Ginny Peterson

Professor of Geology

Ginny at Giant's Causeway
Buckskin Gulch

The Seymour K. & Esther R. Padnos Hall of Science # 134
One Campus Drive
Allendale, Michigan 49401-9403
Office Telephone: (616)-331-2811
Office Fax: (616)-331-3740
Electronic Mail: [email protected]


B.A. Geology, Grand Valley State University (1980)
M.S. Geology, University of Massachusetts (1984)
Ph.D. Geology, University of Massachusetts (1992)

Professional Experience

Grand Valley State University, Geology Department, Professor (2016 – present)
Grand Valley State University, Geology Department, Department Head (2010 – 2016)
Grand Valley State University, Geology Department, Associate Professor (2004 – 2016)
Grand Valley State University, Geology Department, Assistant Professor (2003–2004)
Western Carolina University, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources Management, Associate Professor (2000–2003)
Western Carolina University, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources Management, Assistant Professor:  (1994-2000)
Petroleum Geophysicist:  Amoco Production Company, New Orleans, LA /London England.  1984 - 1987).
Field Camp instructor - University of North Carolina System-Wide Field Camp (1995, 1999, 2013); YBRA (2006)

Selected Professional Activities

NAGT Traveling Workshops Program - Building Strong Geoscience Departments – Workshop facilitator (2014-present)
Council on Undergraduate Research - Geoscience Councilor (1997-2003; 2014-present)
Associate Editor for the journal, American Mineralogist – 3 year term Fall 2008 – Fall 2011
Geological Society of America Education Committee (2001- 2010)

Baraboo group shot 2017


GEO 111: Exploring the Earth
GEO 175: Research Tools for Geoscientists
GEO 214: Solid Earth Materials and Systems
GEO 311: Structural Geology

GEO 314: Petrography

GEO 411: Global Tectonics

GEO 414: Advanced Petrology
GEO 485: Geology Research and Writing Seminar

GEO 486: Geology Reading Seminar

Research Interests

My research has involved the integration of field and analytical data to study metamorphic and igneous petrogenesis of rocks in zones of high or variable strain, structural analysis of areas with a complex geological history, fabric and textural analysis in metamorphic rocks, and the use of geophysical tools to solve subsurface problems.  I am particularly interested in field-based geologic research linked geochemical and microstructural analysis. 

Recent projects:

Using Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) analysis to determine and evaluate the crystallographic preferred orientation of quartz from the Chunky Gal Mountain Fault in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina

Using Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) analysis to determine and evaluate the crystallographic preferred orientation of olivine from the Buck Creek ultramafic body and other ultramafic bodies in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina

Evaluating the Pressure-Temperature conditions and P-T-t path during deformation of the Chunky Gal Mountain Fault and Buck Creek complex, western North Carolina using thermodynamic modeling programs (mostly Theriak-Domino)

Selected Publications

Peterson, V., Garver, J. I., Semken, S., Williams, W. J.W. (2011). Enhancing participation of two-year college faculty in The Geological Society of America GSA Today 21 (12) 36-38.

Peterson, V.L., Ryan, J.G., and the 1997-1998 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site Program Participants, 2009, Petrogenesis and Structure of the Buck Creek Mafic-Ultramafic Suite, Southern Appalachians: Constraints on Ophiolite Evolution and Emplacement in Collisional Orogens. Geological Society of America Bulletin; v. 121; no. 3/4; p. 615–629; doi: 10.1130/B26302.1

Peterson, V.L., Lord, M.L., and Vandervoort, K.V., 2007, Integrating investigation across the Geology and Physics curricula using the Cullowhee Creek Environmental Field Station: Implementation and Adaptation. in Karukstis, K.K. and Elgren T.E., eds., Developing and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Curriculum: A Compendium of Successful Practices, Council on Undergraduate Research, p. 425-448.

Lang, H.M., Lee, A.J., Peterson, V.L., and Ryan, J.G., 2004, Coexisting clinopyroxene/spinel and amphibole/spinel symplectites in metatroctolites from the Buck Creek ultramafic body, North Carolina Blue Ridge Coexisting Clinopyroxene/Spinel and Amphibole/Spinel Symplectites in Metatroctolites from the Buck Creek Ultramafic Body, North Carolina Blue Ridge, USA. American Mineralogist, v. 89 p. 20-30.

Peterson, V.L., Ryan, J.G., Yurkovich, S.P., Kruse, S., and Burr, J., 2003, A Collaborative Field-Laboratory Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Geosciences, CUR Quarterly, v.24, No 1, p. 13-17.

Lord, M.L., Peterson, V.L., and Vandervoort, K.V., 2003, Integrating Inquiry Across The Geology And Physics Curricula: The Cullowhee Creek Environmental Field Station, Western North Carolina. Journal of Geological Education, v. 51, No 4, p. 415-423.

Berger, S., Cochrane, D., Simons, K, Savov, I., Ryan, J., and Peterson, V., 2001,REE systematics of Appalachian mafic-ultramafic complexes, Southeastern Geology, v. 40, No. 3, p. 201-212.

Zaleski, E., van Breemen, O., and Peterson, V.L., 1999, Geological evolution of the Manitouwadge greenstone belt and Wawa-Quetico subprovince boundary, Superior Province, Ontario, constrained by U-Pb zircon dates of supracrustal and plutonic rocks. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.  v. 36, p. 945-966.

Peterson, V.L. and Zaleski, E., 1999,Structural history of the Manitouwadge greenstone belt and its volcanogenic Cu-Zn massive sulphide deposits, Wawa subprovince, south-central Superior Province. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 36, p. 605-625.

Zaleski, E. and Peterson, V.L., 1996, Rare Earth Element geochemistry of the metamorphosed Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide deposits of the Manitouwadge Mining Camp, Superior Province, Canada: A potential exploration tool? -- A Discussion, Economic Geology, v. 91, p. 469-473.

Zaleski, E. and Peterson, V.L., 1995, Depositional Setting and Deformation of Massive Sulfide Deposits, Iron Formation and Alteration Zones in the Manitouwadge Greenstone Belt, Superior Province, Northwestern Ontario, Economic Geology, v. 90, p. 2244-2261.

Peterson, V.L. and Robinson, P., 1993, Progressive evolution from orogen-perpendicular to orogen-parallel transport in a late-Acadian, upper amphibolite-granulite-facies shear zone, south-central Massachusetts, Tectonics, 12, 550-567.

Recent Conference Presentations

Mennenga, M., Peterson, G., and Rahl, J., 2021, Comparing olivine deformation conditions for North Carolina Blue Ridge dunite deposits using EBSD-based paleopiezometry and slip system analysis. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol 53, No. 6, doi: 10.1130/abs/2021AM-366519

John C. Schumacher, Virginia Peterson, Kurt Hollocher and Jennifer A. Thomson, Session Advocates: Geological Society of America Annual meeting Theme session T126 – Mapping, Minerals, and Metamorphism – Work small, Think big: A tribute to the life of Peter Robinson.  Co-organized and moderated all-day session with talks and posters in honor of my graduate advisor

Peterson, V.L., and Tjapkes, D.J. 2020, Refining the metamorphic conditions and structural significance of the Chunky Gal Mountain Fault, Central Blue Ridge, North Carolina, by integrated evaluation of metamorphic assemblages, structural fabrics and monazite ages. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 52, No. 2 doi: 10.1130/abs/2020SE-345345

Peterson, V., Rahl, J., Pummell, B., 2019, B-type olivine crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) fabrics and textural analysis of cumulate dunites from the Buck Creek complex, North Carolina. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. vol. 51, No. 5, ISSN 0016-7592, doi: 10.1130/abs/2019AM-337453

Ambos, E., Peterson, V., Phillips, L., and Singer, J., 2018, Council on Undergraduate Research Partnerships in the Geosciences. Paper ED51E presented at 2018 AGU Fall Meeting, Washington, D.C., 10-14 Dec (file:///C:/Users/petersvi/Downloads/Ambos%20et%20al%202018%20AGU%20poster%20(1).pdf)

Page last modified January 24, 2023