Thomas J. Kalakay

Associate Professor of Geology
B.Sc. Montana State University - Bozeman
M.Sc., Ph.D. University of Wyoming
Bair Science Center 103


As a native of the northern Rockies, I grew up with an innate interest in the mountains and landscapes that surrounded me. I spent much of my youth and early adult years exploring mountainous regions of the western U.S. by climbing, skiing and long distance trail running.

As a late-comer to college, I was immediately drawn to the field of geology and from my first class I have never looked back. I completed a PhD at the University of Wyoming in 2001. Since then I have held teaching positions at Montana State University-Bozeman and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In Spring 2004, I left Vanderbilt University and anxiously returned to my roots in the Rocky Mountains. I have been teaching at Rocky since Fall of 2004.

My general research interests center on the thermal evolution and physical construction of continental crust. This research emphasizes the role of magmatism during structural growth and eventual collapse of mountain belts. My students most often use field mapping as a framework for their studies. However, they also develop skills in igneous and metamorphic petrology, thermochronology, and reflection seismology.

Courses Taught

Natural Hazards/Disasters
Introductory Geology
Structural Geology
Mineralogy (Earth Materials I)
Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (Earth Materials II)
Geologic Field Methods
Field Geology 

What advice do you have for prospective students?

If you want to major in Geology at RMC, expect to work hard but be surrounded by faculty who love what they are doing.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

Introductory Geology, because I love introducing students to the fact that Geologists and Geology are not boring subjects.

What is on your IPod?

Don't use one.  I am tuned into the natural world.

What are you currently reading?

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

What do you do outside of class?

Trail run, climb mountains, rock climb, ski (Nordic and ACT) and look at rocks!

What is your favorite thing about RMC?

The people I work with and the students I get to know.

Selected Publications

Foster, D.A., Doughty, P. T., Kalakay, T.J., Fanning, C.M., Coyner S., and Vogl, J.; 2005, Kinematics and Timing of Exhumation of Metamorphic Core Complexes Along the Lewis and Clark Strike-Slip Fault Zone, Northern Rocky Mountains, USA, Geological Society of America Special Publication, in Press.

Snoke, A.W., Kalakay, T.J., 2005, A Structural Transect across the Ivrea-Verbano zone near Varallo Sesia, Northern Italy. Cordilleran Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America, San Jose, California.

Foster, D.A., P.A. Mueller, J. Vogl, D. Mogk, T. Kalakay, J. Wooden, and A. Heatheringtong, 2004, Basement influence on Phanerozoic tectono-magmatic evolution of the northern Rocky Mountains region, USA: International Basement Tectonics Association Conference, Oak Ridge, June 27-July1, Abstracts with Programs, p. 15.

Kalakay, Thomas J., Foster, D., Schmitt, J.G., 2003, Timing and kinematics of faulting and folding in the Ermont thrust system, southwest Montana: Implications for coupled strain and sedimentation rates in a retro-arc fold and thrust. Submitted to Geological Society of America Bulletin.

Quick, J.E., Sinigoi, S., Snoke, A.W., Kalakay, T.J., and Mayer, A., 2003, Geologic map of the southern Ivrea-Verbano zone, northwest Italy, USGS Miscellaneous Investigations, in press.

Kalakay, Thomas J., Foster, David A., Thomas, Robert C., 2003, Geometry and timing of deformation in the Anaconda extensional terrane, west-central Montana In: Link, P. E., (Ed.), Proceedings of Belt Symposium IV, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Special Publication.

Lonn, J.D., McDonald, C., Lewis, R.S., Kalakay, T.J., O'Neill, J.M., Berg, R.B., and Hargrave, P., 2003, Geologic Map of the Philipsburg 30' x 60' Quadrangle, Western Montana, 28 p. , 1 map.

Murphy, Julia G., Foster, D.A., Kalakay, T.J., John, B.E., Hamilton, M., 2002, U-Pb Zircon Geochronology of the Eastern Pioneer Igneous Complex, SW Montana: Magmatism in the Foreland of the Cordilleran Fold and Thrust Belt, Northwest Geology, v. 31, p. 1-12.

Kalakay, Thomas J., John, B.E., and Lageson, D.R., 2001, Fault-controlled pluton emplacement in the Sevier fold-and-thrust belt, SW Montana, Journal of Structural Geology, 23, 1151-1165.

Fault Controlled Pluton Emplacement (PDF)

Lageson, D.R., Schmitt, J.G., Kalakay, T.J., Horton, B.K., Burton, B.R., and 2001, Influence of late Cretaceous magmatism on the Sevier orogenic wedge, western Montana, Geology, v. 29, 723-726.

Kalakay, T.J., John, B.E., and Foster, D., 2000, Dynamics of syn-compressional magmatism in Sevier fold-and-thrust belt of southwest Montana, Guidebook to the 2000 GSA Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Missoula, Montana, p. 1-40.

Snoke, A.W., and Kalakay, T.J., 1998, Mesoscopic kinematic indicators in a melt-rich shear zone, in Snoke, A.W., Tullis, J., and Todd, V.R., eds. Fault-related rocks: A Photographic Atlas: Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton university Press, p. 442-443.

Snoke, A.W., Kalakay, T.J., Quick, J.E., and Sinigoi, S., 1998, Development of a deep-crustal shear zone in response to syntectonic intrusion of mafic magma into the lower crust, Ivrea-Verbano zone, Italy: Earth and Planetary Science Letters.