StoneMtn(small)Pamela C. Burnley


Geomaterials, Geophysics and Geoscience Education

Office: LFG 212

Phone: (702) 895-5460
Fax: (702) 895-4064

Pamela Burnley’s CV

Pamela’s Research Site


Ph.D. – University of California, Davis: 1990

Research Interests

Projects in my group span a range of geomaterials science and geophysics topic. On the geomaterials side we are focusing on understanding the mechanical behavior of rocks at high temperature and pressure and studying interaction between the processes of deformation and metamorphic reaction. We use a combination of high-pressure experimentation, in-situ synchrotron x-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy for analysis of samples, and numerical modeling to gain a better understanding of the grain-scale processes that control the large-scale mechanical behavior of Earth’s materials, including those exhibited in mantle convection and earthquakes. Current projects include: study of quartz and olivine deformation using synchrotron x-ray diffraction, elastic plastic self-consistent modeling of plastic deformation and finite element modeling of the distribution of stress and strain in deforming polycrystals. Another focus of research in my group is on predicting the distribution of natural occurring gamma-ray background radiation originating from geologic sources. Predictive background maps are valuable in the event of a disaster for nuclear first responders who need to distinguish between variations in natural gamma-ray background radiation and radioactive contamination. Recent projects include studying the distribution of radioisotopes over the Navajo Sandstone, predictive mapping of radioisotopes over Cameron, AZ, Black Rock Desert Volcanic field, Utah, Government Wash, Lake Mead, NV and Lake Mohave, NV.

Recent publications

Dutta  R, Tracy S. J., Miozzi, F., Luo  K., Yang, J., Cohen, R. E., Burnley P. C., Smith  D., Meng Y., Chariton S., Prakapenka V. B., and Duffy T. S. 2022 “Ultra-high pressure disordered eight-coordinated phase of Mg2GeO4: Analogue for super-Earth mantles”  PNAS  (in press 1/2022)

Traylor, T., Burnley, P. Whitaker, W. 2021 “Initial Measurements on the Effect of Stress on P- and S-wave Velocities in Olivine”  Journal of Geophysical Research, 126, e2021JB022494

Rowland II, R.L., Lavina, B., Vander Kaaden, K.E., Danielson, L.R. and Burnley, P.C. 2020, Thermal analysis, compressibility, and decomposition of synthetic bastnäsite-(La) to lanthanum oxyfluoride, MINERALS, 10(3), 212;

Adcock, C.T.  Haber, D.A. Burnley P.C., Malchow, R.L. and Hausrath E.M., 2019, Modeling Gamma Radiation Exposure Rates Using Geologic and Remote Sensing Data to Locate Radiogenic Anomalies, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity v.208-209, 14 p.

Kaboli, S. and Burnley P.C., 2019, In-situ X-ray Diffraction Deformation and EPSC Modeling of AZ31 Mg Alloy. Materials Science & Engineering A, 739, p. 99-104


Courses taught

GEOL 101 Exploring Planet Earth
GEOL 220 Mineralogy
GEOL704x Introduction to Mineral Physics
GEOL 796 Deformation of Crystalline Materials