Bud Wobus

Photo of Bud Wobus

Edna McConnell Clark Professor of Geology, Emeritus

Areas of Expertise

As a long-time proponent of the value of research as the signature element of an undergraduate science education, I was a founding member of the Geology Council of the Council on Undergraduate Research in 1988. I was also co-editor (with Stan Mertzman at F&M) of CUR’s first Directory of Research in Geology at Undergraduate Institutions (1989). To facilitate collaborative field-based research opportunities among students and staff in small geology departments at liberal arts colleges, I helped to establish (with Mel Kuntz and Gerry Brophy at Amherst) the “WAMSIP-Geology” Consortium (Williams-Amherst-Mt. Holyoke-Smith Interinstitutional Project in Geology) with NSF support in the early 70′s. This program was funded for 3 years, with most summer field work taking place in Colorado and along the Atlantic seaboard.

Taking this successful idea one giant step forward in the mid-1980′s and based on my idea for a larger consortium, Bill Fox and I submitted the proposal that established the Keck Geology Consortium (now 17 colleges coast-to-coast) which has supported undergraduate research and innovations in geoscience education for nearly three decades.  Nearly 100 Williams geology majors, most of our staff, and over 1400 students nationwide have participated in the research projects and symposia of the Keck consortium to date. Until 2017 I was the Williams representative to the Keck Consortium governing board and was on the executive committee for 3 years. With considerable help from Pat Acosta, Paul Karabinos, and David Dethier, I also organized the consortium’s annual research symposium on the Williams campus in April, 1996.

As a member of the summer staff at the Colorado Outdoor Education Center near Florissant, CO, for more than 40 years, I have directed many geology/natural history field weeks for Williams alumni based at The Nature Place Conference Center of COEC. In fact, our initial “Alumni College in the Rockies” in 1981 was the first off-campus travel-study experience offered by the Alumni Office that inaugurated the robust Alumni Travel program at Williams. More than 450 have attended the 25 iterations of the Colorado program since then. Other alumni have joined me on 18 trips to Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, Hawaii, the Galapagos, Central America and several of the national parks of the American West and Canadian Rockies. These have been learning experiences for all, and especially for me, as I study and prepare guidebooks for places I had not previously visited and immediately incorporate the results and images of those travels in my courses.


Research Interests and Expertise

Proterozoic Crystalline Rocks of the Southern Rocky Mountains (CO and NM): USGS 18 years, Keck Geology Consortium 4 years


Tertiary Volcanic rocks of central Colorado, Thirtynine Mile volcanic field, Wall Mountain tuff: USGS and independent work 8 years; Keck Geology Consortium 3 years


Bimodal metavolcanic rocks:

Early Proterozoic of CO and NM: USGS 4 years, Keck Consortium 3 years

Silurian of coastal Maine: Keck consortium 4 years


“The Big Flat”: Colorado’s subalpine erosion surface and its surficial deposits: in progress since 2017.

Scholarship/Creative Work

  • (2009) The Outcomes of the life of a Geologist: The Autobiography of T. Nelson Dale (edited by R.A. Wobus): V.61, Transactions, Conn. Acad. Arts and Sciences, 175 p.
  • (2009) Twenty-two years of undergraduate research in the Geosciences. The Keck Experience: Geol. Soc. America Special Paper 461, p. 163-172 (with Andrew deWet, Fard M. Coll., Cathy Mandura, Carleton Coll., and Lori Bettison-Vaya, Scripps Coll.)
  • (2006) Silurian metavolcanic rocks of Vinalhaven Island, Penobscot Bay, Maine: Arc to back-arc transition?: Northeastern Geology & Environmental Sciences, v. 28, p. 342-357 (with Jen Newton ’00, Erik Klemetti ’99, Nate Cardoos ’02, and David Hawkins at Denison Univ.)
  • (2001; reprinted 2006 and 2008) Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks in the Florissant region, central Colorado: Their topographc influence, past and present: Pikes
    Peak Research Station
    , Bulletin No. 5, 9 p.
  • (2001) Paleoproterozoic metavolcanic rocks in the southern Front Range, lower
    Arkansas River Canyon, and northern Wet Mountains, central Colorado: Rocky
    Mountain Geology
    , v. 36, no. 2, p. 111-131. (with M. J. Folley, Williams ’97, K.W. Wearn, Williams ’98, and J.B. Noblett, Colorado College)
  • (1999) Petrology and geochemistry of late-stage intrusions of the A-type,
    mid-Proterozoic Pikes Peak batholith, Colorado: implications for petrogenetic
    models: Precambrian Research, v. 98, p. 271-305. (by Diane Smith, Trinity Univ.; Jeff Noblett, Colorado College; R. A. Wobus, Dan Unruh (USGS), and 8 student co-authors including Rachel Beane (Williams ’93).
  • (1995) Volcanic expression of bimodal volcanism: The Cranberry Island-Cadillac
    Mountain complex, coastal Maine: Journal of Geology, v. 103,
    p. 301-311. (with Sheila Seaman, Univ. of Mass.; Bob Wiebe, F&M College; Naomi
    Lubick-then a student at Carleton; and Sam Bowring, MIT)
  • (1990) Geochemistry of high-potassium rocks from the mid-Tertiary Guffey
    volcanic center, Thirtynine Mile Volcanic Field, Colorado: Geology, v. 18, p. 642-645. (with Stan Mertzman, F&M; Bruce Loeffler, Colorado College, and 9 student co-authors)
  • (1988) Interinstitutional collaboration in undergraduate geological research-the consortium approach: Newsletter, Council on Undergraduate Reseach, v. 9, p. 32-35.
  • (1985) Changes in the nomenclature and stratigraphic interpretation of Proterozoic metamorphic rocks, Tusas Mountains, north-central New MexicoL USGS Bulletin 1571, 19 p.
  • (1981) Geologic map of the Denver 1° x 2° quadrangle, Colorado: USGS Map I-1163. (with Bruce Bryant and Laura McGrew of the USGS)
  • (1978) Petrology of the Precambrian intrusive center at Lake George, Southern Front Range, Colorado: USGS Journal of Research, v. 6, p. 81-94. (with Bob Anderson, Williams Class of 1974)
  • (1977) General geology and petrology of Precambrian crystalline rocks of the southern Tarryall region, Park and Jefferson Counties, Colorado: USGS Professional Paper 608-B, 77 p. (with Chuck Hawley of the USGS)

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

2016 – Neil Miner Award, National Association of Geoscience Teachers

About Me

I am primarily an igneous petrologist with a strong regional slant toward the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, a petrologic preference toward granites and felsic volcanics, and a temporal affinity for the Proterozoic. My 55 summers of field experience –18 of them as a part-time (WAE) member of the USGS and most of them with students from Williams and other colleges–have focused on unravelling the history of the oldest rocks of the Southern Rockies. I was fortunate enough to be part of the regional mapping teams assembled by the Survey to study the Pueblo and Denver “2-degree” quadrangles in preparation for the state geological map of Colorado published in 1987. This opportunity, along with subsequent work on the Precambrian rocks in the Aztec and Raton 2-degree quadrangles in New Mexico, gave me an overview of thousands of square miles of Proterozoic crystalline rocks, from which my students and I continue to extract more specific topical problems for further study. Some of these include the petrology of alkaline plutons associated with the Pikes Peak batholith; the geochemistry and tectonic setting of bimodal metavolcanic rocks of the Colorado Province; and the chronology and tectonic settin of pluton emplacement during the Proterozoic. Sojourns away from the basement rocks have included a three-year petrologic and geochemical study of parts of the mid-Tertiary Thirtynine Mile Volcanics Field of central Colorado and a five-year study of Lower Paleozoic metavolcanic rocks in the Coastal Maine Magmatic Province. (The latter two projects were undertaken in conjunction with students and faculty from member schools of the national Keck Geology Consortium).

Honors students

* = Keck Geology Consortium research project
x = independent study project

  • Christian Lockwoodx
  • 2019 Erikka Olson; Caroline Hung (co-advisor)
  • 2017 Matt Marcarelli
  • 2015 Nell Davis*
  • 2014  Eloise Andry
  • 2013  Johnny Ray Hinojosa*; Miranda Bona (co-advisor)
  • 2012 Katie Kumamoto*
  • 2011 Caleb Lucy*
  • 2010 Ali Goldberg*
  • 2009 Henry (Ted) Kernan*
  • 2008 Katie Stack*
  • 2007 Sam Tuttle*
  • 2006 Emily Fertig*
  • 2004 Katie Ackerly*, Paige McClanahan*
  • 2003 Karl Remsen
  • 2002 Nathan Cardoos*
  • 2000 Rebecca Atkinson*
  • 2000 Jen Newton*
  • 1999 Erik Klemetti*
  • 1998 Kate Wearn*
  • 1997: Martha Folley*
  • 1996: Myra Hill*
  • 1996: Rebecca Thomas*
  • 1995: John Phipps*
  • 1995: Pete Taylor*
  • 1994: Michelle Coombs*
  • 1994: Mike Seckler*
  • 1993: Rachel Beane*
  • 1993: Lindley Hall*
  • 1992: Andrew Tittler*
  • 1991: George Booth*
  • 1989: Karin Johnson*
  • 1988: Dave Mochel*
  • 1987: Sara Finnemore
  • 1985: Chris Goss
  • 1982: Eban Goodsteinx
  • 1981: Pat Dobsonx
  • 1980: John Welty; Cathy (Allen) Manducax
  • 1978: Dirk Hovorka
  • 1976: Brock Riedell
  • 1975: Mike Wilson
  • 1974: Bob Anderson
  • 1970: Bob Irwin
  • 1969: Henry Flint