Deformation Research Group Banner

I have been fortunate to have a series of exceptional students work with me in the lab over the last few years.  To date, six students have gained their MS degrees, and fourteen undergraduates have gained research experience in the Deformation Research Group.

Graduate Students

Marques HatfieldMarques Hatfield (MS 2018) worked on penetrative strain in the CO Front Range, trying to find a way to link the theoretical framework for penetrative strain magnitude and distribution with the amount of penetrative strain that can be calculated in the field and from thin sections.  He ran a series of analog models to test his theoretical results and his work will be published with Jimmy's and Nicole's in the future. Marques is now working for Glorieta Geoscience.

Jason PaluJason Palu (MS, 2017) worked on the effect of basement faults on subsequent deformation, using the the southern Sawtooth Range, MT as his field area.  He used analog models and remote sensing, coupled with the fieldwork, to come up with a model for the basement fault geometries associated with the Scapegoat-Bannatyne Trend, part of the Great Falls Tectonic Zone.  In his model, the Scapegoat-Bannatyne Trend is made up of a series of en-echelon fault strands, which generated patterns in the models similar to those observed in the field.  This is supported by potential fields data across Montana, that appears to image segmentation in the GFTZ faults.

Matthew Peppers

Matthew Peppers graduated with his MS in 2015. He worked  on characterizing natural fracture systems. His thesis was adapted, peer-reviewed, and accepted for publication in the AAPG Bulletin (Fracture Characterization in Tight Carbonates: an example from the Ozark Plateau)

DOI:10.1306/01251715242]. Matt is currently employed as a Geologist for the Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation. His primary role is that of a development Geologist, working in their Appalachia Business Unit, but has also had the opportunity to utilize his structural background in petroleum systems assessments, prospect generation, and collaboration projects with engineering disciplines.

Nicole Pierson

Nicole Pierson graduated with her MS in 2014.  Her project consisted of field and analog modeling work on penetrative strain which laid the groundwork for all subsequent work in this group.  She verified the method that the group uses to determine penetrative strain in clastic units, and made the first-pass comparison to analog models. Nicole's thesis work will be published in conjunction with Marques's work in the future. She presently works as a Senior Technical Specialist II at IHS Markit.

Mjahid HamidMjahid Zebari graduated with his MS in 2013. Mjahid's project consisted of assessing deformation styles in northern Kurdistan, and relating that variation to the presence of a basement lineament.  He carried out both remote sensing work and detailed fieldwork, constructing and balancing two cross-sections from Recent units down to the Triassic detachment. His MS work was accepted for publication by GeoArabia and the paper appeared in 2015. After graduation, he went back to Kurdistan to teach at Salahaddin University. He is now studying for his PhD at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. 


Lubna Al-AzriLubna Al-Azri (undergraduate researcher) worked on interpreting seismic data from the West Cam field in the Gulf of Mexico.  This involved a series of iterations between fault interpretations and horizon interpretations in Petrel.  She has generated a series of detailed horizons and a robust network of normal faults. Her interpretations have laid the groundwork for detailed analysis of the fault interactions in the future, as the different fault sets are not contemporaneous.  Lubna graduated from UNL in 2017 with a major in geology and minors in business and mathematics.  She has returned to her home country to work.

Shelby ChandlerShelby Chandler (undergraduate researcher) worked on interpreting karst features in a seismic dataset.  Her work was published by the AAPG Bulletin in 2016. Presently, she is living and working in Columbus, Ohio but plans to make Omaha her home again some day.  She is working for a staffing agency as a catch-all Administrative Assistant.  She is writing and starring in staffing videos, creating ads and spearheading the social media marketing, and being an all-around Butt Kicker.  Her goal is to take these experiences and apply them at a Geoscience company in the future!

Tatiana DavilaTatiana Davila (undergraduate researcher) worked on fracture and lineament interpretation across SE Nebraska and N Kansas.  She used satellite images to map lineaments across the study area and followed this up with fieldwork to measure fracture orientations, discovering some truly spectacular outcrops of fractured limestone.  Her results indicate that the lineament analysis is indeed picking up dominant fracture orientations in the area, potentially related to the reactivation of Midcontinent Rift or Nemaha Uplift faults. Tatiana graduated from UNL in 2014 and now works as a staff scientist for CGRS Inc in Colorado.

Amber FertigAmber Fertig (undergraduate researcher) worked on landslide and fault interpretation across California using GIS.  Amber now works as an Environmental Scientist for the South Dakota Geological Survey. Her job involves making aquifer maps in ArcGIS and taking river discharge measurements and making rating curves as this area of South Dakota floods quite often. Another aspect of her job is to sample groundwater wells for nitrates, phosphorus, heavy metals, and pesticides.

Max GarvueMax Garvue (undergraduate summer intern) worked on microstructural analysis of a series of sandstone and limestone samples from Montana.  He generated a dataset of grain impingement and stylolite photographs, coupled with detailed observations.  Max graduated in 2018 and worked for about a year in Phoenix as Field Geologist at a geotechnical and materials engineering firm, where he spent hisdays collecting soil samples with a drill rig for the lab to run tests on foundation stability corresponding to the type of proposed development. Since then he has been accepted into a MS program at Virginia Tech with the Active Tectonics and Geomorphology group. His research focus is on the East California Shear Zone investigating strike-slip fault evolution.

Shawn HermanShawn Herman (undergraduate researcher) worked on the geology of Nebraska wines, using GIS and databases to compile terroir data for wineries across the state.  Terroir includes climate and soils, amongst other things, and the fertility of any given soil is partly a function of the underlying bedrock from which that soil is derived. Features such as soil type, topography, local slope, underlying geology, and successful grapes at each winery were compiled and plotted, showing that the most fertile soils occur on the outcrops of the Dakota Formation.  Shawn now works for Benesch in Lincoln, NE, and is getting his MS through Missouri S&T.

Cole JohnsonCole Johnson (undergraduate summer intern) spent his final summer at UNL running a series of models looking at the effect of a pinch out of an upper detachment horizon. The geometry of the pinch out was systematically varied, and was oblique to the transport direction, and the resultant variation in the fold belt will be assessed.  A final model compared the effects of a thick and thin detachment.  These results will build on previous work looking at pinch-out geometry for a paper in collaboration with researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden.  Cole graduated from UNL in 2017, with a degree in geology.

Amanda JonesAmanda Jones (undergraduate researcher) worked in the analog modeling lab systematically testing the effect of erosion events on the geometry of developing thrusts and the thrust belt as a whole.  Having graduated, she works at the Nebraska Department of Environmental and Energy (NDEE)  as the Underground Injection Control and Mineral Exploration Program Coordinator. She performs hydrogeologic reviews of various state, federal and private projects and programs to determine effects on groundwater quality and recommend possible courses of action. As UIC/ME coordinator she is directly responsible for reviewing, permitting, and inspecting projects within the State of Nebraska involving the injection of fluid into the subsurface, and mineral exploration endeavours.

Bailey LathropBailey Lathrop (undergraduate researcher, honors thesis) ran and analyzed a series of models in the "theoretical penetrative strain" series.  Her work looked at the magnitude and distribution of penetrative strain in brittle units above a ductile decollement.  She found significant differences between this scenario and the frictional-based system previously run.  Her work was published in Lithosphere in 2017.  Bailey won the Fulbright Award and spent 2017 studying and working in the Neuquen Basin, Argentina. She is currently a PhD candidate with the Basins Research Group at Imperial College London studying normal fault kinematics.

Jimmy LoweJimmy Lowe (undergraduate researcher) graduated in Spring 2018. He lives in Kansas City, MO, with his beautiful wife Caitlin and two little girls, Gillian and Louise. He works for Martin Marietta Materials as a geotechnical and mine engineering specialist in the Midwest underground limestone mines. In a nutshell he ensures the global stability of MM’s underground mines, with his primary focus in the Kansas City undergrounds. He feels that he is on a very good career path, so most likely will stick with that, though he still has a desire to go back to school at some point for an MBA, and perhaps a MS in sedimentology and stratigraphy. As a member of the DRG, he worked on thick skinned analog models, changing fault angle and assessing how penetrative strain varied in the system with the change in fault angle.

Aaron PageAaron Page (undergraduate researcher) worked on the geological development of the Sevier fold-thrust belt, and tested the newly built analog modeling rig using the GeoMod 2008 experiments.  Having graduated, Aaron has worked for the USGS paleoseismology division, as a Park Ranger with the Bureau of Reclamation and is currently working for the Far Western Anthropological Research Group; helping with artifact recovery, soil descriptions, and GPS/GIS work.  He will shortly be starting a position with the National Park Service and intends to return to graduate school in the future.

Claire RichardsonClaire Richardson (undergraduate researcher) worked in the analog modeling lab as an assistant, running a series of models in the "theoretical penetrative strain" series.  She looked at the systematic variation in penetrative strain in systems with both a basal and an intermediate detachment, as part of a series of models testing the variation in penetrative strain amount and distribution in different mechanical systems.  Claire interned over the summer of 2017 at ANU, as part of the IRIS internship program worked on geophysical modeling of Zealandia in Fall 2017 and is now studying for her PhD at Arizona State University.

Kolie SmithKolie Smith (undergraduate researcher, honors thesis) worked in the analog lab as an assistant in fall 2016 and later rejoined the group to work on her honors thesis.  She ran a series of analog models with variable cover thickness:detachment thickness ratios, to test how this affects the magnitudes of penetrative strain developed in the layers.  This research is designed to answer questions posed by a reviewer on an earlier paper in the "theoretical penetrative strain" series and is in the process of being written up for publication. Kolie is now working on her MS in environmental engineering at UNL.

Jerlyn SwiatlowskiJerlyn Swiatlowski (undergraduate researcher, summer intern) was one of the first students to work in the analog modeling lab in the summer of 2013. She refined some of the lab practices that are in use today, and created a series of models exploring the results produced when a fold-thrust belt interacts with a series of pre-existing weaknesses. This work was published in the Journal of Structural Geology in 2016.  She found that the fold thrust belt is influenced by the obliquity of the existing weakness with respect to transport direction. She has just defended her PhD at UC Riverside, studying fault creep along Northern Coastal California Faults through InSAR, GPS, modeling, rock mechanics, and photogrammetry.

Return to homepage