A  figure created in Matlab for exploring random cut sections through plagioclase microlites. Groundmass microlite terminations sometimes take on swallowtail forms, complicating numerical modelling of aspect ratios.

Kim A. Cone
Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistant

Geology and Geological Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO, 80401, USA

email: kcone@mines.edu
cell: +1 703 855 1502
google: +1 607 288 2913


Ph.D. Geology, in progress
Colorado School of Mines
Graduate Student Lecturer for GEOL 410: Planetary Geology

M.S. Geology, Magna Cum Laude
Colorado School of Mines, 2018

A.S. Mathematics, Summa Cum Laude
Northern Virginia Community College, 2012

B.S. Geology, Summa Cum Laude, Honors in Geology
George Mason University, 2010
Earth Science Adjunct faculty member

B.A. Psychology, minor in Women’s Studies
State University of New York at Albany, 1998
Member and Facilitator in the WSS Teaching Collective


Academic Contributions and Publications

Cone, K.A., Palin, R.M., Singha, K., 2019, Unsupervised Machine Learning with petrological database ApolloBasaltDB reveals complexity in lunar basalt major element oxide and mineral distribution patterns. Icarus.

Hernández-Uribe, D., Palin, R.M., Cone, K.A., Cao, W., 2020, Petrological implications of seafloor hydrothermal alteration on subducted mid-ocean ridge basalt. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

In Press
Cone, K.A., Wendlandt, R.F., Pfaff, K., Orlandini, O., 2019, Texture constraints on crystal size distributions: An application to the Laki fissure eruption. American Mineralogist.
(Link to in press version:  http://www.minsocam.org/msa/Ammin/AM_Preprints/7007ConePreprint.pdf)

Hernández-Uribe, D., Hernández-Montenegro, J., Cone, K.A., Palin, R.M., 2020, Oceanic slab-top melting during subduction: Implications for trace-element recycling and adakite petrogenesis: Geology, 48, p., https://doi.org/10.1130/G46835.1 

Conference abstracts
Cone, K.A., Krekeler, M.P.S., Diecchio, R.J., Kearns, L.E. Investigation of phosphatic sediment diagenesis of the Reedsville Formation, W. Virginia. Geological Society of America, 2006.

Cone, K.A., Palin, R.M. Construction of a petrological database for lunar mare basalts. 7th Annual Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium, 2019.

Cone, K.A., Palin, R.M., Singha, K. Lunar Mantle Heterogeneity and the Apollo Mare Basalts: Examples from ApolloBasaltDB. Geological Society of America, Phoenix, U.S.A., 2019. Presentation.

Cone, K.A., Wendlandt, R.F., Pfaff, K., Orlandini, O. Textural Constraints and Imaging Techniques: Bias in Extracting Crystal Size Distributions. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Phoenix, U.S.A., 2019. Presentation.

Cone, K.A., Diecchio, R.J. Geological Development of North America. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Phoenix, U.S.A., 2019. Poster session.


My Ph.D. research focuses on the geochemical and petrophysical evolution of the lunar mantle through mare basalts, using a combination of high P-T experiments, thermodynamic modelling, and statistical approaches. My Master’s research focused on the use of SEM-based imaging for refining plagioclase crystal size distributions (CSDs) to constrain crystallization histories of basaltic lavas from the 1783-1784 Laki fissure eruptions, Iceland. 

I currently maintain a simplified, freely available database of Apollo mare and basaltic lunar meteorite major element oxides, mineral modes, ages and textures (ApolloBasaltDB). A second version of the database will include trace element and glass data, bulk silicate compositions, remote sensing maps, and seismic profiles. The goal is to provide a self-contained database that permits straightforward manipulation of reported mare basalt characteristics in order to investigate stable phase assemblages, global geochemical and petrological patterns, and how age and texture (and other characteristics, such as spatial factors) are tied to global volcanism.

Although my Ph.D. research focuses on igneous systems and volcanology, the rest of my time is currently taken up by guitars and home projects (typically woodworking). Side interests include (and are absolutely not limited to) behavioral economics, linguistics, and acoustic guitars. Future endeavors include piloting and skateboarding. I’m also a Francophile and love the cadence of the French language!


— Spring 2020 research is scheduled at Oxford University for piston-cylinder experiments to examine the behavior and effects of titanium partitioning in the cumulate mantle overturn event. Phase equilibrium modeling will establish theoretical stable phase assemblage boundaries.

— I am currently using Matlab to explore mnumerical modeling of best-fit aspect ratios for anhedral plagioclase  microlites  in order to refine crystal size distributions (CSDs) in basaltic lavas. Aspect ratios are known to reflect growth rates and associated magmatic environments.

— The examination of global surface patterns of mare basalt characteristics and how they are tied to temporal and spatial aspects of eruptive patterns with respect to major rifting events in the Procellarum KREEP Terrane region. I use unsupervised learning approaches as a basis for re-evaluating  standard assumptions about lunar petrological groupings.