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I am interested in the Earth's tectonic history and the ways that stresses affect the lithosphere. I study these related topics as part of my graduate work in the Stanford Department of Geophysics, where I am building the new Stress Map of Texas and New Mexico with Mark D. Zoback. I envision three main applications for our research:
- Understanding the implications of the stress field for seismic hazards
- Exploring possible geomechanical controls on oil and gas productivity
- Investigating the causes of the remarkable variations we observe in the stress field in the south-central USA and northeastern Mexico.
My research interests are at the interface between field-based tectonic research and tectonophysics, a multidisciplinary field that I call Tectonic Geomechanics. On the field-based side, I previously completed Masters research in the Stanford Geology Department with Professor Elizabeth L. Miller. For that project, I evaluated the controversial style and timing of Cenozoic Basin and Range extension in the basin flanking the Ruby Mountains–East Humboldt Range metamorphic core complex near Elko, Nevada, using 1:24,000-scale geologic mapping, geochronology, and geochemistry as my main tools. Elizabeth Miller and I continue to study Basin and Range tectonics.
I previously investigated the kinematic and fluid flow history of a fault zone associated with the Alpine Fault plate boundary system in New Zealand as part of a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Otago with Professor Virginia Toy. I also recently worked as an Exploration Geologist for Statoil, where I focused on regional geology and prospect generation in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico.