New Faculty Members at NBMG

A message from Jim Faulds: Please welcome several new members of the NBMG team. This includes Lora Robb, our new Business Manager, who will oversee NBMG’s fiscal and administrative functions and Matthieu Harlaux, an Assistant Professor in Economic Geology. In addition, our Geothermal Center is growing with the additions of Rozena Brecke (who is handling important administrative aspects of the Center), Cary Lindsey (a post-doctoral scholar), and Eli Mlawsky (Geothermal Data Manager). These additions will greatly enhance our ability to analyze natural resources in the state and region. Please see short biographies of everyone below. We are very fortunate to have such a talented group joining NBMG.

New Faculty Members at NBMG:

Matthieu Harlaux, Assistant Professor–Economic Geologist
Dr. Matthieu Harlaux recently joined the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno as an Assistant Professor in economic geology. Dr. Harlaux received his MS in Geosciences from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Géologie in 2012 in Nancy (France). Then, he completed a PhD in Geosciences from the Université de Lorraine in 2016 (Nancy, France) focusing on granite-related tin-tungsten deposits in France. After completing his PhD, Dr. Harlaux joined the University of Geneva (Switzerland), where he did a two-year postdoc working on tin deposits in the Peruvian Central Andes.

Dr. Harlaux’s research focuses on understanding the formation processes of hydrothermal ore deposits. He uses a combination of field-work and modern analytical techniques (LA-ICP-MS, MC-ICP-MS, ID-TIMS, SIMS) for studying the trace element and isotope geochemistry of rocks, minerals, and fluid inclusions. More specifically, his research interests concern the processes at the magmatic-hydrothermal transition that occurs at the end of magma crystallization when exsolution of high-temperature volatile fluids occurs. This research aims to better understand the physico-chemical conditions (temperature, pressure, salinity, pH, gas content, and metal content) allowing the deposition of metal-bearing minerals by hydrothermal fluids.

Dr. Harlaux is excited to concentrate his research on the Nevada’s metallogeny, which has an incredible variety of hydrothermal ore deposits, including Carlin-type gold deposits, porphyry copper deposits, and epithermal gold-silver deposits, among the most important. Dr. Harlaux will help to strengthen the economic geology group at NBMG and to develop new research projects in strong collaboration with the mining industry and other universities. One of his ambitions will be to develop a new laboratory at NBMG focusing on the study of fluid inclusions applied to hydrothermal systems. His work will examine the ore-forming processes (fluid mixing, cooling, fluid-rock interaction, etc) in link with the Cenozoic magmatic and tectonic evolution of Nevada.

Lora Robb, Business Manager
Lora Robb joined NBMG in December as its new Business Manager. Her role includes overseeing the Bureau’s financial, administrative, and human resources operations working closely with the Director to make sure everything runs efficiently and effectively. She has worked in land use and water resources planning and as a business manager for several public agencies in the Reno area including Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, Washoe County, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, and Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency. Lora holds an MA in Geography from California State University, Chico, and grew up in Truckee, California.

Lora is excited to join NBMG and return to a world where earth science and mapping are core to the organization’s mission. Her first real job out of college was working for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mapping Division so joining the Bureau feels like returning home. When not at work, Lora is often with her husband Paul hiking, camping, boating, and otherwise exploring the wide open spaces of the great state of Nevada.

New Staff at Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy

Rozena Brecke, Administrative Assistant, 775-682-8855
Rozena attained a dual degree from the University of Nevada, Reno Honors Program, earning a BA in Philosophy, a BS in Health Sciences and a minor in Biochemistry (2000). She pursued an internship at the UNR’s Medical School, and presented at Cancer Research conferences in the U.S. and abroad, with plans of an MA in Biomedical Ethics. After a change of plans and searching for her purpose and passion, in 2004 she opened up her own business, a tiny organic grocery store called Vegetus, Latin for “fresh, whole, lively and sound.” In 2006, she decided that it was time to seek that advanced degree, closed up shop, but then life happened, quite literally, and she welcomed her son, Soren, into the world.

In 2014, Rozena returned to University of Nevada to work at the Wolf Shop, the student-owned and operated campus store, where she curated the General Books department, led the bookstore’s first U.S. Passport Acceptance Facility and ultimately did her best to inspire and support students to become ‘real’ adults. In 2018, she transferred as an Administrative Assistant to the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy, housed in the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, where she is proud to contribute to the global transition to renewable energy.

Rozena loves clean food, plants, great coffee, libations, ideas, kindness and humor. When she is not reading or cross-wording in the sunshine, she is appreciating the warm sound of vinyl in her 1938 brick home with the love of her life, son, and cat, Tuna.

Cary Lindsey, Postdoctoral Scholar, 775-682-8149
Dr. Cary Lindsey recently joined the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy in the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno as a Postdoctoral Scholar. She received her BS in Geology from Mississippi State University and a PhD from University of Idaho. Dr. Lindsey’s research primarily focuses on exploration and characterization of geothermal systems. She uses techniques such as geostatistical and statistical modeling in her work as well as foundational concepts in hydrogeology and heat and mass transfer. She has worked in the Basin and Range of Oregon as well as Yellowstone National Park.

Dr. Lindsey is pleased to join the team at GBCGE-NBMG to participate in international capacity building for geothermal development where she will share her skills and training with scientists in countries on the cusp of geothermal development and looks forward to learning about and exploring geothermal systems in other regions of the world. She also continues to develop geostatistical techniques and modeling for refined characterization of heat and mass flow in geothermal systems.

Eli Mlawsky, GBCGE Geoscience Data Manager
Eli joined NBMG in October 2018 as the Geothermal Data Manager at GBCGE. His main focus is developing and maintaining an online relational database to warehouse all subsurface data for Nevada and the encompassing Great Basin region. Eli’s other roles include automation of organizational processes and project support via curating and distributing NBMG data products. He is a UNR alumnus, holding an MS in hydrogeology and BS in geophysics. Prior to joining NBMG, Eli worked as a consultant geophysicist. He enjoys data-driven modeling and all things computer science. He has pursued a lateral move in his early career to cultivate his programming skills while still working with familiar data and a welcoming earth science community that he knows and loves.

After hours, Eli can be found road biking, bouldering, painting, or fabricating in one of Reno’s great community art spaces.

NBMG Staff Directory

Physics Today Article—Bridget Ayling Discusses EGS Potential

Bridget Ayling, Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy and Associate Professor, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, was interviewed for this article in Physics Today.

Engineered Geothermal Systems Have Wide Potential as a Renewable Energy Source

Physics Today 71, 9, 22 (2018);
“What will it take to put geothermal energy to use on a large scale? Iceland uses it nearly exclusively for heat and hot water and for about a fifth of its electricity (see related story on page 26). Many countries have geothermal projects. But the vast stores of heat deep beneath Earth’s surface remain largely untapped. “If we can unlock the technologies to make extracting heat in the subsurface technically and commercially viable on a large scale, the promise is huge,” says Bridget Ayling, director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy at the University of Nevada, Reno. That’s why, she adds, “despite only incremental gains over the last 40 years, the geothermal community continues to pursue engineered geothermal systems,” or EGS, also known as enhanced geothermal systems.” –from Physics Today 71, 9, 22 (2018)

Read entire article here:

Observations: A Newsletter from the College of Science (Spring 2017)

Featuring Bridget Ayling and the National Geothermal Academy. Plans under way to revive the National Geothermal Academy in Reno, Nevada

The most recent issue of Observations: A Newsletter from the College of Science (Spring 2017) included a link to a story in Think Geoenergy about NBMG’s Bridget Ayling and plans to revive the National Geothermal Academy.

“In a recent interview piece published by the University of Nevada in Reno, the new Director for the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy highlighted her and the center’s projects at the moment. She particularly highlights plans for reviving the National Geothermal Academy, which operated on campus [of UNR] from 2011 to 2014 before going dormant for the last two years.”

Read article here:

Nevada Today article, by Michael Olinger, 1/3/2017:

The 2017 National Geothermal Academy will run from 19-30th June, 2017 at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Two engineering-focused modules are being offered: Geothermal Drilling Engineering, and Geothermal Reservoir Engineering. Applications for the 2017 National Geothermal Academy are invited from outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, and professionals. For fee information, course outlines, application forms, and application deadlines for the NGA, please visit: or email for more information.

Meet the Geothermal Energy Center’s new director: Bridget Ayling took over the director position at the GBCGE last spring


News from Nevada Today
Article by Michael Olinger, Nevada Today, 1/3/2017

“The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy got a new director last spring, and she travelled a long road to get to her new post.

Bridget Ayling was born in New Zealand. She has worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Antarctica.

“I think I’ve been really lucky to travel to some amazing places just through my job, you know, and get to some pretty rugged places to do science,” Ayling said. “Everywhere you go, every country you go to, it’s a new landscape.”Bridget Ayling

The high desert of the Great Basin is the latest landscape to welcome Ayling, who has been interested in geology from a young age. Early fascination with limestone rocks and the fossils contained therein was met with encouragement by her parents, who fostered it with the gift of numerous books.

Ayling has spent over a decade working in the geothermal energy sector, most of that time for the Australian government. After dabbling briefly in the oil and gas industries, she saw the post at the GBCGE as a unique chance to get back into the geothermal work that she loves.

“Nevada is a state that has many geothermal resources,” Ayling said. “We’re really richly endowed with geothermal.”

Since her arrival at the University, Ayling has been hard at work on a number of projects, such as reviving the National Geothermal Academy, which operated on campus from 2011 to 2014 before going dormant for the last two years. The academy is a summer program where students spend time studying drilling and reservoir engineering for geothermal energy. She is also a member of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Additionally, Ayling has been working on the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (or FORGE) project, a Department of Energy initiative seeking to develop a field test site for geothermal system technology development and testing. A site in Fallon was one of five potential test sites initially chosen by the DOE, who narrowed their options to two in September, with Fallon being one of those sites. Ayling and the GBCGE are currently waiting to see if their site is the one ultimately chosen by the DOE.

As of the fall semester, Ayling has not taught any classes, but that is set to change in the spring. Ayling’s class, Geology 407/607, will focus on Earth’s energy resources. She describes it as “a pretty ‘big picture’ course.”

She is also working to set up her own independent research that will shape the center.

“It takes time to build a team and have visions for what it can be in the future,” Ayling said. “It’s going to take time to realize that and actually get the funding to support it. It’s fairly small, and my key areas so far have been doing a fair bit of outreach, so doing talks at public forums, like the Geological Society of Nevada. I’ve talked up at the Desert Research Institute. Conference talks, that kind of thing. So, a bit of outreach to raise awareness that we have a center. It exists, and I’m here, and hopefully going to take it to some pretty cool places.”

University research professor Jim Faulds, a colleague of Ayling, is very happy about the work that she has done so far, and the work that lays ahead.

“She has hit the ground running at the University and is already pursuing many new opportunities in geothermal research that will earn enormous rewards for the state and Great Basin region,” Faulds said.

Ayling shares Faulds’ enthusiasm.

“The Great Basin Center is an exciting place to be,” she said. “I think to be here in Reno and to be director of the center is great.”

New Faculty at NBMG

A message from Dr. Jim Faulds, NBMG Director and State Geologist:
We are very pleased to welcome two new faculty members to NBMG—Dr. Rich Koehler and Dr. Bridget Ayling.  Dr. Koehler brings expertise in neotectonics and Quaternary geology to NBMG.  Dr. Ayling is the new Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy and has a wealth of expertise in geothermal energy and unconventional petroleum resources.

Dr. Rich Koehler
Dr. Rich Koehler recently joined the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno as an Assistant Professor.  He received his BA in Geology from the University of California, Santa Cruz; MS in Geology from Humboldt State University; and PhD in Geology from University of Nevada, Reno.  Dr. Koehler’s research focuses on earthquake geology, Quaternary geology, paleoseismology, geomorphology, and engineering geology.  To address problems in these topics, he applies expertise in air photo, lidar, and satellite imagery interpretation; Quaternary geologic and geomorphic mapping; soil stratigraphy; and paleoseismic trenching.

Dr. Koehler’s paleoseismic experience includes studies throughout the western United States, including faults in California, New Mexico, Washington, Alaska, and Nevada and international projects in Turkey, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Haiti.  Dr. Koehler has contributed to geologic and seismic hazard evaluation for major infrastructure projects including oil and gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas facilities, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, and industrial and residential developments.

In his current work, Dr. Koehler is focused on researching active faults and Quaternary geology in the Great Basin and surrounding region to better characterize seismic hazards.  Toward this goal, he is building a new Quaternary laboratory specifically designed for paleoseismic research, including state-of-the-art computing facilities for processing and analysis of 3-D topographic datasets developed from satellite, lidar, and aerial photography and soil processing facilities for the separation and processing of samples for various Quaternary dating techniques.  He also continues to collaborate with colleagues at the USGS on a project assessing earthquake and tsunami recurrence in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

Dr. Bridget Ayling

Dr. Bridget Ayling recently joined the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno as an Associate Professor and new Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy.  Dr. Ayling is a geologist and geochemist with over nine years of combined experience in the geothermal and unconventional gas sector.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in New Zealand, completing a BSc (Hons) degree at Victoria University of Wellington.  She then moved to Australia to undertake a PhD in environmental geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Australian National University.  After completing her PhD in 2006, Dr. Ayling joined Geoscience Australia (Australia’s national geological survey), where she became involved in geothermal energy research and mapping of Australia’s geothermal resource potential.  She spent two years at the University of Utah (2010–2012), working with researchers at the Energy & Geoscience Institute on a range of geothermal projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, before returning to Geoscience Australia to pursue research in geothermal reservoir characterization and unconventional petroleum plays.

Dr. Ayling has worked in both conventional and unconventional (i.e. EGS) geothermal settings in Australia and the United States, contributing to regional geothermal resource assessments, surface heat-flow measurement, characterization of reservoir fracture mineralogy, geochemical tracer studies, and conducting numerical modeling to understand reservoir fluid flow regimes.  More recently, she applied hyperspectral imaging techniques to map and understand the mineralogical characteristics of unconventional petroleum source rocks in Cambrian marine sediments in northern Australia.

Dr. Ayling’s current research interests center on reservoir characterization and integration of multidisciplinary datasets to understand the dynamics of geothermal systems at the reservoir and basin scale.  She is also interested in reservoir engineering, sustainable management of geothermal resources, renewable energy technologies more broadly, and the promotion of geothermal energy use in developing countries.