Alaska is at the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian continents and the Pacific and Arctic Ocean basins. Because of this unique geographic position, Alaska is at the center of a region that has been geologically dynamic for millions of years. The Tectonics and Sedimentation research group at the Geophysical Institute consists of geologists and geophysicists whose studies aim to develop a better understanding of the history of this region and the processes that have shaped it.
The members of the group represent a diversity of disciplines and research interests, including tectonics and structural geology, sedimentary geology, geochronology, and paleomagnetism. The unifying goal of the group's work is to learn more about the processes and consequences of major movements of the earth's crust. The unusually diverse and complex tectonic activity of Alaska and the surrounding region are recorded in its rocks, providing insights into not only the history of the region but also tectonic processes in general.
The group has worked mainly in northern Alaska, but is involved in other parts of the northern Pacific margin and circum-Arctic region, including the Russian far east. A major focus in the recent past was multi-disciplinary study of the geology of the northeastern Brooks Range in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,sponsored by the petroleum industry and the U.S. Department of Energy. Several faculty members have also participated with the northern part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Trans-Alaska Crustal Transect project. Structural, paleomagnetic, geochronologic, and seismological studies in the Russian Far East are in progress in cooperation with Russian researchers. Numerous other projects have been conducted in cooperation with the Seismology and Volcanology groups of the Geophysical Institute, the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, and other university and government researchers.