Our research aims to understand how faults and fractures initiate and evolve in Earth's brittle crust; how they affect the flow of molten rock, groundwater, and hydrocarbons; and the crucial role faults and fractures play in earthquake generation, folding of sedimentary strata, and volcanic eruption. We use quantitative field data and the principles of structural geology, combined with computer modeling based on continuum and fracture mechanics, to address fundamental questions about the processes of faulting, fracturing, and folding. Our understanding of the geologic structures created by these processes plays an important role in managing resource recovery and in the mitigation of natural hazards. To enhance the precision of our field data, we use the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (ALSM).
- Understanding and quantifying the constitutive properties of granitic rock of the central Sierra Nevada under conditions at the brittle-ductile transition in Earth's lithosphere.
- Mapping and modeling veins and pressure solutions seams in limestone at Raplee Anticline, UT.
- Identifying the mechanisms for the growth of volcanic necks from dikes at Ship Rock, NM.
- Solving the boundary value problem for large, fluid filled fractures in elastic materials with varying driving pressures and pressure gradients.