Professor of Structural GeologyDr. David Lageson

Contact Information

Office:   Traphagen Hall, 108-108A
Phone:   (406) 994-6913

Office Hours Fall 2018:

Wednesdays 11:00-12:00pm


B.A., Geology - Western State College of Colorado, 1973
M.S., Geology - University of Wyoming, 1977
Ph.D., Geology - University of Wyoming, 1980

Professional Affiliations

Senior Fellow, Geological Society of America (GSA)

Fellow, Geological Society of London (GSL)

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Research Interests

  • Structural geology and tectonic evolution of mountain belts (fold-and-thrust belts), including structural controls on pluton emplacement in contractional/compressional tectonic settings
  • Structural geology of the Mount Everest region, Khumbu Himalaya; tectonics of the Higher Himalaya
  • Active tectonics and the geology of earthquakes (U.S. Northern Intermountain Seismic Belt [Montana/Idaho] and the Himalaya)

Over the years, my research program has focused on various aspects of the structural geology and tectonic evolution of the Northern Rocky Mountains, focusing on the Sevier fold-and-thrust belt and Laramide provinces, as well as active tectonics of the Northern Intermountain Seismic Belt (Montana-Idaho). Current work in the Khumbu District of the Greater Himalaya focuses on the deformation/metamorphism of summit rocks on Mount Everest (with Travis Corthouts and others); structural geology of the Everest-Lhotse-Nuptse massif; structural discontinuities within the core of the Greater Himalayan slab; and geologic hazards associated with earthquakes and climate change.

Darwin in WyomingDarwinEverestMan's Best FriendHowling with JoyAma DablamEverest MassifMicrobial MoundsWhite YakGreenland FieldworkMiocene leucogranite laccolithTibetan Snow CockDr. Eric BoydCamp IIDarwin Doing Field Work In The Greater HimalayaRoof of the WorldSummit of NuptseUpper Khumbu IcefallBridger Range Field TripReykjavik, IcelandIcebergs on the shore of southern Iceland, 2018Southern IcelandSoft colors of ice, water and light (Iceland)Southern IcelandSouthern IcelandSouthern Iceland

Click on an image to view as a slideshow.

I am accepting new graduate students in 2019.  I will be looking for a strong background in structural geology at the undergraduate level, evidence of field-based training and mapping experience, and a STRONG desire to pursue a field-based research project in graduate school. 

Current Graduate Students

Tristan DeBell (M.S. candidate)

Kelly Helmer (M.S. candidate)

Xiangmei Li (M.S. candidate)  

Publications and abstracts selected to show collaborative research topics over recent years (not a complete list):

Hubbard, Mary, Lageson, David R., and Bhattarai, Roshan Raj, 2017, Reactivated normal-sense shear zones in the core of the Greater Himalayan Sequence, Solukhumbu District, Nepal: Nepal Geological Society (in press).

Lindsay, M.R., Anderson, C., Fox, N., Scofield G., Allen, J., Anderson, E., Bueter, L., Poudel1, S., Sutherland, K., Munson-McGee, J.H., Van Nostrand, J.D., Zhou, J., Spear, J.R., Baxter, B.K., Lageson, D.R., and Boyd, E.S., 2016, Microbialite response to an anthropogenic salinity gradient in Great Salt Lake, Utah: Geobiology, DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12201.

Nemkin, Samantha, R., Lageson, David, van der Pluijm, Ben, and Van der Voo, Rob, 2016, Remagnetization and folding in the frontal Montana Rocky Mountains: Lithosphere, doi:10.1130/L579.1, Vol. 8, No. 6, p. 716-728. (Themed issue: Tectonics at the Micro- to Macroscale: Contributions in Honor of the University of Michigan Structure-Tectonics Research Group of Ben van der Pluijm and Rob Van der Voo)

Thacker, Jacob O., Lageson, David R., and Mogk, David W., 2016, Subsurface structural and mineralogical characterization of the Laramide South Prairie fault in the Stillwater Complex, Beartooth Mountains, Montana: Lithosphere, doi:10.1130/L562.1 (Themed issue: Tectonics at the Micro- to Macroscale: Contributions in Honor of the University of Michigan Structure-Tectonics Research Group of Ben van der Pluijm and Rob Van der Voo)

Corthouts, T.L., Lageson, D.R., and Shaw, C.A., 2016, Polyphase deformation, dynamic metamorphism and metasomatism of Mount Everest’s summit limestone, east central Himalaya, Nepal/Tibet: Lithosphere, Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 38-57.

Hubbard, Mary, and Lageson, David, 2016, Structural discontinuities in the Solukhumbu Himalaya: partitioning of deformation and metamorphism within the Greater Himalayan sequence: 31st Himalayan-Karakoram-Tibet (HKT) Workshop, Aussois, France (9-12 May, 2016).

Lageson, David R., Fort, Monique, Bhattarai, Roshan Raj, and Hubbard, Mary, 2016, Damage from the April-May 2015 Gorkha earthquake sequence in the Solukhumbu district (Everest region), Nepal: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 48, No. 7, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-282306.

Anderson, Colter, Bowen, Lageson, Dave, Bowen, Dave, Mogk, David, and Mueller, Paul A., 2016, Stratigraphic framework and provenance of the lower Belt Supergroup (Newland Formation), Helena embayment, central Montana: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 48, No. 7, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-282097.

Fox, Nicholas R., Mogk, David W., Bowen, David W., Lageson, David R., and Mueller, Paul A., 2016, The Mesoproterozoic Lahood Formation: Provenance and tectonic environment of deposition: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 48, No. 7, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-283015.

Lynn Paris, Helen, and Lageson, David, 2016, Fracture analysis of the Stewart Peak culmination in the fold and thrust belt of western Wyoming: Implications for structurally controlled fluid migration: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 48, No. 6, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016RM-276193.

Moore-Nall, Anita, and Lageson, David R., 2016, Uranium-Vanadium mineralization in Mississippian aged paleokarst, northern Bighorn Basin, Montana and Wyoming, indicates a hydrothermal Permian Phosphoria source of metals including REE and TL: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 48, No. 7, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016AM-287959.

Boyd, Donald W., and Lageson, David R., 2014, Self-guided walking tour of the Paleoproterozoic stromatolites in the Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming: Wyoming State Geological Survey, Public Information Circular No. 45, 24 p. (plus related web site:


Lageson, David R., 2013, The Birth of Everest, in, The Call of Everest: The History, Science, and Future of the World’s Tallest Peak: National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., p. 28-55.

Lageson, D.R., Treadway, W., Larsen, M., and Lynn, H., 2012, Applications of Google Earth Pro© to fracture and fault studies of Laramide anticlines in the Rocky Mountain foreland: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 492 (Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research), p. 209-220. 

Corthouts, T.L., Lageson, D.R., and Shaw, C.A., 2015, Polyphase deformation, dynamic metamorphism, and metasomatism of Mount Everest's summit limestone, east central Himalaya, Nepal/Tibet: Lithosphere, published online on 16 November 2015 as doi:10.1130/L473.1.

Lageson, D.R., and Lynn, H.B., 2010, Characterization of CO2 reservoirs in the Absaroka thrust sheet, Idaho-Wyoming fold-and-thrust belt: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 42, no. 5, p. 608

Larsen, Martin, and Lageson, D.R., 2010, Digital geologic and structure mapping of the Hebgen Dam and Mount Hebgen 7.5-minute quadrangles, SW Montana, using global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) applications: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 42, no. 5.

Lynn, Helen, and Lageson, D.R., 2010, Structural controls on subsurface fluid migration through thrust sheets of the Stewart Peak culmination, northern Salt River Range, Wyoming: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 42, no. 5.

Moore-Nall, Anita, and Lageson, D.R., 2010, Hydrothermal influences for U-V mineralization in the Madison Limestone and adjacent units, Pryor Mountains, Montana-Wyoming and a possible link to elevated Pb and Hg in the Big Horn River in Montana: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 42, no. 5.

Wong, I., Olig, S., Dober, M., Wright, D., Nemser, E., Lageson, D., Silva, W., Stickney, M., Lemieux, M., and Anderson, L., 2005, Probabilistic earthquake hazard maps for the State of Montana: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Special Publication 117, 72 p., 28 plates.

O'Neill, J. Michael, Lonn, Jeff D., Lageson, David R., Kunk, Michael J., 2004, Early Tertiary Anaconda metamorphic core complex, southwestern Montana: Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, vol. 41, issue 1, p.63, 10p.

Stickney, M.C., and Lageson, D.R., 2002, Seismotectonics of the 20 August 1999 Red Rock Valley, Montana earthquake: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 92, p. 2449-2464.

Lageson, D.R., Schmitt, J.G., Horton, B.K., Kalakay, T.J., and Burton, B.R., 2001, Influence of Late Cretaceous magmatism on the Sevier orogenic wedge, western Montana: Geology, v. 29, no. 8, p. 723-726.

Kalakay, T.J., John, B.E., and Lageson, D.R., 2001, Fault-controlled pluton emplacement in the Sevier fold-and-thrust belt of southwest Montana, USA: Journal of Structural Geology, vol. 23 (6-7), p. 1151-1165.

Lageson, David R., and Stickney, Michael C., 2000, Seismotectonics of northwest Montana, USA, in Schalla, R.A., and Johnson, E.H., eds., Montana/Alberta thrust belt and adjacent foreland: Montana Geological Society, 50th Anniversary Symposium, vol. 1, p. 109-126.

Lageson, D.R., Adams, D.C., Morgan, L., Pierce, K.L., and Smith, R.B., 1999, Neogene-Quaternary tectonics and volcanism of southern Jackson Hole, Wyoming and southeastern Idaho, in Hughes, S.S., and Thackray, G.D., eds., Guidebook to the geology of eastern Idaho: Idaho Museum of Natural History and the ISU Press, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, p. 115-130.

Skipp, B., Lageson, D.R., and McMannis, W.J., 1999, Geologic map of the Sedan quadrangle, Gallatin and Park Counties, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Quadrangle Map, I-2634, 1:48,000 [with tectonic history].

Burton, B.R., Lageson, D.R., Schmidt, C.J., Ballard, D.W., and Warne, J.R., 1998, Large magnitude shortening of the Lombard thrust system, Helena salient, Montana fold and thrust belt: Implications for reconstruction of the Belt Basin, in Berg, Richard B., ed., Belt Symposium III: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Special Publication 112, p. 229-243 and Plate 3.