Exploring the physics of earthquakes and landscapes

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Dr. Michael Oskin
Professor of Geology
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Earth and Physical Sciences Building
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Phone: 530-752-3993
Fax: 530-752-0951
Email: meoskin@ucdavis.edu
Office: 3123 EPS
Lab: 2236 EPS

About My Research


As a structural geologist and geomorphologist, I specialize in active crustal deformation and its relationships to surface processes and topography. My research program addresses three themes:

  1. Quantifying variation of deformation rates and their relationship to earthquakes.
  2. Constraining the forces and processes that govern continental deformation.
  3. Predicting topographic responses to the growth of geologic structures.

These themes build toward a common framework for understanding active crustal deformation and its expression in landscapes. The first two research themes differ largely by time scale, with the first focused on short-term deformation processes over one or more earthquake cycles, and the second concerned with longer-term accumulated deformation and time-averaged processes. The third theme includes the development of new tools to quantify deformation from topography. I also pursue the inverse problem of quantifying surface processes from geomorphic responses to crustal deformation.

My current interests include the slip-rate behavior of strike-slip faults, the evolution of plateau landscapes, and the interaction of tectonics, erosion and sedimentation, with fieldwork focused on tectonically active areas of North America and China. My students and I make extensive use of high-resolution lidar topography and remote-sensing imagery in our research. Check out my blog for more information about my current research program.