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Jason Kaiser - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Jason Kaiser

Department Chair Geosciences/Associate Professor of Geology | Southern Utah University


Specializing in volcanoes and understanding how and why magma accumulates in the Earth’s crust


Dr. Jason Kaiser’s fascination with volcanoes has taken him all over the world in order to understand how and why magma accumulates in the Earth’s crust. As an assistant professor of geology at Southern Utah University, Dr. Kaiser uses his experience and global research to influence and enrich his classroom.

In order to learn about different geological features, Kaiser has travelled to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Iceland, the Bahamas and across the United States. He is currently investigating geothermal energy sources and potential disasters in southern Utah, as one of his broader interests include geologic hazards and natural disasters.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a master’s degree in geology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a Ph. D. in Volcanology from Oregon State University. His dissertation was on the volcanology, stratigraphy, and geochemistry of the Pastos Grandes Caldera Complex in Southwest Bolivia.







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Meet Our Professors: Jason Kaiser, Geology SUU: A Community of Caring


Industry Expertise (3)

Precious Metals / Minerals


Mining and Metals

Areas of Expertise (17)

Structural Geology

Chemistry of Minerals

Potential Natural Disasters in Southern Utah

Potential Geological Hazards in Southern Utah


Volcano Imaging and Tomography




Geological Mapping





Geothermal Energy Sources in Southern Utah

Geology of Utah National Parks

Geology of Southern Utah

Education (3)

University of Missouri-Rolla: B.S., Geology/Earth Science

University of Massachusetts Amherst: M.S., Geology

Oregon State University: Ph. D., Volcanology

Accomplishments (2)

EDGE Mentor Award


Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year, OSU


Affiliations (8)

  • National Association of Geoscience Teachers
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Mineralogical Society of America
  • International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior
  • Association for Women Geoscientists
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Media Appearances (1)

What I'm Reading: ‘Disrupting Ourselves’

The Chronicle of Higher Education  online


Randall Bass, vice provost for education and a scholar of teaching and learning at Georgetown University, presented some of his thoughts on learning and higher education as part of our convocation series at Southern Utah University. Afterward, I was inspired to read more from him. In his article "Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education," published in Educause Review, Mr. Bass discusses how new ideas are reframing what we think of as the "formal curriculum" and how to redesign courses to have a better impact on learning. This got me thinking about how we are incorporating high-impact practices into our curriculum.

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Research Grants (2)

Geological Society of America Graduate Student Grant

Geological Society of America $2,000


Leifur Eiriksson Foundation Scholarship

Leifur Eiriksson Foundation $25,000


Articles (6)

Climate and Crowding Pressures Show that Bryce Canyon’s Future isn’t Set in Stone


Ciara Hulet, Jason Kaiser


In its century of existence, the landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park has changed, just as it has for millions of years. But with climate change and increased visitation, those geological processes are under threat, potentially changing people’s relationship with the land.

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Million-year melt–presence in monotonous intermediate magma for a volcanic–plutonic assemblage in the Central Andes: Contrasting histories of crystal-rich and crystal-poor super-sized silicic magmas

Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Jason F. Kaiser, Shanaka de Silva, Axel K. Schmitt, Rita Economos, Mayel Sunagua

2017 The melt–present lifetime of super-sized monotonous intermediate magmas that feed supereruptions and end life as granodioritic plutons is investigated using zircon chronochemistry. These data add to the ongoing discussion on magma assembly rates and have implications for how continental batholiths are built.

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Geospatial and Petrographic Analysis of Leucogranite in the Beaver Dam Mountains, Southwest Utah

The Geological Society of America

2016 The presence of leucogranite outcrops in the Western United States suggest possible locations of suture zones for Precambrian terranes accreted to Laurentia. While large scale maps exist, little has been done to extend the suture zones at a fine scale, between Proterozoic terranes such as the Mojave and Yavapai Provinces. Outcrops of Proterozoic leucogranite in the Beaver Dam Mountains of Southwest Utah and the Virgin Mountains of Northwest Arizona indicate possible locations of these suture zones. Using GIS and GPS equipment the locations of leucogranite outcrops following a North-South trend, up to one kilometer in length have been identified near the Utah/Arizona/Nevada border. After field verification these rocks have been correlated to Precambrian basement rocks such as the Grand Canyon Metamorphic Suite to the southeast.

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Field and Petrographic Analysis of the Indian PeakCaliente Caldera Complex at Condor and English Canyons in Eastern Nevada

The Compass: Earth Science Journal of Sigma Gamma Epsilon

2016 The Indian Peak-Caliente Caldera Complex, or IPCCC, is an ideal site to study how large-scale tectonic forces can influence mineralogy on a local scale. This research was completed and compiled by the Tectonics and Mineralogy classes at Southern Utah University during a joint class field study and subsequent laboratory analyses. During the field trip, the main focuses were to observe caldera collapse relationships and ignimbrite features and to collect samples at Condor Canyon and English Canyon, two sites near the border between Nevada and Utah within the IPCCC. After the field trip, the Tectonics class completed a detailed literature review of the overall tectonic evolution of the region while the Mineralogy students petrographically analyzed the collected samples. This report provides a summary of the results, including mineralogical descriptions; an interpretation of a piece-meal, or piston-like, collapse of the caldera complex; and a connection between the local geology and the regional tectonic setting.

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Using Student-Led Field Trips to Create Active Learning Environments and Validate Student Interpretations

GSA Abstracts with Programs


The Pastos Grandes Caldera Complex of SW Bolivia: The building of a composite upper crustal batholith

American Geophysical Union

2011 The Pastos Grandes Caldera Complex in SW Bolivia is one of the longest-lived in the Altiplano Puna Volcanic Complex (APVC) of SW Bolivia. This nested caldera complex has erupted over 2500 km3 of ignimbrite from at least two caldera-forming supereruptions and an ignimbrite shield depositing the 5.45±0.02 Ma Chuhuilla, the 5.22±0.02 Ma Alota, and the 2.89 ± 0.01 Ma Pastos Grandes Ignimbrites. Late stage lava domes of the Chascon Runtu-Jarita complex in the southwest of the caldera represent the most recent volcanic activity (~85 ka). Each eruption represents a discrete pulse of magma injected into the shallow crust beneath the complex mapping out the incremental construction of a large upper crustal batholith.

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Courses (11)

GEO 1030 Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Natural Hazards

A general education course for non-science majors. The basic principles of geology are introduced here by examining geologic hazards including earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides.

GEO 1050/55 Geology of National Parks

A General Education course for both non-science and science majors, geared to the needs of elementary and secondary teachers. Course includes descriptions and explanations of the unique geology of America’s western national parks with an emphasis on landscape interpretation and process understanding. Includes detailed information on Utah’s parks.

GEO 1110/15 Physical Geology

An introduction to earth systems (external and internal) and materials and first course for geology majors. The interrelated nature of these systems is an integral part of the curriculum.

GEO 2000/4000 Selected Field Trips

Selected field trips of one to ten days to areas of geologic interest.

GEO 2990/3990 Undergraduate Research

Independent research with a professor.

GEO 3210/15 Mineralogy

An introductory course in mineralogy emphasizing morphological crystallography, physics, and chemistry of minerals.

GEO 3330/35 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

An introductory course in the petrology and petrography of igneous and metamorphic rocks emphasizing the observation and interpretation of rock texture, mineralogy, and chemical composition.

GEO 4070 Applied Geochemistry

This course will acquaint the student with geochemical principles such as origin and abundance of the elements; distribution and migration of those elements; geochemical cycles and prospecting; sampling techniques and evaluation; thermodynamics; crystal chemistry; and isotope geology.

GEO 4800 Senior Project

Direct research.

GEO 4960 Field Geology

A five-week intensive course in geologic mapping and field investigation.

HONR 1040 Honors Foundations

Students will be introduced to and explore the fundamental skill-sets required to succeed as students at Southern Utah University and in the SUU Honors Program by developing an understanding of the complete student experience at college and the interdisciplinary nature of an Honors education. The class will emphasize seminar-style discussions and teamwork, develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, and explore issues related to holistic student heath and well being.