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 is a Jackson School Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow 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 is a Jackson School Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow 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 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 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.
Travis Clow is pursuing his M.S. degree with research interests in neotectonics and geomorphology. Travis received his B.S. from UT Austin in 2014, where he conducted research on numerous igneous petrology topics and was also a research assistant at the Jackson School’s high-resolution x-ray computed tomography (HRXCT) facility. Travis’s current research with Dr. Behr will focus on the development of the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico, determining incision rates of the river using cosmogenic surface exposure dating techniques on abandoned river terraces and examining whether regional tectonics and/or climate is the main driver of incision in the area.
JJ Muñoz is pursuing an M.S. degree with research interests in Structural Geology, Geochemistry, and Neotectonics. JJ graduated from the University of Arizona in 2015 with a B.S. in Geosciences and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. During that time, JJ participated in an exchange at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile where he contributed to a neotectonics study of a forearc region fault that was reactivated by the M8.8 Maule Earthquake (2010). His honors thesis focused on an Oligo-Miocene left lateral strike-slip fault north of Tucson. JJ’s research with Dr. Behr focuses on mapping Pleistocene alluvial fans offset along the southern San Andreas fault using LiDAR and field mapping, collecting samples from them for cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating, and using these data to determine the slip rate of the southern San Andreas fault over the last 30kyr.
Rosie Fryer is currently a senior undergraduate working with Dr. Behr on a senior thesis project through the Jackson School’s Honors Research Program. Rosie’s work focuses on determining a slip rate on the Mission Creek strand of the Southern San Andreas Fault near Indio, CA. She is using U-series geochronology on pedogenic carbonates to date young, offset alluvial surfaces and is estimating their offset using high resolution lidar data.
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. In the Fall of 2015 she will start a M.S. project 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. Next Taylor plans to pursue a graduate degree in the geosciences.
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. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 2012. Check out Kory’s blog here.
Aaron Salin graduated in 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 on staff at Repsol in Madrid, Spain.
Colleagues and Collaborators
Jaime Barnes (UT Austin)
Alejandro Hinojosa Corona (CISESE, Ensenada, ME)
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)