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The Hartford Basin: Continental Rift Dynamics

The Hartford rift basin is a relic of the opening of the Atlantic, a failed rift preserving the entire sequence of early Mesozoic continental rifting. Using fault-slip analysis techniques, such as paleostress inversion, I am searching for evidence of previously undocumented tectonic phases. Continental rifting is often characterized by pervasive normal faulting and dike intrusions, but the Hartford basin presents an extensional terrane with ubiquitous strike-slip faults at all scales. The goal of this project is to sort out the phases of deformation responsible for the structures preserved in the Hartford basin in the context of rifting and volcanic passive margin formation. 

Currently in preparation.

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Iceland: Mid-Ocean Ridge Dynamics

Mid-ocean ridges account for the majority of extensional tectonic activity and volcanism on Earth, yet comparatively little is known about the mechanics or dynamics of these systems due to their extreme inaccessibility. Iceland, however, represents an opportunity to investigate an active mid-ocean ridge system using classical field techniques. 

Like the Hartford basin, the tectonics of Iceland can be described as an extensional terrane that is enigmatically dominated by strike-slip faults. I employ field and quantitative structural techniques to document and characterize fault and dike populations, with the goal of better understanding processes such as rift propagation and transform migration.  




Testing the Gauss method

A heterogenous fault-slip dataset is one that contains information about multiple phases of deformation. These data are often quite complex and difficult to separate into solvable subsets, especially with increasing phases and natural dispersions. The Hartford basin is an excellent case study, an example of an ancient terrane preserving many different phases of deformation. 

The Gauss method attempts to separate fault sets based on the statistical distribution of the angular misfits between predicted and observed slip, for any given stress tensor. In the Hartford basin, we have several sources of a priori stress information, including conjugate shear zones, dikes, and current-day stress maps. By using these observations of complete or partial stress tensors, we can evaluate the accuracy of inversions performed on a heterogenous fault population.  The goal is to increase confidence in paleostress inversion results, which are used to make regional tectonic interpretations. 

Currently in preparation.