I am involved in projects from Antarctica to the desert surrounding us here in Las Cruces. I am looking for students interested in pursuing a Master’s in neotectonics. Some of my current research interests follow. If you are interested in these or related projects, please email me.
1. Interseismic uplift rates along the west coast of North America
I am working to extend our existing geodetic analysis of the Oregon coast to the full U.S. extent of the Cascadia margin, and I have recently started analyzing datasets from southern California. This involves analysis of relative sea level data collected over the last century at tide gauges. We get spatially dense estimates of uplift rate along highway routes between and inland from the tide gauges by analyzing repeated leveling surveys.
The uplift rates and other geodetic data like GPS can be used with numerical models of elastic deformation to infer the locked area and slip rates of the subduction zone and other major faults. This information is important for understanding seismic hazards and the tectonics of the region.
2. Late Quaternary deformation in the southern Rio Grande Rift
The arid climate of southern New Mexico beautifully preserves the imprint of past earthquakes on the landscape. New technologies for imaging the Earth surface and dating Quaternary sediment offer opportunities to better constrain fault slip rates, earthquake histories, and partitioning of active deformation across the Rift.
Such work also involves gaining a better understanding of the Quaternary history of the area and how the Earth’s surface responds to climatic and tectonic forcing, so there are natural avenues to pursue more geomorphic research projects as well.
3. Kinematics of active faults and folds
Active faults and folds progressively deform the land surface. By mapping the total geologic structure in bedrock and measuring progressively deformed geomorphic surfaces such as river terraces at the surface, it is possible to constrain how the process of faulting and folding works at depth.