James C. Cobb


1971, B.S., Geology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
1975, M.S., Geology, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Ky.
1981, Ph.D., Geology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.



As State Geologist and Director of the Survey, I make decisions concerning the Survey's mission, objectives, research direction, and new initiatives, and also serve as an advisor to State and Federal government on a variety of geology, land, mineral and water issues. I manage a budget of $6.5 million from State and outside agencies for a broad program in the geological sciences, including energy, ground water, minerals, geospatial analysis, and geologic hazards. The Survey has a staff of 80 persons in scientific, engineering, technical, and support positions.

Professional Experience

  • State Geologist and Director, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 1999 - present.
  • Assistant State Geologist for Research, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 1990-1999.
  • Head, Coal and Minerals Section, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 1982-1989.
  • Geologist, Coal Section, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 1980-1982.
  • Research Associate, Coal Section, Illinois State Geological Survey, 1976-1980.
  • Consultant, Beirut Lebanon, Foster and Associates, 1974-1975
  • Research Assistant, Illinois State Geological Survey, 1971- 1974
  • Technical Assistant, Illinois State Geological Survey, 1969- 1971


Selected Publications: 
  • National Research Council, 2007, Coal Research and Development to Support Coal Policy, National Academy of Science, in press.
  • Cobb, J. C., Wang, L., Woolery, E.W., Wang, Z., and Wu, Z., 2007, Rolling across the Roof of the World, Geotimes Magazine, p. 25-27.
  • Cobb, J. C., 2006, Section on Appalachian coal: Encyclopedia of Appalachia, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN, pp 13-14.
  • Cobb, J. C., 2005, Chapter on Coal: World Book Encyclopedia, World Book Publishing, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Cobb, J.C., 2004, Testimony for the Senate Energy Subcommittee on the Value of Geologic Mapping, Congressional Record, July, 14, 4 pp.
  • Cobb, J.C., 2004, USGS National Seismic Hazards Mapping Program and States: De facto Setting Public Policy for States, A presentation to the USGS Science Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee, June 3, 2004, Memphis TN.
  • Cecil, C.B., Dulong, F.T., Harris, R.A., Cobb, J.C., Gluskoter, H.G., and Nugroho, H., 2003, Observations on Climate and Sediment Discharge in Tropical Rivers, Indonesia, in Cecil, C.B. and Edgar, N.T. eds., Climate Controls on Stratigraphy: Society for Sedimentary Geology Special Publication 77, p. 29–51.
  • Cobb, J.C., 2003, The geologic foundation of Kentucky: University of Kentucky Donovan Scholars, Lexington, KY, October, 9p.
  • Cobb, J.C., 2003, Presentation of the Louisville 30 x 60 minute geologic map: Tenth Annual Kentucky GIS Conference, Louisville, KY, August 20.
  • Cobb, J.C., 2003, Using geologic maps to mitigate geologic hazards in transportation planning: Conference on Geohazards in Transportation in the Appalachians, August 7.
  • Cobb, J.C., 2002, The value of geologic maps and the need for digitally vectorized data: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-370, p. 3–6.
  • Cobb, J.C., and Currens, J.C., 2001, Karst: The stealthy hazard: Geotimes Magazine, v. 46, no.5, p. 14-17.
  • Weisenfluh, G.A., Cobb, J.C., Ferm, J.C., and Ruthven, C.L., 1997, Kentucky's coal industry: Historical trends and future opportunities: Kentucky Geological Survey, ser. 11, Information Circular 59, 9 p.
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