My research focuses on the mechanics and kinematics of continental deformation at plate boundaries and spans a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. I examine the geomorphic expression of young, active faults, and I study older remnants of deep-seated ductile shear zones exhumed from greater depth within the lithosphere. I apply a wide range of field, structural/microstructural, geochronologic and analytical methods. For more detail, feel free to check out my group's web page on the 'links' page.

Areas of Expertise

Mechanics and kinematics of deformation in continental lithosphere, rheology of the crust and upper mantle, mechanisms of strain localization, experimental rock mechanics, tectonic geomorphology and long term slip rates on large-scale strike-slip faults.


Research Locations



Current Research Programs & Projects

Long term slip-rate of the Banning strand of the southern San Andreas Fault at Devers Hill

Mechanisms and longevity of strain localization during dynamic recrystallization of olivine aggregates

Present-day rheology of the lithospheric mantle beneath the western Mojave from naturally deformed peridotite xenoliths

Structural evolution and geochronology of subduction complexes in the Betic Cordillera of southern Spain.


Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award - Geological Society of America (2013)

Post-doctoral Research Fellowship - Brown University (2011 - 2012)

Exploration Post-Doctoral Fellowship (declined) - Arizona State University (2011)

Oakley Fellowship - University of Southern California (2010 - 2011)

WISE (Women in Science or Engineering Fellowship) - University of Southern California (2010)

Teaching Award, Petrology - University of Southern California (2008)

Outstanding Graduating Senior, College of Math and Science - California State University Northridge (2006)

Outstanding Graduating Senior, Geology Department - California State University Northridge (2006)

Keck Fellowship - University of Southern California (2006)

L.G. Collins Scholarship - California State University Northridge (2005)

Martin Van Couvering Award - AAPG (2004)

Graduate Students

Rachel Bernard, Ph.D., expected 2018 (Supervisor)
My research, under the guidance of Dr. Whitney Behr, focuses on using peridotite xenoliths to better constrain the rheology of the upper mantle.

Peter O Gold, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Supervisor)

Owen A Callahan, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Committee Member)
My research is focussed on the interplay between fault and fracture permeability, hydrothermal fluid flow, alteration, mechanical properties, and deformation. I am currently working on projects in Dixie Valley, NV, and in the North Cascades, WA. I worked as a geologist in the geothermal industry for 5 years before returning to graduate school.

Kory L Kirchner, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)

Nikki M Seymour (Committee Member)
I am a structural field geologist with a particular interest in large-scale tectonics. My research uses geo- and thermochronology to understand the thermal structure and temporal evolution of rifting at magma-poor margins to answer an unresolved question in plate tectonics -- How do you break a continent?

Alissa J Kotowski (Co-supervisor)

Pamela Speciale (Supervisor)
My research interests include paleopiezometry, rock mechanics and strain localization in the lithospheric mantle. I am 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. I am also exploring the mechanisms and longevity of strain localization in the lithospheric mantle through experimental deformation of dry olivine aggregates.


YearSemesterCourse
2015Spring GEO 394 Rsch Struct Geo Rock Rheology
2015Spring GEO 391 Neotectonics
2014Fall GEO 394 Rsch Struct Geo Rock Rheology
2014Fall GEO 428 Structural Geology
2014Spring GEO 394 Rsch Struct Geo Rock Rheology
2014Spring GEO 391 Microstructures Rock Rheology
2014Spring GEO 291 Neotectonics
2013Fall GEO 380C Advanced Structural Geology
2013Spring GEO 391 Microstructures Rock Rheology