Tectonics and Sedimentary Processes

Faculty interested in the integration of tectonics with sedimentary processes and structure/tectonics include Doug Walker and Diane Kamola, who are evaluating tectonic controls on depositional sequence distribution, and Bob Goldstein, who work on the thermal and pressure history of sedimentary basins.

  • Union Pacific Resources Professor Doug Walker - Dr. Walker's interests include the use of stratified rocks to understand structural and tectonic development of extensional orogens. He has used techniques of sedimentation and tectonics to better understand the timing of deformation and the nature of crustal responses in extensional orogens. Current research projects are described below. The East Sierran thrust belt is a zone of ductile thrusts and folds that developed along the eastern edge of the Sierran arc of California in Jurassic time. Work involves basic field mapping along with structural analysis, GIS databases, and U-Pb geochronology. Other work concentrates on the relation of magmatism to crustal extension. This work focuses on magma sources and depth of melting in extensional systems. A new effort will attempt to created a comprehensive database for western North America magmatism and develop tools for spatial and thematic query (all web accessible). Another research direction involves the transition from extension to transcurrent faulting in the southwestern Basin and Range of California. This work is on how deformation has progressed over the last 5 million years in the Death Valley/Owens Valley areas. During this time there was a significant change from mostly extension to transcurrent deformation. Dr. Walker's work is to try to quantify these changes using field geology, GIS, GPS, tectonic geomorphology, basin analysis, and other techniques. 
  • Associate Scientist Diane Kamola - Dr. Kamola is working on a number of studies involving tectonics and sedimentary processes. One area of research is the relation between stratal stacking patterns and thrust sheet development in foreland basin settings, which looks at the interaction between geological processes active in the foreland basin. A second area is the tectonostratigraphy of extensional basins in the Basin and Range, aimed at understanding the spatial relation and temporal variation of paleostructure and paleogeographic development. This research also provides insights on paleogeographic and structural development on the regional scale.
  • Associate Dean and Haas Distinguished Professor Bob Goldstein - Dr. Goldstein has been a pioneer in employing fluid inclusion technologies in sedimentary rocks. These techniques are useful for evaluating temperature and pressure of deformation, and for determining thermal histories of sedimentary basins. In particular, Dr. Goldstein is now working on relating fluid flow and thermal history in foreland basins to tectonic history. He has also been doing more work recently on rift basins that have been inverted during compressional events. It appears that these settings are overprinted by hydrothermal injection of hot fluids after the major inversion events, charging petroleum reservoirs with hot fluids responsible for thermal maturation, injecting hydrocarbons, and causing dissolution of carbonates and precipitation of quartz overgrowths in sandstone petroleum reservoirs.

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