SMU's Mariana Islands Research Team

Members of the SMU team exploring the feasibility of producing enough geothermal energy to supply the island chain and some of its neighbors with an endless source of electricity:

David Blackwell
David Blackwell, Ph.D., is SMU's top expert on energy resource estimates and geothermal exploration. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and teaches upper-level geology courses at SMU including Basin Analysis and Theory of Heat Flow and Diffusion. Blackwell has spent extensive time in the western United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Egypt and Indonesia studying heat flow measurements, and the SMU Geothermal Lab he directs is a partner in the U.S. Department of Energy’s "GeoPowering the West " project to promote awareness of geothermal energy resources in the western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

James E. Quick
James E, Quick, Ph.D., came to SMU in August 2007 after a 25-year scientific career with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), where he was Program Coordinator for the Volcano Hazards Program. He was charged with monitoring the nation's 169 volcanoes to provide critical early eruption warnings, and developed his strong working relationship with Marianas officials when establishing the monitoring network in the Commonwealth. Quick earned his Ph.D. in geology from the California Institute of Technology, and his field research has taken him to more than 35 countries around the world.

Leland (Roy) Mink
Leland (Roy) Mink, Ph.D., joined the SMU Department of Earth Sciences as an adjunct faculty member after serving as the manager of Geothermal Programs for the U.S. Department of Energy. He has more than 35 years of experience in performing and managing energy programs, hydrological evaluations and hazardous and radioactive waste projects.

Maria Richards
Maria Richards is SMU Geothermal Laboratory Coordinator in the Department of Earth Sciences. She was editor with Blackwell of the Geothermal Map of North America published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2004. Richards oversees state and federal contracts, including a current project funded by the Texas State Energy and Conservation Office for geothermal outreach and assessment in Texas.

Albert F. Waibel
Albert F. Waibel, owner of Columbia Geoscience in Hillsboro, Ore., provides consultation services ranging from regional reconnaissance to site-specific test and production drilling for geothermal systems.