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Current Research

Geoscience Tetrahedron


We envision the intellectual discipline of geoscience as a dynamic tetrahedron. Its volume includes the Earth system as a whole. Its six edges connect the four vertices:  the rock record, the solid Earth, the fluid Earth, and the living Earth. Below are some examples of current research projects. To search for other projects, follow the links below.

Peters, S. E., and R. R. Gaines (2012), Formation of the 'Great Unconformity' as a trigger for the Cambrian explosion, Nature, 484, 363-366.


Active grants awarded by NSF  (as of August 2010)

Geoinformatics: Leveraging the Paleobiology Database for Research, Education, Mentorship, and Interoperability
Friction and aging of silica: atomistic simulations for fundamental understanding of earthquake mechanics

Structure, Stress, Earthquake Sources, and Dynamic Triggering in Katmai, Alaska

Student Support for 2010 Electron Backscatter Diffraction Topical Conference
Roles of Dissolved Methane and Sulfide in Sedimentary Dolomite Formation

Joint Seismic and Magnetotelluric Imaging of the San Andreas Fault ZoneLithium Isotopes and Mineral Inclusions in Zircons-4.4 Ga to Recent
Acquisition of an X-ray diffraction unit for earth science research and education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Macrostratigraphy and macroevolution in North America: a test of the common cause hypothesis
Study on Nano-phases and Microstructures in Rutile and Pyroxene From Ultrahigh-pressure Metamorphic Rocks: TEM Investigation and Computer Modeling

Facility Support: The Wisc-SIMS National Ion Microprobe
Lying in Wait? Evolution of Dacite Beneath Santa Maria Volcano, Guatemala
Triggering of earthquakes over long times and distances: models for the June 2000 sequence in Iceland
Pressure Gradients to Test the Relative Importance of Hydrologic Versus Mechanical Heterogeneity in Fracture Formation
ISES - Integrated Solid Earth Sciences
Characterization of fault zone sediments from borehole logging data at the Nankai Trough (NanTroSEIZE Project)
CAREER: Mineral Surface Mediated Organization of Biological Macromolecules
RAPID InSAR response to volcanic eruption in Iceland


Artist’s conception illustrating the three-dimensional geometry of the plumbing (left) and timing of events (right column) at Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Zina Deretsky, U.S. National Science Foundation.


Comprehensive Study of the Mid-Cenozoic Liverpool, Australia, Reversal: Construction of a Highly Detailed, Full-Vector Paleomagnetic Record From Southern Hemisphere Lavas
Collaborative Research: Geodetic measurements and mechanical models of the volcano deformation cycle
Collaborative Research: Use of Novel True Triaxial Tests and Shear Band Theory to Determine Failure Properties of Compactive Porous Sandstones Collaborative Research: Improved Constraints on Holocene Retreat History of the Laurentide and Scandinavian Ice Sheets from Cosmogenic Dating and Implications for Sea-level Rise
Collaborative Research: Integrating Radioisotopic and Astronomical Time Scales for the Cretaceous
Collaborative Research: Impact of Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity of Soil Cracking on Watershed Hydrology
Collaborative Research: Growth of the Tibetan Plateau and Eastern Asia Climate: Clues to Understanding the Hydrological Cycle

Collaborative Research: Earthquake triggering by slow slip events beneath Kilauea's south flank

Collaborative Research: Deformation and Magmatic Modification of a Steep Continental Margin, Western Idaho-eastern Oregon


Seismology Lab

Graduate student Matthew Kogle (right) and recent graduate Kelly Hoehn (left) meet in Weeks Hall to discuss locations in southern Wisconsin that were visited as part of the USArray program. Kogle and Hoehn logged thousands of miles driving rural Wisconsin roads searching for appropriate locations and seeking permission from landowners to place the equipment on their property. Photo: Bryce Richter

Collaborative Research: Linking loess landforms and eolian processes
Collaborative Research: Floral and Faunal Community Responses to Late-Quaternary Climate Change

Collaborative research: A study of transient aseismic slip and non-volcanic tremor in southern Mexico with large aperture seismic and GPS arrays
Collaborative Research: Continuation of a GPS Study of the Subduction Earthquake Cycle: Jalisco, Mexico
Collaborative Research: Taiwan Integrated Geodynamic
Research (TAIGER)
Collaborative Research: A 3D Seismic Investigation of the Nankai Trough plate boundary system in the Kumano Basin
Collaborative Research: Geodetic measurements and mechanical models of rifting in onshore segments of mid-ocean ridges

Collaborative Research: Experimental Determination of Iron (Fe) Isotope Fractionations in Sulfide Minerals
Collaborative Research: An Integrated GPS and Structural Study of the Cocos-Caribbean Boundary in Nicaragua and El Salvador

Collaborative Research: Laboratory Study of the Mechanics and Physical Properties of the Active San Andreas Fault Zone From Phase III SAFOD Cores
Collaborative Research: An Integrated Tectonic Study of the Jamaica Strike-slip Restraining Bend and Gonave Microplate Using GPS, Geomorphologic, Seismic, and Gravity Data
Collaborative Research: Using Pore Fluid Collaborative Research: Theoretical and Experimental Investigations on the Role of Iron in the Physics and Chemistry of the Lower Mantle

To search for more research projects, follow the links below:

Dynamic Tetrahedron of Geoscience