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.
Industry Expertise (3)
Precious Metals / Minerals
Mining and Metals
Areas of Expertise (17)
Chemistry of Minerals
Potential Natural Disasters in Southern Utah
Potential Geological Hazards in Southern Utah
Volcano Imaging and Tomography
Geothermal Energy Sources in Southern Utah
Geology of Utah National Parks
Geology of Southern Utah
EDGE Mentor Award
Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year, OSU
University of Missouri-Rolla: B.S., Geology/Earth Science
University of Massachusetts Amherst: M.S., Geology
Oregon State University: Ph. D., Volcanology
- 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.
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
Jason F. Kaiser, Shanaka de Silva, Axel K. Schmitt, Rita Economos, Mayel Sunagua
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.