A.B., Geology, Franklin & Marshall College (1978).
M.A., Geology, Temple University (1981).
Thesis: "Petrogenesis of a Platiniferous Zone of the Stillwater Complex, Montana."
Ph.D., Geological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University (1988).
Dissertation: "Bentonite Illitization In Two Contrasting Cases: The Denver Basin And The Southern Appalachian Basin."
Mineralogy (phyllosilicate, soil minerals, X-ray based methods for identification)
Geochemistry (low temperature, radiogenic isotope geochemistry)
I joined GSU in Fall 1995 after completing a senior research associate position at Case Western. The Olympic Year provided considerable energy and impetus that is still felt today. Since that time, I have maintained a laboratory for the study of clay minerals in soils and rocks. Many graduate and undergraduate students have been trained in separation and identification of clay minerals in both geoscience and chemistry departments. These students include two Ph.D. students who graduated from this lab (Dr. Laura Zaunbrecher and Dr. Alfred M. Elser). Dr. Achim Bechtel, Ms. Mai Terashima have spent one-year periods in this lab as well. This lab has received support from NSF, DOE, PRF, National Cooperative for the Storage of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) and private foundations (Max Kade Foundation). With Dr. Marion Wampler (Retired GATECH faculty member), the clay lab also features a K-Ar geochronology lab. This K-Ar lab is the only operational K-Ar lab in the US.
My recent teaching included courses in geochemistry, mineralogy, clays and soils, Introductory Geology and X-ray methods in the Geosciences.
I have taken my turn in important service roles at GSU and in the profession. I served as Chair of Geosciences from 2007-2013. I served as President of the Clay Mineral Society in 2015. I participated in several NSF Instrumentation and Facilities panels and one DOE panel from 2016-2021.
Dr. Elliott received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1998. He received the GSU Award for Exceptional Service in 2015. Dr. Elliott was elected as a Fellow in the Geological Society of America in 2009.
My students and I are interested in several themes centering in the broad areas of geochemistry and mineralogy. For most of my career, I have been interested in understanding the flow of fluids and heat in sedimentary foreland basins and the relation of the flow of heat and fluids to the thermal maturation of source rocks to form crude oil and natural gas. The analysis of clay minerals and the K-Ar ages of the potassic clay minerals provide clues to the thermal evolution of these basins. Recent studies have focused on the Power River basin and the Disturbed Belt in Montana.
In another theme, my students and I found and are studying further the occurrences of sizeable amounts of the rare-earth elements in the Georgia Kaolin deposits. This work has attracted both commercial and academic interests. Lastly, following an award from DOE, my students and colleagues are studying the sorption of radiocesium onto gangue muscovite from the Georgia Kaolins.
Elliott, W.C., Gardner, D.J., Malla, P., and Riley, E., Extracting rare earth elements from a gangue heavy fraction. U.S. Patent No. 10,688,501 (issued June 23, 2020). Assignees: Georgia State University Research Foundation, Thiele Kaolin Company. https://patentcenter.uspto.gov/#!/applications/16345451
Elliott, W.C., Wampler, J.M., Kadir, S., Külah, T., Connell, K.E., Önalgil, N., Erkoyun, H., 2020, K-Ar age constraints on the sources of K minerals in bentonites of the Ankara-Çankırı Basin, Central Anatolia, Turkey. International Journal of Earth Sciences (Geol Rundsch). Springer Verlag. 109(7), 2353-2367. https://doi.org/1
Kim, J., Dong, H., Yang, K., Elliott, W.C., Spivack, A., Koo, T-H., Park, H., Kim, G., Morono, Y., Henkel, S., Inagaki, F., Heuer, V.B., 2019, Naturally Occurring Microbially Catalyzed Smectite-to-illite Reaction: Geology, v. 47, no. 6, p. 535-539.