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Structural Geology & Tectonics, Regional Geology, and Geomechanics

Research in Structural Geology and Tectonics, Geomechanics, Plate
Tectonics, Neotectonics and Tectonic Geomorphology involves many faculty
and students who explore how the Earth's crust deforms at scales from
the microscopic to the plate tectonic, and at timescales ranging from
those of ancient mountain belts to those of recent crustal deformation.
We take multiple approaches to our research and utilize a broad spectrum
of methods including field mapping, geomechanical modeling,
geochronology, thermochronology and surface-dating.

Topics of Study

Extensional Tectonics, Basin and Range
Profile: Elizabeth Miller (GES)

Plate Tectonic Evolution of the Arctic
Profile: Elizabeth Miller (GES)

The Geology of Arctic Russia
Profile: Elizabeth Miller (GES)

Cordilleran Metamorphic Core Complexes
Profile: Elizabeth Miller (GES)

NW Basin and Range and Surprise Valley
Profile: Elizabeth Miller (GES)

Structural Geology and Geomechanics
Profile: David Pollard (GES)

Mantle Rheology
Profile: Jessica Warren (GES)

Large normal faults in Italy as potential conduits for CO2-enriched groundwater
Profile: Atilla Aydin (GES)

U-Pb dating of Detrital Zircon suites in sedimentary rocks
Profile: Marty Grove (GES)

Crustal Deformation, Paleoseismology, and Crustal Rheology
Profile: George Hilley (GES)

Refining models that include deformation, faults, mineral
phase transitions, biodegradation, secondary cracking, and prediction
of phases and migration fractionation

Profile: Steve Graham (GES)

Related Courses

GES 105: Introduction to Field Methods
Two-week, field-based course in the White Mountains of eastern
California. Introduction to the techniques for geologic mapping and
geologic investigation in the field: systematic observations and data
collection for lithologic columns and structural cross-sections.
Interpretation of field relationships and data to determine the
stratigraphic and deformational history of the region.

GES 110: Structural Geology and Tectonics
Theory, principles, and practical techniques to measure, describe,
analyze, and interpret deformation-related structures on Earth.
Collection of fault and fold data in the field followed by lab and
computer analysis; interpretation of geologic maps and methods of
cross-section construction; structural analysis of fault zone and
metamorphic rocks; measuring deformation; regional structural styles and
associated landforms related to plate tectonic convergence, rifting,
and strike-slip faulting; the evolution of mountain belts and formation
of sedimentary basins.

GES 111A: Fundamentals of Structural Geology
This is the first of a two quarter sequence in structural geology
for undergraduate students in the earth sciences and engineering.
Quantitative field and laboratory data are integrated with solutions to
boundary-value problems of continuum mechanics to introduce conceptual
and mechanical models for tectonic processes in Earth's crust that lead
to the development of geological structures including folds, faults,
fractures and fabrics. Topics include: techniques and tools for
structural mapping; using differential geometry to characterize
structures; dimensional analysis and scaling relations; kinematics of
elastic deformation and viscous flow; traction and stress analysis.
Geological data sets are characterized, analyzed, and visualized using
MATLAB.

GES 111B: Fundamentals of Structural Geology
This is the second of a two quarter sequence in structural geology
for undergraduate students in the earth sciences and engineering. Field
equations for the elastic solid and viscous fluid are derived from the
conservation laws as a basis to develop mechanical models for tectonic
processes and their structural products. Topics include: conservation of
mass and momentum in a deformable continuum; linear elastic deformation
and elastic properties of rock; brittle deformation including fracture
and faulting; linear viscous flow including magma dynamics and ductile
folding; model development and methodology. Models are constructed and
solutions visualized using MATLAB.

GES 190: Field Research
Two-week, field-based course in the White Mountains of eastern
California. Introduction to the techniques for geologic mapping and
geologic investigation in the field: systematic observations and data
collection for lithologic columns and structural cross-sections.
Interpretation of field relationships and data to determine the
stratigraphic and deformational history of the region.

GES 209: Microstructures
Microstructures in metamorphic rocks reveal temperature, pressure,
and rates of deformation in the crust and variations in its
thermo-mechanical behavior. Topics include the rheology of rocks and
minerals, strain partitioning, shear zones and brittle-ductile
transition in the crust, mechanisms of foliation and lineation
development, preferred crystallographic fabrics, and geochronologic
methods useful for dating deformation. Labs involve microstructure
analysis of suites of rocks from classic localities.

GES 210: Geologic Evolution of the Western U.S. Cordillera
The geologic and tectonic evolution of the U.S. Cordillera based on
its rock record through time. This region provides good examples of
large-scale structures and magmatic activity generated during crustal
shortening, extension, and strike-slip faulting and affords opportunity
to study crustal-scale processes involved in mountain building in
context of plate tectonic motions.

GES 215A: Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics
This is the first of a two quarter sequence in structural geology
and rock mechanics for graduate students in geology, geophysics, and
engineering. Quantitative field and laboratory data are integrated with
solutions to initial and boundary-value problems of continuum mechanics
to introduce conceptual and mechanical models for tectonic processes in
Earth's crust that lead to the development of geological structures
including folds, faults, fractures and fabrics. Topics include:
techniques and tools for structural mapping; using differential geometry
to characterize structures; dimensional analysis and scaling relations;
kinematics of elastic deformation and viscous flow; traction and stress
analysis. Geological data sets are characterized, analyzed, and
visualized using MATLAB.

GES 215B: Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics
This is the second of a two quarter sequence in structural geology
and rock mechanics for students of geology, geophysics, and engineering.
Field equations for the elastic solid and viscous fluid are derived
from the conservation laws as a basis to develop mechanical models for
tectonic processes and their structural products. Topics include:
conservation of mass and momentum in a deformable continuum; linear
elastic deformation and elastic properties of rock; brittle deformation
including fracture and faulting; linear viscous flow including magma
dynamics and ductile folding, model development and methodology. Models
are constructed and solutions visualized using MATLAB.

GES 216: Rock Fracture Mechanics
This course covers the observational and theoretical aspects of rock
fracture for students of geology, geophysics, and engineering. We
introduce the geological data and the principles and tools of elasticity
theory and fracture mechanics required to understand the origins and
physical behaviors of fractures in rock including faults, dikes, sills,
joints, veins, solution surfaces, deformation bands and compaction
bands. Classic papers in fracture mechanics are read and discussed.
Displacement and stress fields from solutions to elastic boundary value
problems are used to interpret fractures in outcrop and on geological
maps at scales ranging from microns to tens of kilometers. Computer
models using MATLAB and based on boundary element and dislocation
methods are introduced and applied.

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