Colin F Williams, PhD

Colin Williams is Director of the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center. The Center employs ~ 100 people working on geologic mapping, energy and mineral resources, landslide and earthquake hazards, and climate change research. He previously led the Geothermal Resource Studies Project, which assessed the geothermal resources of the US and conducted research on geothermal systems.


Colin's primary research interest is in measuring and modeling the flow of heat and fluids through the Earth's crust and using those measurements to understand hydrothermal processes, earthquakes, and groundwater flow. He joined the USGS after earning a PhD and MPhil in Geological Sciences from Columbia University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a BS in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.

Professional Experience:

  • 2012-present, Center Director, USGS Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center, Menlo Park, CA
  • 2004-2012, Supervisory Research Geophysicist and Geothermal Project Chief, USGS, EQ Science Center, Menlo Park, CA
  • 1989-2004, Research Geophysicist, Heat Flow Studies, USGS Branch of Tectonophysics, Menlo Park, CA


  • M.Phil, PhD., Geophysics, Columbia University, 1989
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of California-Berkeley, 1984
  • B.S., Engineering, Harvey Mudd College, 1983


  • 1985-present, American Geophysical Union
  • 1988-present, Geological Society of America
  • 1991-present, Geothermal Resources Council
  • 1991-present, International Geothermal Association
  • 2000-2012, Seismological Society of America

Non-USGS Partners:

  • NASA
  • Department of Energy