Mark A Helper
Research Interests

Dr. Helper retired in 2022 but has a 10 hr. per week appointment with the Jackson School Bureau of Economic Geology as a faculty associate.  HIs position there involved field mapping and GIS compilation of the geology of regions in central and west Texas. He also co-supervised undergraduate research projects and is involved in research into the Precambrian geology of the Llano uplift in central Texas. Recent studies there examined: 1) techniques for applying differential GPS technology to detailed field mapping, 2) the relationships among deformation, plutonism and metamorphism in gneisses and granites, and 3) paleomagnetism in granites. Most recently, he is contributing to the systematic remapping of quadrangles in the region.  Other research, with Swiss and US colleagues,  entails petrologic, structural and geochronologic studies of epidote blueschists in the Klamath Mountains and field structural studies in the Chugach Moutains of south central Alaska.  Dr. Helper taught a class and has an abiding interest in gems and gemology. He does occasional research on the mineralogical properties of unusual gem materials, including Texas blue topaz. Since 2006, he has helped spearheading the geological field training program for astronauts that are preparing for a return to the Moon. Among other things, this has involved co-leading geological field exercises for astronauts (most recently in Fall, 2022) and other NASA personnel and participation in developing new robotic tools and protocols for geologic field work. 

Regions of Academic Interest
Countries of Academic Interest