Nancye Dawers - Research and Interests

Research Overview

Research and Interests Research and InterestsResearch and Interests

My research focuses on understanding the processes and time-scales over which brittle faults grow, interact and evolve. This includes studying: 1) the structure of propagating fault tips, 2) the pattern of displacement accumulation on faults, 3) how fault displacements scale with fault length, and 4) the temporal evolution of faults via basin analysis and geomorphic studies.

Geographically, much of my work on fault evolution and tectonic landscape development has been within the Eastern California shear zone and in the northern Basin & Range. I also have projects in south Louisiana looking at recently active "growth" fault systems, including the contribution of these large fault systems to coastal land loss. 

Many of the problems I am interested in are applicable to other terrestrial planets. One of my current interests is in dike-induced graben formation on Mars. These systems preserve information on magmatic rifting that is often erased by erosion and deposition in Earth's rift systems. 

Prior to coming to Tulane, I worked as a Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. While in Edinburgh, I worked mainly on the evolution of Late Jurassic normal faults, in the northern North Sea, using 3D seismic data. I have a continuing interest in utilizing 3D subsurface data in both teaching and research.


Funded Projects

Research and InterestsResearch and InterestsResearch and Interests

NSF/La. EPSCoR, Interaction between faulting and igneous dike injection on Mars: Developing analogues for rift processes on Earth, 2014

La. Board of Regents, Recruitment and mentoring of superior doctoral students in earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University, 2014-2019

Petroleum Research Fund, ACS, Predicting channel geometry in faulted hydrocarbon reservoirs, 2011-2014

Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, Quantifying fault-related subsidence rates and landscape response to faulting in southeastern Louisiana, 2011-2012 (CoPI's Nicole Gasparini, Zhixiong Shen, Tor Tornqvist)

La. Board of Regents, Recruitment of superior doctoral students in earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University, 2005-2012 (Co PI Steve Nelson)

US Geological Survey, Long-Term Estuary Assessment Group (LEAG): The Mississippi River as a supplier and transformer of inputs to the wetlands and gulf: Investigation of subsidence in the lower Mississippi River basin, 2006-2008 (Lead PI John McLachlan)

NSF-Tectonics, Collaborative Research: Reconciling geologic and geodetic rates of deformation: The role of distributed strain in the upper crust, 2004-2007; Extended to 2008 (CoPI’s Eric Kirby, Penn State, & Doug Burbank, UCSB)

NSF-Tectonics, Can we constrain the evolution of crustal-scale normal fault arrays using geomorphic and structural criteria?, 2002-2006; Extended through June 2007 (International Collaborators Alex Densmore, ETH, & Sanjeev Gupta, Imperial College)

Petroleum Research Fund, ACS, The Baton Rouge growth-fault, Louisiana: structural evolution, recent activity and impact on sedimentary dispersal systems, 2003-2006

La. Governor's Office of Coastal Activities, Fault-related changes in Louisiana Coastal Geometry, 2003-2004

Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists' (SIPES) Foundation, Expansion of Tulane’s 3D seismic interpretation lab, 2002

La. Board of Regents' Support Fund, Research Competitiveness Program, Influence of fault growth and interaction on drainage patterns in extensional basins, 2001-2004


Current and Recent Students

Research and InterestsResearch and InterestsResearch and Interests


Michael Hopkins, Ph.D candidate; Landscape evolution in extensional relay ramps: An examination of fluvial system evolution

Elizabeth A.C. Boden, Ph.D. student; Dike-related normal faulting, southwest Tharsis, Mars

Bobola Akintomide, Ph.D. student; Evolution of the Golden Meadow fault and Terrebonne Trough, southeast Louisiana

Chris Young, M.S. student; Using paleolake shorelines as recorders relay ramp deformation



Xu Zhou, M.S., 2015, Fault scaling and population analyses in the Eastern California Shear Zone: Insights into the development of actively evolving plate boundary structures 

Timothy Sheehan, Ph.D., 2007; Evolution of Neogene fault populations in northern Owens Valley, California, and implications for the Eastern California Shear Zone

Emily Martin, M.S., 2006; Fault induced subsidence near Empire and Bastian Bay, Louisiana

Merethe Lindanger, M.S. (non-thesis), 2006

Jennifer Wilson Connolly, M.S., 2005; Thesis: Normal faulting in the Basin & Range: Slip rate modeling and fault population statistics


Other Recent Activities

AAPG, Imperial Barrel Award, faculty advisor, 2014 & 2016

Chair, Graduate Studies Committee, Tulane School of Science & Engineering, 2012-2015

Chair, Graduate Committee, Tulane Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, 2012-2015

Tulane Senate Committee on Research Fellowships, 2012-2014

Geology, Editorial Board, 2009-2011

AAPG 2010 in New Orleans, Vice-Chair of Organizing Committee

GSA, Structural Geology & Tectonics Division, Laubach Research Grant Committee, 2010

GSA, Field Forum Co-leader - Structure and neotectonic evolution of northern Owens Valley and the Volcanic Tableland, California, 2009

AAPG House of Delegates, 2006-2009 (Alternate, representing New Orleans Geological Society)

Tulane School of Science & Engineering Promotion & Tenure Committee, 2007-2010

Newcomb-Tulane College Honor Board Advisor, 2007-2010

Tulane Center for Public Service Executive Committee, 2006-2009

Tulane Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Advisor, 2006-2011

Alumni Board, University of Kentucky Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, 2005-2006

GSA, Structural Geology & Tectonics DivisionBest Paper Award Committee, 2004-2007

New Orleans Geological Society Board, Secretary, 2004-2005

AAPG Academic Liaison Committee, 2002-2005

Special Sessions Convened: SE GSA 2011, AGU 2010, AAPG 2004, AGU 2003, AAPG-SEPM 2001




101 Blessey Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, 504-865-5198