Kim A. Cone
Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistant


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


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 of the WSS Teaching Collective


Academic Contributions and Publications

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

Cone, K.A., Wendlandt, R.F., Pfaff, K., Orlandini, O. Evidence of textural- and methods-based bias in extracting crystal size distributions. American Mineralogist.

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.

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. 

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


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 imaging for refining plagioclase crystal size distributions (CSDs) to constrain crystallization histories of basaltic lavas from the 1783-1784 Laki fissure eruptions, Iceland (both MS manuscripts in revision). I employ aspects of large-scale volcanism as tools for understanding the evolution of terrestrial analogues.

I am currently preparing a manuscript which introduces a simplified database of Apollo mare and basaltic lunar meteorite major element oxides, mineral modes, ages and textures. A second version of the database will include trace element and glass data, bulk silicate compositions, and seismic profiles. The goal is to provide a self-contained database that permits easy 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 basalt patterns.

Although my PhD research focuses on the igneous/petrological aspect of planetary/lunar geology, I remain fascinated by carbonates and carbonate diagenesis in general: the formation of the Dolomite mountains,  whiting blooms in both tropical marine and cold freshwater bodies (the Great Lakes), microbially induced precipitation of dolomite nuclei, and carbonate crystallite morphology in fecal deposits of tropical fish species.


— Spring 2020 research is scheduled at Oxford University for piston-cylinder experiments to examine the behavior and effects  of titanium crystallization in the cumulate mantle overturn event.

— I am currently using Matlab to explore statistical 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.