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Research & Initiatives

Solid earth materials record rheological fingerprints in their structures and microstructures. We analyze these fingerprints in the field, and in the lab using X-ray and electron microscopy, and then scale-up our observations with quantitative models of material flow. 

We are passionate about making field opportunities and experiences accessible for everybody. See our Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Initiation and maintenance of subduction plate boundaries 

How do lithosphere-scale plate boundaries form and evolve over their lifetime? We combine field, lab, and numerical techniques to reconstruct structural, metamorphic, and mechanical evolution of rocks in subduction zones.  

Collaborations and Funding: NWO VENI Talent Scheme ("FORCE"), UU Olaf Schuilingfonds, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Caroline Seyler, Matthew Tarling, Oliver Plümper, Martyn Drury

Microtectonic records of conditions and rheology of ancient shear zones

What tectonic histories are recorded in the minerals and microstructures of exhued rocks? What rheological parameters capture the long-term flow behavior of rocks that form in plate boundaries, and what mechanisms can give rise to creep transients? Combining field-scale structural observations, metamorphic petrology, experimental deformation, and electron imaging together provide quantitative constraints and predictive understanding of plate boundary deformation and metamorphism. 

Collaborations and Funding: EXCITE network, Wares Postdoctoral Research Funds (with Prof. Jamie Kirkpatrick, McGill University), National Science Foundation GRFP (2015-2018, PhD research with Prof. dr. Whitney Behr, now at ETH Zürich)

Flow in glaciers and ice sheets

Ice dynamics are the largest source of uncertainty in long-term sea-level rise projections.

We are combining natural observations of ice deformation from boreholes with numerical technique to assess how more realistic ice rheologies affect projections of sea level rise.

Collaborations and Funding: IMAU & Dean's Policy Resources for Strategic Themes Research

Building and evaluating interactive Virtual Field Trips as

accesible alternatives for in-person field learning 

Fieldwork is a fundamental component of geoscience education, but it is exclusionary for students with visible and invisible physical, mental, or financial circumstances that preclude in-personal fieldwork. We are building an iVFT for an ophiolite complex in Canada, to create a virtual environment where students can hone 'field' skills in a challenge-based framework.

Collaborations and Funding: Utrecht University Center for Academic Teaching and Learning,

Utrechts Stimuleringsfonds Onderwijs 2023

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