UHM Dept. of Earth Sciences banner, sunset
over Diamond Head, (c) Ken H Rubin

Geophysics and Tectonics (G&T)

This program takes advantage of the University of Hawaii's mid-Pacific setting to investigate a wide variety of geodynamic, tectonic, and geophysical phenomena that operate over a broad range of scales. Studies in Geophysics & Tectonics at the University of Hawaii are interdisciplinary and include experimental and theoretical developments, field-based observations, and computer simulations. Together, they provide students with a background that combines both geology and geophysics for technical and professional work at industrial, governmental, and academic institutions.

Research Activities

Plate Tectonics and Plate Evolution: Studies of rift propagation and plate break-up; initiation and evolution of continental margins and back-arc basins; relative and absolute motion of plates; thermo-mechanical properties of oceanic lithosphere; mid-ocean ridge dynamics.

Seismology: Theory and analysis of seismic waves from active and passive sources; ocean-bottom geophysical instrumentation (HUGO); surface wave studies of the crust and upper oceanic mantle, multichannel seismic imaging of subduction zones, accretionary prisms, and submarine volcano flanks.

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Mantle flow and mantle plume-plate interaction; upper mantle melting and magma transport; ocean/shore dynamics and nonlinear waves.

Rock Fracture Mechanics: Coupled field, theoretical, and laboratory analyses of the mechanics of fault growth, rock fracture, dike propagation, landslides, and crustal deformation; these topics are relevant to plate tectonics, structural geology, and engineering geology.

Research Divisions