Mark Person Recieves Distinguished Researcher Award

Natalie Rogers August 31, 2016

Last May, Geothermal Resources team co-lead Dr. Mark Person received the prestigious 2016 Distinguished Researcher Award from New Mexico Tech. The following is from the New Mexico Tech news release. Congratulations on this well-deserved award, Mark!

Each year, Tech recognizes outstanding research and teaching by a faculty or staff member of the Institute. Dr. Mark Person of the Hydrology Program is the winner of the 2016 Distinguished Researcher Award. Dr. Kevin Kirk of the Biology Department is the winner of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award. Both awards include a framed certificate and $1,500. The recipient of the Distinguished Research Award is chosen by a committee of Tech faculty and researchers from a list of people from the entire Tech campus nominated by their colleagues.

Prof. Mark Person of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science was nominated by six distinguished North American scientists representing two generations and several scientific disciplines drawn from government and academia.

Dr. Person has a long history with New Mexico Tech. He completed his master’s at Tech in the 1980s, then returned for a sabbatical leave from the University of Minnesota in the late 1990s. He joined the Tech faculty in 2009. He recently became the director of Tech’s internationally recognized Hydrology Program.

Dr. Person works mostly at the intersection of hydrology and geology, examining the effect of geological processes on hydrology, and vice versa. His primary tool is computer simulation supported by observations in the field.

With this approach he has examined and explained the origin of petroleum reservoirs and ore deposits, the co-evolution of tectonics and groundwater flow, carbon sequestration, and induced seismicity. For example, Dr. Person made significant strides studying new carbon sequestration technology to help moderate climate change by storing CO2 underground. Regarding induced seismicity he conducted new research on small earthquakes caused by the injection of fluids associated with petroleum production, carbon sequestration and waste disposal.

Dr. Person also examined the relationship between groundwater and advancing glacial ice during the last ice age, where the weight of the ice controls groundwater flow. His work has led to new understanding of groundwater in glaciated regions in the North American interior and explains the origin of large off-shore, submarine freshwater deposits found off the coast of New England and New York. Together with colleagues he then looked for similar data around the planet and discovered that, due to changing sea level, vast offshore freshwater resources are common for certain geologic environments. He presented his finding in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. This has tremendous implications for coastal areas around the globe.

Dr. Person is also known as a prolific gardener. He regularly shares the bounty of his harvest each fall with his students and colleagues in MSEC and across campus.