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Tanner Nielsen

Graduate Student

Current Project(s): Structural evolution and kinematics of the Ramelau Anticline in the western-central region of East Timor

I am from Cache Valley, Utah, where I learned to really appreciate the great outdoors. My hobbies growing up were everything that was outside: Snowboarding, backpacking, mountain biking, landscape photography, exploring, rock-hounding, fishing. When I began my undergraduate degree at Utah State University, I was enrolled in a pre-medicine degree, but always found myself in the Geology  department building on campus

wandering the halls and enjoying the exhibits and maps on the walls. I didn’t know what a geologist did at the time, but I wanted everything that had to do with what was in that building. I quickly learned that geology was definitely for me. 


After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Geology at Utah State University, I worked as a junior geologist at Zanskar Geothermal and Minerals, a Utah-based start-up that focused on exploration and development of geothermal projects in the Western United States. While employed with Zanskar I gained a strong affinity for structural, resource, and tectonic geology. I decided to attend graduate school at BYU to help grow these skills so that I could be better equipped to help develop resources for our current and future energy needs, whether it is through oil and gas exploration, geothermal, carbon sequestration, hydrogen, or other developing technologies that can help our energy needs of the future.  


My thesis studies are focused on the structural evolution and kinematics of the Ramelau Anticline in the western-central region of East Timor. The Ramelau Mountain Range is the highest mountain range in Timor-Leste and is a site of duplex thrusting due to active collision between Australia and Asia tectonic plates. The study of this mountain range aims to model the kinematics and evolution of the creation of the mountain range, and how it affects the resource geology and geohazards of the region. With this knowledge and information, the people of Timor-Leste can be better equipped to make decisions regarding infrastructure, public safety, and use of their natural resources. 

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