Department of Geosciences

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

News & Events

New Geosciences Dept Head Leads Field Research in Western USA and Southern Italy

New Geosciences Dept. Head Prof. John Oldow, graduate student Parbin Shilpakar, and undergraduate student Jarvis Cline will be working in northern Nevada and southeastern Oregon in early September using a Terrestrial Laser Scanner to image earthquake faults in the northern Great Basin. The objective of the study is to produce quantitative models of fault scarp morphology and to use the geomorphic models to estimate the age of the pre-historic earthquakes in the region.

Following the Laser scanning project, Professor Oldow and the UT Dallas students, together with faculty and students from the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institute, the University of Oklahoma, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, and Stanford University, will participate in the High Lava Plains seismic experiment. The seismic experiment is the centerpiece of a National Science Foundation EARTHSCOPE research project designed to image deep crustal structure in the northern Great Basin and to assess the relationship between the crustal architecture and volcanism in this tectonically active region of North America.

The students will return to UT Dallas after the seismic experiment, but Professor Oldow will travel to Italy to work with colleagues from the University of Naples and the University of Palermo in a joint geodetic survey of southern Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia. The geodetic survey uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to measure surface motion of the region surrounding the southern Tyrrhenian Sea.

Based on their earlier work, which has been ongoing since 1995, the research team has documented that the region around the Tyrrhenian Sea is rapidly deforming at rates approaching 1 cm/yr. The objective of this new study is to expand the spatial coverage of the geodetic network tof better assess how the crust accommodates the rapid motion associated with the collision of the northern African continent with southern Europe. The complex pattern of deformation is responsible the large earthquakes and related to numerous volcanoes that pose grave geologic hazards for the population of southern Italy.

  • Updated: August 25, 2008