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Trinity's Structural Geology research group (What is structural geology?) has been supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation (Awards #1220235 and #1659322) in which Dr. Surpless and his undergraduate students have investigated problems related to the evolution of fault-related fold systems (Award #1220235) and the development of subsidiary structures associated with normal fault transfer zones (#1659322). In both structural settings, he and his students focused especially on how evolving local stress fields permit the formation and propagation of fracture networks. In the case of fold-related fracture networks, they focused on deformation related to the Laramide Orogeny in west Texas, where the spectacularly well-exposed Stillwell anticline was their outdoor laboratory. In southern Utah, he and his students documented deformation related to the evolution of the segmented Sevier fault zone, where the spectactularly exposed Navajo sandstone permits field-based study of these features. Although a significant portion of data collection took place in the field, they also used techniques that include unmanned-aerial-vehicle photodocumentation, structure-from-motion 3D computer modeling, petrographic analysis, optical CL and SEM analysis, computer kinematic modeling, cross-section construction, and statistical analysis of fracture populations.
Our research group is led by Benjamin Surpless, a structural geologist at Trinity, and over the past several years, undergraduate researchers in our program have made significant contributions to our understanding of the overall fold-fracture system. Click on the links on the left sidebar to learn more.