University Distinguished Professor
Tectonics and Geochronology
My research focuses on the tectonic evolution of continental margins, and on developing geochronologic tools to study tectonic processes. Current field-oriented research projects include studies of the:
Geochronologic research is conducted in the Arizona LaserChron Center, which is funded by the National Science Foundation to serve as a national center for geochronologic research. The ALC includes a LA-SC-ICPMS system that is dedicated to U-Th-Pb geochronology/thermochronology, a LA-MC-ICPMS system that is used mainly for Hf isotope geochemistry, and a Scanning Electron microscope for imaging and chemical analysis. My role is to oversee day-to-day operation of the ALC, assist visiting researchers with acquisition and interpretation of data, and help drive the development of new geochronologic methods and applications. Information about the ALC is available at www.laserchron.org.
The main courses that I teach include Physical Geology (Geos251) and Oceanography (Geos 212).
Physical Geology is the entry-level course for Geosciences majors, and covers a broad range of topics in Physical and Historical Geology. The course includes a weekly lab session that includes hands-on work with minerals, rocks, fossils, and maps. Students also attend three one-day field trips on weekends. Enrollment is generally between 100 and 150 students.
Oceanography is a General Education course for students who are not majoring in science. The course is divided into three sections that focus on (1) the nature and origin of ocean basins (plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, sea-floor sediments, seawater chemistry), (2) dynamic processes in the oceans (waves, currents, tides, weather, climate), and (3) marine biology (basic aspects of life, highlights of coastal, open-ocean, and deep-sea communities, impact of human activities). Enrollment is typically 600 students in a lecture section and an additional 200 students in an on-line section.
Additional courses that I have taught include Stratigraphy, Structural Geology, Tectonic Evolution of Western North America, Geology of Arizona, Regional Structural Geology, and Geochronology.
Office: Gould-Simpson Bldg. 529