentor 2015-2022) is a professor emerita at University of California-Davis, and formerly at UCSB. She has worked in México for 30 years and on sedimentary and igneous rocks in Baja California since 1983. Busby’s work over the last decade has focused on Neogene volcanic-volcaniclastic rocks and faults of the Sierra Nevada-Walker Lane area and the earliest phases of Cenozoic arc-rift volcanism in mainland México, in the Sierra Madre Occidental. Cathy coordinate the petrographic, geochemical and geochronological analyses of volcanic rocks and mentors students in the volcanology group.

Genaro Martínez-Gutiérrez (mentor, 2015-2022) is a geologist in the Department of Earth Sciences at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS) (Autonomous University of Baja California South). Martínez-Gutiérrez uses the integration of satellite imagery (Landsat, Sentinel, SPOT, ASTER), Digital Elevation Models (DEM), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map the Quaternary geology, in studies of active faulting and geomorphology, and to identify landscape change in response to the impact of tropical storms and other flood events. Genaro leads field GIS and digital mapping training and mentors students in the tectonic geomorphology group.

Jim Murowchick (mentor, 2015-2022) is a a geochemist and mineralogist and professor emeritus at UMKC. He uses the ICPMS, X-ray diffractometer, polarized light microscopy, and SEM to identify and characterize materials and determine minor- to trace-level elemental concentrations of a wide range of materials. He has extensive experience in characterization of rocks and minerals, soils, waters, biological materials, and synthetic substances. Murowchick is involved with a wide array of geochemical and mineralogical studies to characterize ore deposits. Jim mentors students in mineralogical, elemental, and geochemical analyses.

Jose Luis Antinao (mentor, 2016-2022) is a Quaternary geologist the Indiana Geological and Water Survey and formerly at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada. He is interested in the integration of geomorphological mapping with quantitative tools like cosmogenic isotope exposure dating and luminescence geochronology, in order to understand arid regions landscape evolution and how it is linked to climate evolution. He has conducted NSF-funded research in Baja California since 2010, investigating linkages between tropical cyclone activity and deposition of Late Quaternary alluvial fans of the southern peninsula. Jose Luis mentors students in the tectonic geomorphology group.

Alison Graettinger (mentor, 2016-2022) is a volcanologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She studies volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks using field work, remote sensing, and large-scale experiments. Her research focuses on landforms, deposits, and microtextures of volcanic rocks in order to reconstruct the processes that formed them. She has studied a variety of eruptive environments including Iceland, New Zealand, México, and the U.S.  Alison joined the team in July 2016 and mentors students in field and laboratory techniques in volcanology.

Becky Dorsey (mentor, 2017-2022) has been on the faculty in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon since 1997.  She and her students study structural controls on depositional processes and basin evolution in tectonically active settings, including convergent, extensional, and strike-slip margins.  Becky has worked on oblique-rift basins in southern California and western México for over 25 years and joined the team in January 2017. Becky mentors the Basin Analysis group.

Valente Salgado Muñoz (mentor, 2017-2022) was employed at the Minera y Metalúrgica del Boléo (Minera Boleo), Santa Rosalía, BCS, México for 10 years as a senior geologist for exploration and underground mining. His BS thesis from UABCS was on the stratigraphy of ore deposit (Manto 1) in the Montado area of the Boleo Formation.  Valente was one of the main liaisons between the academic partners and the mines.  Valente is now a doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and mentors the Ore Deposits and Gypsum mining groups.

Mike Darin (mentor, 2020-2022) is a structural geologist at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the University of Nevada at Reno. He integrates geologic mapping, stratigraphy, and geo/thermochronology to investigate how mountain belts, sedimentary basins, and plate boundaries evolve through time and space. He has studied the tectonic evolution from subduction to oblique rifting in the Gulf of California for more than 10 years. Mike joined the Baja Basins IRES team in January 2020 and mentors students in structural geology, fault stratigraphy, digital mapping, and GIS.

Jejung “JJ” Lee (mentor, 2015, 2019) is a hydrogeologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UMKC. His research lies in the area of computational and geostatistical modeling of fluid transport and subsurface characterization. In the 2015 REU program, he instructed students on field digital mapping and GIS modeling. For the 2019 Baja Basins IRES, JJ mentored a the Geophysics group.

Raúl Miranda-Avilés (mentor, 2015-2016) is a structural geologist and sedimentologist in the Department of Mines and Geology in the Division of Engineering at Universidad de Guanajuato who will join us in the field. Miranda-Avilés has previously conducted research on the travertines and tuffs and on transtension in the Santa Rosalía basin, researched the Comondú volcanics near La Paz, and has conducted other stratigraphic, sedimentary petrology and geochemistry studies in the Guanajuato mining district and other areas. Raul mentored students studying the basal limestone of the Boleo Formation.

Sarah Medynski (mentor, 2015-2016) was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-Davis and completed a PhD in France at CRPG (Centre de Recherches Pétrologiques et Géochimiques). Her area of expertise is quantitative geomorphology, applied on volcanic fields. She used cosmogenic nuclides for surface exposition dating (3He and 36Cl), applied on lava flows and fault scarp surfaces in Afar, in order to quantify the interplay between tectonic and magmatic processes during extension. Sarah mentored students in the field of volcanology and with the GIS mapping.

L. Mark Raab (project facilitator; mentor, 2015) was a geoarchaeologist at UMKC. He had 24 years experience leading archaeological and geological research on the Baja California Peninsula including archaeological and geological surveys, archaeological excavations, and analysis and dating of sediments and geochemical sourcing of lithic materials. His research includes paleoenvironmental reconstruction, prehistoric human ecology, and searching for possible evidence of a major Younger Dryas impact event in the peninsula’s geologic records. Mark served as program facilitator in the first year of the project.

Margarita López-Martínez (geochronology) runs the Ar/Ar geochronology lab at Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de EnsenadaMéxico. López-Martínez’s main contribution will be to supervise the 40Ar/39Ar geochronological analyses.  She has collaborated on numerous research projects throughout the region.

Karen Grove (external evaluator, 2015-2017) as a sedimentologist in the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University, Karen’s research focused on Quaternary tectonics and stratigraphy of North California. She is active in the geoscience education community, having received grants to implement active learning environments within the large lecture hall setting and transform introductory geoscience laboratory courses. Grove created an outreach program to high school students that sought to increase diversity in the geosciences by introducing local students to the geosciences—Reaching Out to Communities and Kids with Science in San Francisco (SF-ROCKS). 

Jeanne L. Sumrall (external evaluator, 2019-2022) is a geoscientist with a primary research focus on sense of place geoscience education. In addition to her geoscience education research, Dr. Sumrall also conducts environmental geoscience research and geomorphology research. Dr. Sumrall is active in the geoscience education community, and leads a variety of international science education experiences for undergraduates, and she is the Baja Basins IRES external evaluator.