My research interests lie in the general area of mountain building processes. Within this broad theme, I focus on studying processes of arc-continent collision, the structure and kinematics of foreland thrust and fold belts, and the crustal-scale structure and geodynamics of collisional orogens.
Since the early 1990’s my research into arc-continent collision has mostly revolved around the Uralide Orogen of Russia, where perhaps one of the best preserved examples of a Paleozoic arc-continent collision zone outcrops in the southern Urals. More recently, I have expanded this research to include the active arc-continent collision that is taking place in Taiwan. This work has involved detailed, field-based structural geology and sedimentology observations that are integrated with reflection and refraction seismic experiments, geochemistry of arc volcanics, and the petrology of high-pressure rocks to develop process-oriented models for arc-continent collision. This multidiscplinary approach has meant working with scientists from many other areas of Earth Science. Since zones of arc-continent collision are producers of much of the worlds primary economic wealth, especially in the form of minerals, my research has also resulted in a close working relationship with scientists who are interested in integrating the process-oriented models for arc-continent collision with geodynamic models being constructed for the development of massive sulfide deposits.
My research interests are also focused on the crustal-scale structure and geodynamic processes of collisional orogenic belts. This interest is particularly centered around the processes of thrust belt evolution, including fold - fault interactions, kinematics, mechanics, the effect of pre-exisiting basement structures on the structural style, and on the syndeformational sedimentary record. My work integrates fieldwork with reflection and refraction seismic profiling, as well as potential field data to build a 3D crustal model from which a kinematic model is iteratively developed. The integration of different geophysical techniques with field geology is especially important in this work, and I am actively collaborating with geophysicists on various projects from a crustal scale, to high resolution seismics, and petrophysical experiments.