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Matt Burton-Kelly is a Research Scientist at the EERC, where he develops geophysical models of the subsurface, performs regional geological characterization, and manipulates data within geographic information systems (GIS). He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Geology from the University of North Dakota and a B.S. degree in Geology from Saint Lawrence University, Canton, New York.

“I enjoy that the work at the EERC has immediate meaning in ‘the real world.’ Although I enjoy science for the sake of learning more about the history and evolution of the world, it’s nice to work on projects that have a measured impact,” said Burton-Kelly.

Burton-Kelly’s principal areas of interest and expertise include stratigraphy and sedimentology; paleogeography; CO2-based enhanced oil recovery; data management; data sharing among researchers; and invertebrate paleontology, including freshwater mussels and arthropod trace fossils.

“Continued collaboration among researchers will have a very positive impact in producing more accurate paleoenvironmental reconstructions. I’ve published on arthropod trace fossils (the tracks were left by critters similar to horseshoe crabs on an ancient beach) and have a few papers in the works with Joseph Hartman, my M.S. and Ph.D. advisor at UND, on freshwater mussels in North Dakota and Montana,” said Burton-Kelly.

Burton-Kelly enjoys riding bicycles (road, gravel, mountain), running, working on his house, and reading. As a graduate student, he competed in cycling for UND one season. He volunteers for Extreme North Dakota Racing (, where he has been in charge of the Web site, online race registration, and online marketing, along with race planning and race-day logistics. Burton-Kelly also manages the Web site for Ground UP Adventures (GUP), a nonprofit whose goal is getting kids into the outdoors and endurance sports and volunteers for GUP’s related projects, Northern Heights Rock Gym and Boathouse on the Red. Burton-Kelly’s wife, Alison Kelly, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UND.