Maria Richards is the SMU Geothermal Laboratory Coordinator in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences. Her research is on geothermal resources and energy development. Projects vary from computer generated temperature-depth maps for Google.org to on-site geothermal exploration of the volcanic islands in the Northern Mariana Islands. Currently her concentration is on the conversion of oil/gas wells into geothermal energy producers. Along with Cathy Chickering Pace, she coordinates the SMU Node of the National Geothermal Data System funded by the Department of Energy.
Past research includes the Eastern Texas Geothermal Assessment, Geothermal Map of North America, Dixie Valley Synthesis, and the resource assessment for the MIT Report on the Future of Geothermal Energy.
Maria was on the Geothermal Resources Council Board of Directors and was chair of the outreach committee in 2011-12. She holds a Master of Science degree in Physical Geography from University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a BS in Environmental Geography from Michigan State University.