StoneMtn(small)Pamela C. Burnley

Associate Professor

Geomaterials, Geophysics and Geoscience Education

Office: LFG 212

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

Pamela’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

Marsac, K.E., Burnley, P.C., Adcock, C.T., Haber, D.A., Malchow, R.L., Hausrath, E.M., 2016, Modeling background radiation using geochemical data: A case study in and around Cameron, Arizona. Submitted to Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, September, 2105

Burnley, P. C., 2015, Elastic Plastic Self Consistent (EPSC) Modeling of Plastic Deformation in Fayalite Olivine. American Mineralogist. V. 100, p.1424 – 1433

Burnley, P. C., 2013, The Importance of Stress Percolation Patterns in Rocks and other Polycrystalline Materials. Nature Communications. 4:2117, doi:10.1038/ ncomms3117

Burnley, P.C, Cline, C. and Drue, A., 2013, Kinking in Mg2GeO4 olivine: an EBSD study. American Mineralogist. V. 98, p. 927–931

Burnley, P.C.and Getting I.C. 2012 Creating a High Temperature Environment at High Pressure in a Gas Piston Cylinder Apparatus. Review of Scientific Instruments, v. 83:1, doi: 10.1063/1.3677844

Courses taught

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