river trips

  Ivo Lucchitta

I am a geologist who has lived and worked in Northern Arizona since 1966 and has done geologic work in the area since 1962. My career has been as a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and I also am an Adjunct Professor at Northern Arizona University.

Even though I have worked in several places in the West and Alaska, and was part of the Early Apollo team of Lunar exploration, my forte is the geology of Arizona. Areas of special interest have been Cenozoic Geology, continental extension at the margin of the Colorado Plateau, Quaternary geology and geomorphology, and especially the Grand Canyon and its Colorado River. These efforts have resulted in well over 100 professional publications.

Over the past 15 years, I have become increasingly convinced of the need to present and explain to non-geologists the fascinating stories that Earth has to tell, stories that rival and exceed in their scope and strangeness even the sagas put out by the Hollywood film industry. This has resulted in many publications intended for the layperson, appearances in TV documentaries including NOVA and Naked Planet, guiding many float trips down the Grand Canyon, lectures, initiating the Flagstaff Festival of Science, and a book, with more in the works.


  • BS Geology, Caltech, 1961
  • PhD Geology, The Pennsylvania State University, 1966
  • Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, 1966-present
  • Apollo Program of Lunar Exploration, 1966-1972
  • Director, Flagstaff Center of the U.S.G.S., 1985-1987
  • Principal Investigator, Glen Canyon Environmental Studies project "Quaternary Geology of the Grand Canyon" 1991-1997
  • Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey, 1995-present
  • Adjunct Professor, Northern Arizona University, 1985-present.


  • Special commendation for contributing to the geologic training of astronauts (Geological Society of America, 1970
  • Award of appreciation from the Lunar Science Community for contributions to lunar science (1973)
  • Group achievement award from ERTS Geological Analysis and Image Processing (NASA, 1975)
  • DOI Superior Service award (1989)
  • Gilbert Fellowship, 1993 (USGS)
  • Book "Hiking Arizonas Geology" selected as finalist for 2000 awards by Independent Publishers of America

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