Skye W. Cooley



Mission Valley, MT


BA Geology, Whitman College - Thesis: Pleistocene clastic dikes

MS Geology, University of Wyoming - Thesis: Proterozoic anorthosite

PhD Studies, Utah State University - Thesis: Paleohydrology of the Bear River

Sea Education Association Class W-130 (R/V Westward)



Intern, Exxon Mobil

Soil Scientist, Colville Indian Reservation

Owner, Cirque Geoscience Consultants

Adjunct Geosciences Faculty, Boise State University


Field Geologist, Idaho Geological Survey

S.W. Cooley Fine Woodworking

Owner, The Weatherside AirBnB


I am an experienced Field Geologist and Mapping Geologist. I've worked on a variety of projects in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, and Colorado Plateau. Field skills are in short supply these days, but remain incredibly valuable in all aspects of Geoscience. If you need a good field hand, contact me.


If your project involves Eastern Washington in particular, please contact me with any questions - Where to find good exposures, who's done what, and who to contact. I'll save you time and money. Email works best. I'm easy going and happy to help, whether you're a graduate student, agency researcher, university faculty, staff geologist, or consultant.

From time to time people will ask me about my career or my employer. I am an independent Geologist and Montana small business owner. My wife an I have been residents in six western states over the past 15 years - we've bought and sold homes in three of them (Alaska, Idaho, Montana). In 2009, Hilary and I began to be inundated with opportunities that were pulling us in wildly different directions. We decided to prioritize her career and I would pursue the best work I could, depending on where we landed. I've been a soil scientist, university instructor, geologic consultant, fine furniture maker, and custom home builder. Hilary manages the Grizzly Bear Recovery Program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Before that she managed programs on mountain lion, gray wolf, and polar bear. Neither of us mind a challenge. I dive into new things and have found success at nearly every step (not environmental advocacy, that's lame). Its been a trade off - my early career for an all-around good life. Now settled in Montana (finally!), I am able to re-enter to work world.

Where would I prefer to be? I would be an excellent staff geologist for a State Geological Survey, a USGS field geologist, a college professor, or a project lead for a consulting company working with lidar. My focus is surficial processes and geomorphology, but I cut my teeth in the Wyoming foreland doing traditional bedrock structure and stratigraphy.


Its funny, if you had asked me 20 years ago where I thought I'd end up, I'd have said either teaching at a small college or in management at an international mining company. Interesting where life takes us, isn't it?