Thomas D. Hoisch
Professor of Geology
Northern Arizona University

metamorphic petrology,
Phone: (928) 523-1904
FAX: (928) 523-9220







M.S. Theses Supervised

Graduate Research



Geology Home Page

THERMOD7 software

Professional Background


1985 Ph. D. in Geological Sciences, University of Southern California
1982 M.S. in Geology, Vanderbilt University, minor in chemistry
1979 B.A. in Geology, Pomona College, cum laude.

Occupational Experience

2012-             Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences, Northern Arizona University
2011              Interim Director, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University

1998-present  Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University

2000-2003     Chair, Department of Geology, Northern Arizona University 
1992-1998     Associate Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University
Spring 1995    Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey (Denver)
1988 - 1995    Geologist, WAE (faculty) appointment to the U.S. Geological Survey
1987 - 1992    Assistant Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University
1985 - 1987    National Research Council-U.S. Geological Survey Research Associate (Denver)


Courses I regularly teach:


  • GLG101 Physical Geology
  • GLG309 Mineralogy:  Introduction to Earth Materials


  • GLG615 Metamorphic Petrology*
  • GLG616 Petrologic Phase Equilibria*

*taught every other year in alternate years

Current Research

In and east of Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada:

Studies of metamorphic petrology and thermochronology were undertaken in the Funeral Mountains, California, and at Bare Mountain, Nevada. The exposed rocks belong to a 13-km thick sedimentary sequence of Neoproterozoic to Mississippian age. Metamorphism took place when the rocks were buried by thrusting in Mesozoic time. Deeply buried rocks became exposed in Miocene time when crustal extension resulted in the development of a regional detachment fault. The hangingwall slid off to the west-northwest forming the Grapevine Mountains and exposing the metamorphic rocks underneath in the Funeral Mountains and at Bare Mountain. Studies in this area have established the pressure and temperature conditions of the metamorphism, the direction of transport along the fault, and the timing of its movement. For further information, see publications.


Northern Funeral Mountains, view looking north. Gently east-dipping surface in the foreground is a detachment fault. Lower greenschist facies rocks of the Wood Canyon Formation in the hanging wall are juxtaposed against middle amphibolite facies rocks of the Crystal Spring Formation in the footwall, representing a stratigraphic omission of ~7 km and metamorphic discontinuity of ~200 degrees C. In the distance are the Grapevine Mountains.

Northwest Utah and Southern Idaho:

Rocks are being studied in the Raft River Mountains, Grouse Creek Mountains, and Albion Range.  All are located in the hinterland of the Sevier orogenic belt. A series of subhorizontal faults juxtapose metasedimentary packages of differing age and metamorphic grade. Some of these faults were probably synconvergent normal faults. Two major shear zones and a Miocene detachment fault were responsible for the exhumation of the terrain. Studies of this area involve metamorphic petrology, 2-d numerical thermal modeling, thermochronology, geologic mapping and structural kinematics. Numerical simulations of garnet growth in pelitic schist document a pressure increase of 2.5 kb at constant temperature, corresponding to the emplacement of a 9-km thick thrust sheet (see garnet pictured below). This work is collaborative with Dr. Michael L. Wells at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For further information, see list of publications

Garnet with allanite inclusions from Neoproterozoic schist from the northern Grouse Creek Mountains, northwest Utah. Line on left image is 2.3 mm long. Left: Map of Mn concentration showing growth zoning, rim consumption, and secondary enrichment of Mn at the rim. Right: Garnet is surrounded by clinozoisite-free matrix consisting of quartz, plagioclase, biotite, and muscovite. Plane polarized light.

Graduate Research Opportunites. Applications are sought for graduate students to pursue projects on metamorphic rocks associated with the orogenic belts in the western U.S., pending availability of funding.  Projects typically involve geochonology (Lu-Hf on garnet, Ar-Ar thermochronology, and other methods), determination of pressure-temperature paths, numerical thermal modeling, and kinematic analysis, in collaboration with structual geologist Michael Wells (UNLV), geochemist Jeff Vervoort (WSU), and others.

An article featuring my graduate student Cici Cruz-Uribe was published in the Winter 2009 newsletter of the NAU Graduate College.



  • Kelly, E.D., Hoisch, T.D., and Wells, M.L., Vervoort, J.D., Beyene, MA., 2015, An Early Cretaceous garnet pressure-temperature path recording synconvergent burial and exhumation from the hinterland of the Sevier orogenic belt, Albion Mountains, Idaho: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 170,  n. 20, 22 p., doi: 10.1007/s00410-015-1171-2

  • Cruz-Uribe, A.M., Hoisch, T.D., Wells, M.L., Vervoort, J.D., and Mazdab, F.K., 2015, Linking thermodynamic modeling, Lu-Hf geochronology, and trace elements in garnet: New P-T-t paths from the Sevier hinterland:  Journal of Metamorphic Geology, v. 33, p. 763-781, doi:10.1111/jmg.12151

  • Hoisch, T.D., Wells, M.L., Beyene, M.A., Styger, S., and Vervoort, J.D., 2014, Jurassic Barrovian metamorphism in a western U.S. Cordilleran metamorphic core complex, Funeral Mountains, California:  Geology, v. 42. p. 399–402, doi:10.1130/G35352.1

  • Stone, P., Stevens, C.H., Howard, K.A., and Hoisch, T.D., 2013, Stratigraphy and paleogeographic significance of the Pennsylvanian-Permian Bird Spring Formation in the Ship Mountains, southeastern California: U.S.G.S. Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5109
  • Wells, M.L., and Hoisch, T.D, 2012, Reply to comment by E.L. Miller, A. Konstantinou, and A. Strickland on “Geodynamics of synconvergent extension and tectonic mode switching: constraints from the Sevier-Laramide orogeny.”  Tectonics, 31, TC4016, doi:10.1029/2012TC003136.
  • Wells, M.L., Hoisch, T.D., Cruz-Uribe, A.M., and Vervoort, J.D., 2012, Geodynamics of synconvergent extension and tectonic mode switching:  constraints from the Sevier-Laramide orogen:  Tectonics,,v. 31, TC1002, doi:10.1029/2011TC002913, 2012, 20 p.
  • Hoisch, T.D., Austin, B.A., Newell, S., and Manone, M.F., 2010, Application of tablet PCs to lecture demonstrations on mineral optics:  J. Geoscience Education, v. 58, p. 221-231.
  • Hoisch, T.D., and Bowie, J.I., 2010, Assessing factors that influence the recruitment of majors from introductory geology classes at Northern Arizona University. J. Geoscience Education, v. 58, p. 166-176.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 2010, Student perceptions of geology and implications for choosing among different science majors:  Geoscience Currents #36, American Geological Institute.
  • Hoisch, T.D, Wells, M.L., and Grove, M., 2008, Age trends in garnet-hosted monazite inclusions from upper amphibolite facies schist from the Grouse Creek Mountains, Utah.  Geochim. Cosmochim Acta, v. 72, 5505-5520.
  • Wells, M.L., Spell, T.L., Hoisch, T.D., and Zanetti, K.A., 2008, Laserprobe 40Ar/39Ar dating of strain fringes:  Mid-Cretaceous synconvergent orogen-parallel extension in the interior of the Sevier orogen:  Tectonics, v. 27, TC3012, doi:10.1029/2007TC002153.
  • Everett, B.C., and Hoisch T.D, 2008, Conditions of metamorphism of the Colorado Yule Marble:  Mountain Geologist, v. 45, p. 69-76
  • Wells, M.L., and Hoisch, T.D., 2008, The role of mantle delamination in widespread Late Cretaceous extension and magmatism in the Cordilleran orogen, western United States:  Geological Society of America Bull., v. 120, p. 515-530.
  • Harris, C.R., Hoisch, T.D., and Wells, M.L., 2007, Construction of a composite pressure-temperature path:  revealing the synorogenic burial and exhumation history of the Sevier hinterland, U.S.A.:  Journal of Metamorphic Geology, v. 25, p. 915-934
  • Hoisch, T.D., 2005, THERMOD7:  A general two-dimensional numerical modeling program for heat conduction and advection, with special application to faults.  Computers & Geosciences, v. 31, 698-703
  • Hoisch, T.D., Wells, M.L., and Hanson, L.M., 2002, Pressure-temperature paths from garnet-zoning:  evidence for multiple episodes of thrust burial in the hinterland of the Sevier orogenic belt:  American Mineralogist, v. 87, p. 115-131.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 2000, Conditions of metamorphism in lower plate rocks at Bare Mountain Nevada–Implications for extensional faulting, in Geological and Geophysical Characterization Studies of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, A Potential High-Level Radioactive-Waste Repository:  U.S. Geological Survey Digital Data Series 058, CD-ROM Chapter B. download pdf
  • Wells, M.L., Hoisch, T.D., Peters, M.T., Miller, D.M., Wolff, E.D. and Hanson, L.M., 1998, The Mahogany Peaks fault, a Late Cretaceous-Paleocene normal fault in the hinterland of the Sevier Orogen:  Journal of Geology, v. 106, p. 623-634.
  • Wells, M.L., Hoisch, T.D., Hanson, L.M, Wolff, E.D, and Struthers, J., 1997, Large magnitude crustal thickening and repeated extensional exhumation in the Raft River, Grouse Creek, and AlbionMountains, Brigham Young University Geological Studies, v. 42, pt. 1, p. 325-340.
  • Hoisch, T.D., Heizler, M.T., and Zartman, R.E., 1997, Timing of detachment faulting in the Bullfrog Hills and Bare Mountain area, southwest Nevada:  Inferences form 40Ar/39Ar, K-Ar, U-Pb, and fission track thermochronology:  Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 102, p. 2815-2833.
  • Simonds., F.W., Fridrich, C.J., Hoisch, T.D., and Hamilton, W.B., 1996, A synthesis of detachment fault studies in the Yucca Mountain region; FOCUS '95, Proceedings of the Topical Meeting on Methods of seismic hazards evaluation,  American Nuclear Society, Inc., LaGrange Park, Ill. p.107-114.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1995, Chapter 2:  Conditions of metamorphism in lower plate rocks at Bare Mountain, Nevada--Implications for extensional faulting, in Simonds, F.W., ed., Characterization of detachment faults in the Yucca Mountain region, summary report for site characterization plan  U.S. Geological Survey administrative report for milestone number 3GTD500M, p. 16-47. 
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1995, Chapter 3:  Timing of detachment faulting west of Yucca Mountain, in Simonds, F.W., ed., Characterization of detachment faults in the Yucca Mountain region, summary report for site characterization plan  U.S. Geological Survey administrative report for milestone number 3GTD500M, p. 48-76. 
  • Miller, D.M., and Hoisch, T.D., 1995, Jurassic tectonics of northeastern Nevada and northwestern Utah from the perspective of barometric studies:  Geol. Soc. America Special Paper 299, p. 267-294.
  • Rothstein, D.A., and Hoisch, T.D., 1994, Multiple intrusions and low pressure metamorphism in the central Old Woman Mountains, southeastern California:  J. Metamorphic Geol., v. 12, p. 723-734.
  • Rothstein, D.A., Karlstrom, K.E., Hoisch, T.D., and Morrison, J.M., 1994, Determination of synkinematic plutonism from fluid-infiltrated rocks, central Old Woman Mountains, California:  J. Metamorphic Geol., v. 12, p. 709-722.
  • Richard, S.M., Ballard, S.N., Boettcher, S.S., Hamilton, W.B., Hoisch, T.D., and Tosdal, R.M., 1994, Mesozoic tectonics of the Maria belt, west-central Arizona and southeasthern California, in McGill, S.F. and Ross, T.M., eds., Geological Investigations of an Active Margin, Cordilleran Section Guidebook:  San Bernardino County Museum Association, San Bernardino, California, p. 272-292.
  • Morrison, J., and Hoisch, T.D., 1994, Outward flow of magmatic fluids from the Old Woman granodiorite, Old Woman Mountains, southeastern California:  Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 99, p. 9469-9476.
  • Hoisch, T.D., and Simpson, C., 1993, Rise and tilt of metamorphic rocks in the lower plate of a detachment fault in the Funeral Mountains, Death Valley, California:  Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 98, p. 6805-6827.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1992, Thermodynamic properties of muscovite and biotite:  inferences from natural compositions: Trends in Mineralogy, v. 1, p. 107-115 (invited).
  • Ashwal, L.D., Morgan, P., and Hoisch, T.D., 1992, Tectonics and heat sources for granulite metamorphism of supracrustal-bearing terranes:  Precambrian Research, v. 55, p. 525-538.
  • Miller, D.M., and Hoisch, T.D., 1992, Mesozoic structure, metamorphism, and magmatism in the Pilot Range and the Toano Range, in Wilson, J.R., ed., Field guide to geologic excursions in Utah and adjacent areas of Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming:   Utah Geological Survey Misc. Pub. 92-3, p. 79-92.
  • Foster, D.A., Miller, C.F., Harrison, M., and Hoisch, T.D., 1992,  40Ar/39Ar thermochronology of the Old Woman Mountains area, California with implications for Mesozoic shortening, metamorphism, and denudation: Geol. Soc. America Bulletin, v. 104, p. 176-191.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1991, The thermal effects of pervasive and channelized fluid flow in the deep crust:  Journal of Geology, v. 99, p. 69-80.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1991, Equilibria within the mineral assemblage quartz + muscovite + biotite + plagioclase + garnet, and implications for the mixing properties of octahedrally-coordinated cations in muscovite and biotite: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 108. p. 43-54.
  • Hoisch, T.D., and Hamilton, W., 1990, A granite origin by fluid-induced anatexis, in Miller, C.F., ed., FROGS (Friends of Granites) Report:  Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 71, p. 694.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1990, Empirical calibration of six geobarometers for the mineral assemblage quartz + muscovite + biotite + garnet + plagioclase:  Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 104, p. 225-234.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1989, A muscovite biotite geothermometer:  American Mineralogist, v. 74, p. 565-572.
  • Hoisch, T.D., Miller, C.F., Heizler, T.M., Harrison, M.T., and Stoddard, E.F., 1988, Late Cretaceous regional metamorphism in southeastern California, in Ernst, W.G., ed., Metamorphic and Crustal Evolution of the Western United States, Rubey Volume VII:  Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersy, p. 538 571.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1987, Heat transport by fluids during Late Cretaceous regional metamorphism in the Big Maria Mountains, southeastern California:  Geol. Soc. of America Bulletin, v. 98, p. 549 553.
  • Hoisch, T.D., 1985, The solid solution chemistry of vesuvianite:  Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 89, p. 205 214.
  • Miller, C.F., Howard, K.A., and Hoisch, T.D., 1982, Mesozoic thrusting, metamorphism, and plutonism, Old Woman-Piute, southeastern California, in Frost, E.G., and Martin, D.L., eds., Mesozoic-Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Colorado River region, California, Arizona, and Nevada:  San Diego, Cordilleran Publishers, p. 561-582.


M.S. Theses Supervised

  • David A. Rothstein, 1990, Geology of the Scanlan Shear Zone, Central Old Woman Mountains, southeastern California. 153 p.
  • William Hoyt, 1992, Geology of the Cowpie Peak and Mercury Mountain areas, Northern Old Woman Mountains, southeastern California. 108 p.
  • Laura J. Wagner, 1994, Petrology of massive wollastonite rocks in the Big Maria Mountains, southeastern California. 116 p.
  • James Harvey, 1994, Sapphirine-bearing amphibolites in the Okanogan Complex, Washington: Thermobarometry and tectonic implications. 237 p.
  • Lori M. Hanson, 1997, Metamorphic petrology of pelitic schist from the Raft River and Grouse Creek Mountains, northwest Utah. 237 p.
  • Evan D. Wolff, 1997, Geothermometry and thermal evolution of the Raft River Mountains, Utah. 156 p.
  • Stephanie L. Dudash, 2001, Polymetamorphism of >2.5 Ga pelitic schist in the Grouse Creek Mountains, northwestern Utah. 256 p.
  • Caroline R. Harris, 2003, A pressure-temperature path of repeated thrusting and exhumation in the Sevier hinterland, Albion Mountains, Idaho.  207 p.
  • Eric D. Kelly, 2004, Pressure-temperature paths and isotopic dating along a major thrust, Sevier hinterland, Albion Mountains, Idaho.  154 p.
  • Sheena Styger, 2008, Composite pressure-temperature paths from the Funeral Mountains, Death Valley, southeastern California. 183 p.
  • Marci Wills, 2014, A metamorphic pressure-temperature-time path from the Wood Hills, Elko County, eastern Nevada. 108 p.