Dr. Elizabeth Petrie, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth Petrie, PhD
Moncrief Chair in Petroleum Geology
Bachelor of Science in Biology and Earth & Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico; master of science and doctorate in Geology from Utah State University
Office Location: 
Hurst 16D
Natural & Environmental Sciences Department
Academic Program: 
Environmental Science (Minor)
Petroleum Geology

Elizabeth Petrie holds bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Earth & Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico, along with master in science and doctoral degrees in Geology from Utah State University. Her master’s degree research was on carbonate sequence stratigraphy and her doctoral research focused on structural geology and rock mechanics. Elizabeth’s academic background combines with seven years professional experience as a geologist in the oil and gas industry. She worked as a senior geoscientist for ExxonMobil Exploration Company in Houston, Texas, and as chief geologist for Drillsearch Energy Limited in Sydney, Australia.  

Elizabeth’s research interests include petroleum geology, structural geology, tectonics, rock mechanics, basin analysis and field geology. Specifically, Elizabeth studies fracture development and propagation, and the history of fluid flow through permeable, subsurface fractures in and across various sedimentary rock types. Her research combines quantitative observations from outcrop, laboratory experiments, and subsurface data sets to understand the formation and distribution of subsurface fractures. 

Elizabeth has relocated to Gunnison with her husband, two daughters, dog and several freshwater fish. Her family has recently added backyard chickens to the mix.

“Relocating to Gunnison with my family along with joining the geology faculty and the NES department is an amazing opportunity,” she says. “I get to teach subject matter I love, and hope to instill students with an enthusiasm for geology and a detailed knowledge of the petroleum industry.

“For my family and I, this is an ideal job in an ideal location. As a family, we embrace the small-town setting and immediate access to outdoor recreation. We all bike, hike and ski. And as a geologist, I couldn’t be happier.”


  • University of New Mexico (1995-2000) — Bachelor of Science in Biology and Earth & Planetary Science.
  • Utah State University (2000-2003) — Master of Science in Geology.
  • Utah State University (2010-2014) — Doctor of Philosophy in Geology.
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