Phil Orlandini

Phil  Orlandini
Research Associate, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences

Office: JGB

I love electron-beam micro-analysis, geology, and ductile deformation! I came to geology late in life after getting a degree in Chinese history, living in China on and off several times, and becoming a baker for both humans and dogs (guess which one paid more). I fell in love with geology after seeing the joy that geologists bring to their work, and constantly strive to bring that enthusiasm and wonder with the natural world to my own work.

Areas of Expertise

Ductile deformation; petrology; machine learning; SEM; EBSD; EPMA; EDS; field geology & structural geology

Research Locations

Current Research Programs & Projects

Quantitative X-ray mapping using EPMA

Characterization and Provenance of Stone Technologies

High angular resolution Hough-space indexing for EBSD for dislocation density calculations

Microbeam Lab Energy Efficiency Pilot - University of Texas Green Fund (2020 - 2021)

Seismic Anisotropy Variation Across Crustal Shear Zones - French National Center for Scientific Research Project (2018)

Thompson Fund Grant - University of Colorado Geological Sciences Department (2017)

Outstanding Student Paper Award - American Geophysical Union (2017)

Electron Microprobe Analysis Topical Conference Grant - Microanalysis Society (2016)

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (as mentor) - University of Colorado (2015)

Shell Research Grant - University of Colorado Geological Sciences Department (2013)

Student Research Grant - Geological Society of America (2013)

Outstanding Student Research Award - Geological Society of America Structure and Tectonics Division (2013)

Reviewer/Contributor, Academic Review and Planning Advisory Committee, University of Colroado Department of Geological Sciences (2018)

Member, Course Fees Committee, University of Colorado Department of Geological Sciences (2016)

Member, Weekly Colloquium Committee, University of Colorado Department of Geological Sciences (2016 - 2018)

Geological Society of America, Campus Representative, University of Colorado (2015 - 2019)

Science Mentor to underrepresented STEM youth groups, Earth Explorers, Colorado (2015 - 2016)

Orlandini, O. & Mahan, K. (2020). Rheological evolution of a pseudotachylyte-bearing deep crustal shear zone in the western Canadian shield. Journal of Structural Geology, 141(104188). doi:

Zawaski, M., Kelly, N., Orlandini, O., Nichols, C., Allwood, A. & Mojzsis, S. (2020). Reappraisal of purported ca. 3.7 Ga stromatolites from the Isua Supracrustal Belt (West Greenland) from detailed chemical and structural analysis. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 545(116409). doi:

Cone, K., Wendlandt, K., Pfaff, K. & Orlandini, O. (2020). Texture constraints on crystal size distribution methodology: An application to the Laki fissure eruption. American Mineralogist, 105(5), 585-598. doi:

Zawaski, M., Kelly, N., Orlandini, O., Nichols, C., Allwood, A. & Mojzsis, S. (2021). Reply: The Isua (Greenland) “relict stromatolites” cannot be confidently interpreted as original sedimentary structures. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. doi:.

Orlandini, O., Mahan, K., Williams, M., Regan, S. & Mueller, K. (2019). Evidence for deep crustal seismic rupture in a granulite-facies, intraplate, strike-slip shear zone, northern Saskatchewan, Canada. GSA Bulletin, 131(3-4), 403-425. doi:

Brownlee, S., Schulte-Pelkum, V., Raju, A., Mahan, K., Condit, C. & Orlandini, O. (2017). Characteristics of deep crustal seismic anisotropy from a compilation of rock elasticity tensors and their expression in receiver functions. Tectonics, 36(9), 1835-1857. doi:

Regan, S., Williams, M., Mahan, K., Dumond, G., Jercinovic, M. & Orlandini, O. (2017). Neoarchean arc magmatism and subsequent collisional orogenesis along the eastern Rae domain, western Churchill Province: Implications for the early growth of Laurentia. Precambrian Research, 294, 151-174. doi:

Goldfarb, R., Taylor, R., Collins, G., Goryachev, N. & Orlandini, O. (2014). Phanerozoic continental growth and gold metallogeny of Asia. Gondwana Research, 25(1), 48-102. doi:

Drums in the Deep: Instigating Brittle Anomalies in the Ductile Lower Crust, Microanalysis Socity EBSD Topical Conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI (2020)

Petrology, rheology, and seismic signal of a deep-crustal mechanical anomaly, Bayerisches Geoinstitut, Bayerisches, Germany (2018)

Lab Assistant (Graduate or Undergraduate)
Laboratory Assistants typically work in 3-5 hour blocks, helping researchers collect and process data on all techniques across the lab, as well as occasionally perform some of the few routine lab activities like carbon or gold coating, touch-up polishing, and billing.