Dr. Whitney Behr is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at JSG. Whitney completed her Bachelor’s degree at California State University Northridge in 2006 and her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 2011. She then spent 11 months at Brown University as a Postdoctoral Fellow before joining the Jackson School in August, 2012. Whitney’s research incorporates a variety of field, analytical and experimental techniques all aimed toward understanding deformation in both active and ancient plate margins. Whitney welcomes the opportunity to develop new projects and collaborations and is always enthusiastic to talk to prospective students. Click here to view Whitney’s CV.
Nick Dygert (now Assistant Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville) was a Jackson School Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in 2015-2017 working with Whitney Behr and Marc Hesse. Nick earned his B.S. at the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. at Brown University. His research focuses on understanding the physical and chemical evolution of the terrestrial and lunar mantles using experiments, numerical models, and field studies. Subjects of active research include an experimental study of the rheology of ilmenite and ilmenite-bearing aggregates, characterization of the thermal history of the upper mantle and the geological processes that affect it, and trace element geochemical investigations into lunar cumulate mantle overturn, melt migration in the mantle, and other dynamic processes in planetary interiors.
Kyle Ashley (now Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh) was a Jackson School Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in 2015-2017 working with Whitney Behr. Kyle earned his BSc at SUNY Potsdam, his MSc at the University of Vermont, and his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. His research is focused on the evolution of metamorphic and igneous systems, applying pseudosection analysis, petrographic assessment, geochronology, and conventional and unconventional thermobarometric techniques to unravel changes in a rock’s pressure, temperature, fluid, mineralogy and deformation across time. Lately, Kyle has been studying the theory and application of trace element thermobarometers (e.g. Ti-in-quartz), as well as making advances in utilizing included minerals in rigid hosts for thermobarometry purposes with the application of elastic theory.
Peter Gold is a Ph.D. Candidate whose research interests include neotectonics and tectonic geomorphology. His M.S. research involved the use of terrestrial lidar and immersive virtual reality visualization and analysis methods to better understand the character of both coseismic and long term fault slip from measurements of recent earthquake ruptures along the Dixie Valley (US) and Borrego (Mexico) faults. Peter’s research with Dr. Behr at UT Austin focuses on combining 10Be cosmogenic nuclide and pedogenic carbonate geochronology with lidar-based surface analyses of offset alluvial fans in order to quantify fault displacement rates along several strands of the southern San Andreas fault system in both southern California and Baja California, Mexico.
Rachel Bernard is a Ph.D. Candidate entering her 4th year at the JSG. Rachel earned a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 2009, and then spent two years working for Schlumberger Oilfield Services as a field engineer. Rachel then worked at the National Science Foundation for two years before beginning her graduate studies at UT Austin in August, 2013. Rachel’s research with Dr. Behr focuses on the present-day rheology of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Mojave region and the controls on lattice preferred orientation in natural deformed mantle rocks.
Pamela Speciale is a Ph.D. student whose research interests include paleopiezometry, rock mechanics and strain localization in the lithospheric mantle. She is examining stress–grainsize relationships in feldspar and orthopyroxene in naturally deformed rocks, in an effort to test experimental extrapolations of these relationships to estimating stress in the lithosphere. She is also exploring the mechanisms and longevity of strain localization in the lithospheric mantle through experimental deformation of dry olivine aggregates.
Alissa Kotowski is pursuing her Ph.D. at the Jackson School of Geosciences, working with Whitney Behr and Danny Stockli. Alissa graduated from Boston College in 2014; during her time there she participated in a student exchange program to Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Her broad interests encompass tectonic processes and metamorphic petrology. Alissa’s research will focus on the structural and rheological evolution of high pressure rocks during subduction from Syros, Greece.
Carolyn Tewksbury-Christle is a new Ph.D. student at the JSG focusing on structural and rheological evolution of rocks during subduction. She graduated from Smith College in 2007 with a double major in Geology and Physics and studied subsurface dike extent around Ship Rock, New Mexico using gravity and magnetic data. She earned an M.S. in 2013 from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in geophysics researching Ground Penetrating Radar response to sub-resolution fractures. She also holds a certificate in digital design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Prior to coming to JSG, Carolyn was an active duty Air Force officer for 9 years and conducted adaptive optics research at the Air Force Research Labs and physics education research while she was Assistant Professor of Physics at the U. S. Air Force Academy.
Travis Clow completed his M.S. degree in 2017 under the supervision of Drs. Whitney Behr and Mark Helper focused on the development of the Rio Grande gorge in northern New Mexico. He used detailed field mapping and cosmogenic surface exposure dating on abandoned river terraces to examine rates and drivers of river incision. Travis will go on to pursue a Ph.D. at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego starting Fall, 2017.
JJ Muñoz completed an M.S. with Dr. Behr focused on Pleistocene alluvial fans offset along the southern San Andreas fault. He used LiDAR and field mapping and cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating to determine the Holocene slip rate of the southern San Andreas fault in the Indio Hills.
Rosie Fryer completed an undergraduate honors thesis with Dr. Behr focused on determining a slip rate on the Mission Creek strand of the Southern San Andreas Fault near Indio, CA. She used U-series geochronology on pedogenic carbonates to date young, offset alluvial surfaces and estimated their offset using high resolution LiDaR data. Rosie is now an M.S. student at Colorado School of Mines.
Emilie Gentry completed a senior thesis with Dr. Behr in 2015 through the Jackson School’s Honors Research Program. Emilie’s research focused on the diverse habitat and morphologies of pseudotachylites in the Whipple Mountains of southeastern California. She is currently a second year M.S. student at Colorado School of Mines.
Taylor Canada completed a senior thesis with Dr. Behr in 2015 through the Jackson School’s Honors Research Program. Taylor worked on the application of the titanium-in-quartz (TitaniQ) geothermobarometer to metamorphic rocks in the Santa Rosa Mylonite Zone in southern California. Taylor is currently an M.S. student at UT working with Charlie Kerans.
Kory Kirchner completed a Master’s degree under Dr. Behr’s supervision in 2014 on dating high pressure metamorphic rocks exposed in the Betic Cordillera of southern Spain (link to publication). Kory is now an instructor/field guide for the Grand Canyon Association Field Institute.
Aaron Salin graduated in 2014 and worked with Dr. Behr on a senior thesis project in active tectonics, using a variety of remote sensing data and field structural observations to examine the partitioning of slip along the Mission Creek and Banning strands of the southern San Andreas fault in the Indio Hills in California (link to publication). Aaron is now a junior geologist at Repsol in Houston.
Colleagues and Collaborators
Jaime Barnes (UT Austin)
Thorsten Becker (UT Austin)
John Fletcher (CISESE, Ensenada, ME)
Mark Helper (UT Austin)
Greg Hirth (Brown University)
Rick Hervig (Arizona State University)
Staci Loewy (UT Austin)
John Platt (University of Southern California)
Tom Rockwell (San Diego State University)
Dylan Rood (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre)
Warren Sharp (Berkeley Geochronology Center)
Doug Smith (UT Austin)
Danny Stockli (UT Austin)