Arizona Geological Society

J. Harold Courtright Scholarship

Harold Courtright had a life-long interest and career in mining and geology in the Cordillera of North and South America. His field mapping skills and exploration expertise led to the discovery of well-known porphyry copper deposits in Arizona and Peru. The scholarship fund, set up after his death in 1986, is designed to promote graduate research in the Cordillera and, while the Society may support exciting studies in any geologic discipline, we do place special emphasis on field geology, economic geology, and the study of ore deposits.

For more details about this scholarship visit our Student Outreach Page.

Benjamin Scott Amundsen

2023 Courtright Scholarship Recipient

Ben earned his B.S. of Geology at Southern Utah University in the spring of 2023. During his time as an undergraduate, he was an intern and eventually hired as a full-time exploration geologist at Tintic Consolidated Metals, based out of Eureka, Utah. While working at the mine, Ben's primary role as a core logging geologist gave him a broad experience into the field of exploration geology. Also during this time, he gained valuable experience in underground sampling along the thin vein target. He is currently a Master's student at the School of Earth and Sustainability of Northern Arizona University.  

Ben's thesis revolves around the Platoro caldera of the San Juan Volcanic Complex. Platoro is the southernmost cluster within the San Juans, and hosts three distinct volcanic phases, including the pre-caldera composite cones and the voluminous intermediate lavas, major caldera-forming ignimbrites, and finally resurgent domes, post-collapse lavas, and associated intrusions. The eruptive stratigraphy of many units within Platoro are poorly constrained, and this is especially true for the Conejos Lavas, which make up a majority of the pre caldera deposits within the Platoro Caldera. The Conejos represent ~5 Myr of pre-caldera volcanism within the region and, critically, likely represent a parent composition to the subsequent ignimbrites and porphyry deposits in the area. Because of this, Ben's thesis will focus primarily on understanding the eruptive stratigraphy and petrogenesis of the parental Conejos, and perhaps provide some insight into the mineralization associated with the regional volcanism. 

Furthermore, comparisons of the data collected from the Conejos with later lavas, ignimbrites, and mineralized intrusions within the Platoro Caldera will allow insights into spatiotemporal evolution of the Platoro magma system and crustal development. 

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