Sean Gulick has been at the University of Texas at Austin since he completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Jackson School in 2001. He was co-chief scientist on the seismic imaging project of the R/V Maurice Ewing and received the Jackson School's Research Achievement award in 2007.

Gulick's primary scientific interest is in the examination of deformation of the Earth in convergent margins, complex transitional tectonic environments such as microplates, and the massive deformation due to bolide impacts. Current projects he is working on with his students include imaging and mapping the eroded products of the St. Elias orogen in southeast Alaska and the crustal structure and deformation of the Yakutat oceanic micro plate and internally deforming northern Pacific Plate; examining the Kumano forearm basin in Japan for the kinematic history of deformation and sedimentation; imaging and mapping the fault patterns within the 2004 rupture area offshore Sumatra; and preparing for IODP Expedition 341 to the Gulf of Alaska to examine tectonic-climate interactions.

Convergent margins represent the most numerous and potentially most deadly locales for earthquake production, requiring a greater understanding of the interplay of subduction zone tectonics, structural deformation, accretionary prism development, and sedimentary and erosional effects. Deformation in active tectonic regimes affects the geologic record of the continental margins and basins through sediment deformation, uplift and/or subsidence, orogenesis, and interplay with climate. A completely non-tectonic source of deformation in the earth and yet vital to understanding the planet's history are impacts from meteors and comets and their effect on global climate and life. 2-D and 3-D seismic reflection techniques provide both regional and/or local information regarding the nature and timing of the deformation, yield partial geologic histories of basins, and can be used to examine the physical properties of the fault zones. Information gathered by the marine geophysical techniques is even more powerful when ground-truthed using ocean drilling and/or direct submersible observations.

Areas of Expertise

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.


Research Locations



Young Scientist Fellowship - Jackson School of Geosciences (2005 - 2006)

Japanese Marine Science and Technology honorarium - Shinkai 6500 cruise (2000)

Postdoctoral Fellow - Palisades Geophysical Institute (1999 - 2002)

Travel Grant - Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (1998)

Travel Grant - Lehigh University College of Arts and Sciences (1998)

Research Grant - Lehigh University Earth and Environmental Sciences (1997)

Best Student Paper Award - Seismological Society of America Eastern Section (1993)

Keynote Speaker, International Core-Log-Seismic Integration Workshop, to be entered (2005)

Workshop, Arc-Continent Collisions, GSA Penrose Conference (2005)

Workshop, International 3-D Seismic , Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (2005)

Workshop, Downhole Tools Workshop, IODP (2004)

Member, Measurements and Science Technology Panels , IODP (2003 - 2005)

Co-convenor , Workshop, Joint NSF-JOI Tectonic-Climate Interplay Workshop (2003)

3rd International Conference , Large Meteorite Impacts, (2003)

Member, Interim Scientific Measurements Panel (iSciMP) , IODP (2002 - 2003)

Workshop, Midlife Refit, R/V Maurice Ewing (2002)

Conference, Riser Drilling in Nankai Trough, NanTroSEIZE conference (2002)

Conference, U.S. Participation , IODP (CUSP) (2002)

Leg 190/196 2nd Post-cruise Meeting , Kochi, Japan (2002)

Member, Advisory committee , University of Delaware research vessel (2001 - 2002)

NSF-MARGINS , Source-to-Sink planning workshop , in Lake Tahoe, California (2000)

PANGA GPS workshop, Interface with EARTHSCOPE's Plate Boundary Observatory, (2000)

Substitute Lecturer, Seismology, Rocks and Minerals, Sedimentology, and Geographic Information Systems, Lehigh University (1997 - 1998)

Teaching Assistant, Seismology, Geographic Information Systems, Structural Geology, Hydrogeology, and Introduction to Geology, Lehigh University (1995 - 1998)

Workshop, Mendocino triple junction, Menlo Park, California (1994)

Member, American Geophysical Union

Member, Geological Society of America

Member, Union of Concerned Scientists

Graduate Students

Marina C Frederik, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
Marina is working on a project titled 'Morphology and structure of the accretionary prism offshore North Sumatra, Indonesia and Kodiak Island, USA'

Maureen A Walton, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
The title of Maureen's dissertation is "Tectonic and sedimentary processes of the southeast Alaska margin." She is a part of the St. Elias Erosion/Tectonics (STEEP) team at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, studying both structural and geologic processes in the southeast Gulf of Alaska. The first chapter of her work focuses on the deposition of the Baranof deep-sea fan, and the other chapters involve earthquake tectonics and large-scale strike-slip plate motion.

Sebastian G Ramirez, Ph.D., expected 2016 (Supervisor)
I am currently working on two sub-projects. The first aims at understanding the conditions of Kumano forearc basin (offshore Japan) nucleation and early evolution through 3D-seismic and sandstone petrography provenance analyses. The second involves the study of the Cretaceous-to-Recent sedimentary record in the northernmost Neuquen basin (western Argentina) through traditional field work and detrital zircon analysis. My goal is to better constrain the timing and characteristics of early Andean compression and to test whether or not the observed deformation patterns might be associated with subducting slab shallowing/steepening cycles.

Aleksandr Montelli, M.S., expected 2015 (Supervisor)
My project focuses on seismic stratigraphy and sedimentary architecture of Bering Trough, Gulf of Alaska and Totten Glacier, East Antarctica. Integration of high resolution seismic data with ages acquired during IODP Expedition will allow to accurately reconstruct glacier dynamics in Gulf of Alaska, which is important for constraining numerical models. In East Antarctica the research goal is to analyze the landforms evident of past temperate glacier activity and to make a comparison with those observed in Alaska.

Jason C Sanford, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)
Jason is an M.S. Candidate in Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is currently exploring geopressure history and geomechanics of reservoir-scale sand injections in the Panoche Giant Injection Complex in central California as the second component of his M.S. thesis work. Efforts include mapping of sand injections in the PGIC in order to construct 3-D physical and 2-D geomechanical models of sand injection and understanding and modeling hydraulic fracture initiation and propagation and fluid-sand slurry transport during sand injection. As the first component of his M.S. thesis work, Jason mapped the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary deposit in the Gulf of Mexico, employing regional seismic, well-log, and core interpretation in order to evaluate the basin's response to the Chicxulub Impact.

Robert S Reece, Ph.D., expected 2013 (Supervisor)

Kylara Martin, 2012 (Supervisor)


"Subduction Zones: A story of deformation, dewatering, and great earthquakes", Foster-Hewitt Lecture Series, Lehigh Universi, Bethlehem, PA (2004)

"3-D images of the outer Nankai accretionary margin: Reconstructing a prism", Seminar Series, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (2003)

"Tectonic interplay between oblique subduction and Mendocino triple junction migration along the southern Cascadia subduction zone, offshore northern California", to be entered, Seaside, OR (2000)

"Tectonic interplay between oblique subduction and Mendocino triple junction migration along the southern Cascadia subduction zone, offshore northern California", to be entered, Seaside, OR (2000)

"Mendocino triple junction influence on and neotectonic implications of seismically imaged Quaternary faulting in the offshore Eel River forearc basin, northern California", 2000 PANGA meeting, Corvallis, OR (2000)

Research in Marine Geology and Geophysics (Graduate)
There are opportunities for research within Marine Geology and Geophysics.