Terrestrial Laser Scanner used to image fault scarp morphology in the Alvord Desert of southeast Oregon

John S. Oldow

Professor of Geosciences












  • B.S., Geology, University of Washington, 1972
  • Ph.D., Geology, Northwestern University, 1978

Professional Experience

  • 1976-1978         Assistant Professor, Texas Christian University
  • 1978-1983         Assistant Professor, Rice University
  • 1983-1988         Associate Professor, Rice University
  • 1985-1986         Visiting Professor, University of British Columbia
  • 1985-1986         Visiting Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada
  • 1987                   Visiting Professor, University of Naples, Italy
  • 1988-1995         Professor, Rice University
  • 1995-2008         Professor, University of Idaho
  • 2008-Present    Professor and Head, Department, University of Texas at Dallas

Research in Structure and Tectonics

Current research interests are centered on regional tectonics and processes related to active margins.  Work includes projects in the Aleutian Volcanic Arc, Arctic Alaska, northwestern Canada, the northern Puget lowland and central Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, the western Great Basin, and the circurn-Tyrrhenian region of the central Mediterranean.  Primary emphasis is placed on deciphering the three-dimensional geometry and kinematics of transpressional and transtensional deformational belts.  My work is largely field based and includes geologic mapping and the application of structural and stratigraphic analysis, potential-field geophysics, GPS geodesy, and Terrestrial Laser Scanning to regional tectonic problems.  Due to the synthetic nature of my work, close collaboration with other researchers is vital as is the integration of various techniques including: earthquake seismology, reflection and refraction seismology, sedimentology, geothermobarometry, U-Pb and Ar-Ar thermochronology, paleomagnetic analysis, and space and airborne imagery analysis.  Laboratory work uses digital data management systems (GIS), 3D geovisualization techniques, geologic reconstructions derived from stratigraphic, kinematic, and geophysical constraints, and three-dimensional balanced cross-sections to develop regional syntheses and forward models.  My research activities of the last two decades have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Geological Survey, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, the Department of Energy, NATO, and both domestic and foreign petroleum and mineral exploration companies.