Sean Gulick, UTIG Research Associate Professor
Research Associate Professor
Ph.D., Lehigh University (1999); B.S. University of North Carolina (1993).
email: sean at ig.utexas.edu
Active tectonics: convergent margins, transitional tectonics and
microplates, seismic hazards, and tectonic-glacial climate interactions.
Impact cratering: Chicxulub, mass extinctions, and impact deformation.
Sean's primary scientific interest is
in the examination of deformation of the Earth in convergent margins, complex
transitional tectonic environments such as microplates, and the massive
deformation due to bolide impacts. Convergent margins represent the most
numerous and potentially most deadly locales for earthquake production, requiring
a greater understanding of the interplay of subduction zone tectonics,
structural deformation, accretionary prism development, and migration of fluids
and gases from deep in the accretionary margin to the seafloor. Deformation in
active tectonic regimes affects the geologic record of the continental margins
and basins through sediment deformation, uplift and/or subsidence, orogenesis,
and interplay with climate. A completely non-tectonic source of deformation in
the earth and yet vital to understanding the planet's history are impacts from
meteors and comets and their effect on global climate and life. 2-D and 3-D
seismic reflection techniques provide both regional and/or local information
regarding the nature and timing of the deformation, yield partial geologic
histories of basins, and can be used to examine the physical properties of the
fault zones. Information gathered by the marine geophysical techniques is even
more powerful when ground-truthed using ocean drilling and/or direct submersible
Current projects that Sean, his students, and colleagues are working on tectonic and climate interactions in the St. Elias Mountains, geohazards of subduction and transform faulting in Alaska, Sumatra, and Japan, and the geologic processes and environmental effects of the Cretaceous-Paleogene Chicxulub meteor impact. To test some key hypotheses of how glacial erosion can perturb tectonics Sean will be serving as co-chief on the upcoming Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 341: Southeast Alaska tectonics and climate. Planning and final surveying are also underway for IODP drilling into the Chicxulub impact structure.