Convergent Margins are where subduction and collision take place and where Earth's largest earthquakes occur. Processes at subduction zones may lead to sediment accretion and development of an accretionary prism but in areas of low sediment supply tectonic erosion may take place. In either case, part of the subducting plate is recycled into the mantle and typically perturbs the overlying mantle wedge resulting in a volcanic arc. To study processes at active convergent margins we rely on seismic reflection and refraction profiling to reveal structure and stratigraphy of the margin supplemented with seafloor mapping. Sampling through coring, dredging, drilling, and land-based recovery is also required to determine material properties, ages, and fluid content and composition. Our research goals at convergent margins span a wide range including understanding what conditions are required to nucleate large earthquakes, why slow slip events occur, how margins deform in response to subducting seamounts, plateaus, and continental margins, and tracking mass fluxes from the oceans to either the mantle or volcanic arc.

Faculty & Research Scientists


James A AustinJames A Austin
Stratigraphic evolution of a wide range of marine and lacustrine environments around the world
Peter B FlemingsPeter B Flemings
Stratigraphy, basin analysis, basin-scale fluid flow, pore pressures in seafloor sediments, submarine landslides, oil and gas migration, methane hydrates, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP)
Patrick M Fulton
Fluid flow, heat transport, and tectonics; modeling thermal and hydrologic processes; earthquake physics; frictional heating on faults, fault strength, thermal geophysics, geomechanics, overpressure development.
Sean S GulickSean S Gulick
Studies of convergent margins to examine tectonic influences, structural deformation, fluid flow, and earthquake hazards; imaging and geologic sampling of in situ tectonic and crater laboratories: microplates, triple junctions, transitional plate boundaries, and bolide impacts; and quantitative high-resolution marine geological and geophysical studies of tectonic and climate interactions on glaciated orogenic margins.
Brian K HortonBrian K Horton
Tectonics of sedimentary basins, evolution of orogenic systems, sediment provenance and routing systems, nonmarine depositional processes.
Luc L LavierLuc L Lavier
Tectonics; the structural and geodynamical evolution of continental and oceanic rifts, as well as collisional environments; numerical techniques to model tectonic processes on crustal and lithospheric scales; deformation; subduction
Kirk D McIntoshKirk D McIntosh
Structure and development of continental margins along convergent and transpressive plate boundaries; sediment accretion, subduction, and erosion at convergent margins; forearc and backarc extension and compression; fluid dynamics in accretionary prisms; shallow-subduction seismicity
Kitty L MillikenKitty L Milliken
Petrography and geochemistry of siliciclastic rocks; diagenesis; electron microbeam methods: X-ray mapping, cathodoluminescence imaging; micro-scale reservoir characterization
Ian O NortonIan O Norton
Plate tectonics, structural evolution of continental margins, reconciliation of observations from structural geology with regional tectonics
Thomas H ShipleyThomas H Shipley
Marine seismology; subduction processes occurring at converging plate margins; the role of fluids in accretionary trench margins and their influence on the distribution of low-shear-strength fault zones; 3D seismic techniques
Frederick W TaylorFrederick W Taylor
Tectonic geomorphology and stratigraphy at convergent plate margins Paleoclimate, fossil corals as a proxy for past sea-surface temperatures.
Estibalitz  UkarEstibalitz Ukar
Harm J Van AvendonkHarm J Van Avendonk
Van Avendonk is an active-source seismologist who specializes in the acquisition and inversion of seismic refraction data on land and at sea. Often these seismic refraction data are used for a tomographic inversion. The resultant seismic velocity models help us to interpret the composition of the Earth’s crust and mantle, the geometry of sedimentary basins, and the structure of plate boundaries.
Laura Wallace
Crustal deformation, GPS/Geodesy, active plate boundary processes, subduction tectonics, geohazards
Lesli J WoodLesli J Wood
Outcrop analysis of clastic systems architecture and sequence stratigraphy; seismic geomorphology and sedimentology of clastic systems; tectonics and sedimentation of active margin basins; shallow hydrocarbon features and shale diapirism; remotely sensed study (lidar, 2-D, 3-D and multicomponent seismic multibeam bathymetry and sonar) of clastic depositional systems.

Postdoctoral Researchers


Owen A Anfinson
Specializes in the use of heavy mineral geochronology and thermochronology to understand the geologic evolution of sedimentary basins and their source regions. Past Research Topics Include: Ph.D.- New Insights into Arctic Tectonics: U-Pb, (U-Th)/He, and Hf Isotopic data from the Franklinian Basin, Canadian Arctic Islands; M.S.- Sediment Sources for Catastrophic Glacial Outburst Flood Rhythmites and Quaternary Eolian Deposits at the Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington; B.A.- Stratigraphy and ...
Elizabeth J CasselElizabeth J Cassel
The interactions between tectonics, climate, and erosion; Earth surface processes; tectonic geomorphology; stable isotope geochemistry and its applications to paleo-elevation, -climate, and -hydrology; fluvial and alluvial depositional environments; sediment provenance and drainage evolution through detrital mineral geochronology; sedimentology and stratigraphy; major, trace element, rare earth element, and stable isotope compositions of volcanic glass; Laramide tectonics and drainage system responses.
Rodrigo A Fernandez-VasquezRodrigo A Fernandez-Vasquez
Glacial geology, marine geology, tectonics, tectonics-climate-glacial interactions, sedimentary processes on fjords, rivers and coastal environments, paleomagnetism (block rotations, anisotropy of susceptibility). Current Spatial/Temporal areas of research: Cz/Pleistocene-Holocene of Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Julia S ReeceJulia S Reece
soil and rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, sedimentology, physical sediment properties

Research Staff