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 continental deformation in both active and ancient orogenic systems. Whitney welcomes the opportunity to develop new projects and collaborations and is always enthusiastic to talk to prospective graduate students.  Click here to view Whitney’s CV.






Peter Gold‘s research interests broadly include neotectoncs 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. Primary goals of these projects included the definition of field survey protocols that minimize aleatoric (measurement) uncertainties as well as the development of virtual field measurement methods that allow empirical determination of epistemic (interpretive) uncertainties associated with common field measurements.  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 graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. at the Jackson School of Geosciences. She 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 Whitney will look at the present-day rheology of the lithospheric mantle beneath the Mojave region.



Kory Kirchner is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree at the Jackson School of Geosciences. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 2012. Kory has a broad interest in structural geology and tectonics; he is currently working with Whitney on dating high pressure metamorphic rocks exposed in the Betic Cordillera of southern Spain.  Check out Kory’s blog here.





Emilie Gentry is an undergraduate in the Jackson School’s Honors Research Program working on a thesis project with Whitney Behr.  Emilie’s research focuses on the diverse habitat of pseudotachylites and fluidized cataclasites, two types of fault rock, in the Whipple Mountains of southeastern California.  Characterizing the fault rocks near the Whipple detachment fault will allow Emilie to determine whether the Whipple fault, and/or other low-angle normal faults within the Whipple system were seismically active. Within the next year, Emilie plans to apply to graduate schools to further her education in geoscience.

Taylor Canada is an undergraduate in the Jackson School’s Honors Research Program working on a senior thesis with Whitney Behr.  Taylor is evaluating the application of the titanium-in-quartz (TitaniQ) geothermobarometer to metamorphic rocks in the Santa Rosa Mylonite Zone in southern California. The project will investigate two poorly understood aspects of the technique: the effect of pressure on titanium concentration and how deformation affects titanium re-equilibration. Upon graduation, Taylor plans to pursue a graduate degree in the geosciences.







Former Students

Aaron Salin recently graduated (2014) from the Jackson School’s Honors Research Program.  Aaron worked with Whitney 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.  Aaron is now a research intern in Paleoseismology at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.


Colleagues and Collaborators

John Platt (University of Southern California)

Greg Hirth (Brown University)

Rick Hervig (Arizona State University)

Staci Loewy (UT Austin)

Tom Rockwell (San Diego State University)

Dylan Rood (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre)

Warren Sharp (Berkeley Geochronology Center)

Danny Stockli (UT Austin)

Doug Smith (UT Austin)