George Davis

I was a graduate of Upper St. Clair High School (Pittsburgh) and went on to attend The College of Wooster (Ohio), graduating in geology. I married another Wooster graduate, Merrily Siepert. I received a MA degree in structural geology/tectonics from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in economic geology from the University of Michigan.

I began my career at the University of Arizona as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences, becoming Full Professor, and then Regents Professor. I served as Chair of the Department of Geosciences, a department now regarded as one of the top geo-programs in the world. Both in graduate school and as an assistant professor, I was inspired by academic geologists who became College and University Leaders, and this has influenced my broadening range of university work. At the University of Arizona, I have served as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Executive on Loan to the Board of Regents, and Interim Vice President for Business Affairs.  I then left The University of Arizona to serve The University of Vermont as its President, returning to the University of Arizona to carry out research and teaching, and then to serve as Executive Vice President and Provost.  I stepped down from these administrative posts in May, 2007. Some of my university speeches and presentations can be accessed via University Presentations.

My primary scientific interest has been field-oriented Structural Geology, with applications in regional tectonics and active tectonics.I have published extensively on the Basin and Range and Colorado Plateau tectonic provinces and structures, and I have brought by passion for structural geology into the research advising of undergraduate and graduate students, into textbook writing, and into research seminars. My current research is both in the American Southwest and in Greece.  Since 2004 I have been the Geologist on the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project at The Sanctuary of Zeus in the Peloponnese (Sanctuary of Zeus, Mt. Lykaion). My role is to interpret the geologic history of the site, including active tectonics, in specific relationship to the archaeology of Mt. Lykaion. Within the Basin and Range and Colorado Plateau provinces, I continue to address the structure-tectonics of metamorphic core complexes, currently doing this close to home in the Rincon Mountains, Tucson, Arizona. Furthermore, the structure-tectonic history of the Colorado Plateau continues to be a significant research interest of mine, especially the origin of the basement-cored uplifts and monoclines.  I present Some Abstracts of Papers Presented to give a flavor of interests and topics.  

Some examples of articles on the research I have carried out in Greece, the Colorado Plateau, and the Basin and Range are presented here as “Some George Davis PDFs."

Since 2008 I have taught a variety of courses: Active Tectonics, Geological Disasters and Society, undergraduate Structural Geology, Honors Seminars for 1st year Students, Geology of the Colorado Plateau, and Geological Mapping in Preparation for Field Camp.  From July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 I served as President of the Geological Society of America.

My outside interests include reading and traveling widely, with particular attention to arts and humanities, and I spend serious time in pursuit of my interests in photography and playing chromatic harmonica. 

Check out some photos taken by George Davis in Greece, the Basin and Range, and the Colorado Plateau.

Here are some photos from the 2017-2018 academic year.

Also see some of George’s Classes and Students in action. Then there are some Miscellaneous Images that may be of interest.




Button link to virtual collection of geologic structures

George Davis in the field in southern Utah

Navajo Sandstone backdrop along the Kaibab uplift, Southern Utah

George Davis playing harmonica on a motor boat on a lake

Bringing up the salmon with Bach

Cover of


Contact Information

Office: Gould-Simpson Bldg. 326
Phone: 520-349-2622
Fax: 520-621-2672