GE334 Mountain Belts

Quick links


Syllabus [PDF]

Resources on the web

Lecture materials and papers

Student presentations

Lab and field trip materials

Course description

This primary literature synthesis course will guide you through the anatomy and analysis of mountain belts formed at collisional plate tectonic margins. By the end of the course you should be able to: (1) piece together a broad-scale interpretation of the evolution of an active or ancient collisional mountain belt using data and interpretations gleaned from the primary scientific literature, and (2) apply modern microstructural and macro-structural techniques to better understand the deformation history recorded in collisional orogenic belts. In addition to these geoscience-centric goals, this course will also improve your verbal and written communication skills and provide you with experience in accessing, reading, and assimilating scientific literature.


Walter A. Sullivan (Bill)
Office: Mudd 206
Office hours: Monday 12–1, Thursday 2–5, Friday 12–1, and any other time my door is open.

Office phone: 859-5803

Syllabus [PDF]

Read it. Live it.

Resources on the web

Rick Allmendinger's website: Cool structural geology animations and great freeware including Stereonet

Haakon Fosson's online learning tools: Great for understanding flow geometry

GeoMapApp: Super-cool mapping freeware

Google Earth: A very powerful geology tool

VIEPS/Mainz Deformation Microstructures Course: Online microstructural analysis tutorial with many good animations

Bill's mineralogy web page: You'll want this info for some of the labs

Lectures, reading lists, and papers

1. Elements of orogenic belts [PPT]

2. Public Speaking [PPT]

3. Flow geometry and transpressional shear zones —Intro lecture [PPT]. Reading list [DOC]

  • Tikoff and Fossen, 1999 [PDF]
  • Greene and Schweikert, 1995 [PDF]
  • Tikoff and Greene, 1997 [PDF]
  • Czeck and Hudleston, 2003 [PDF]

4.  Dislocation creep and dynamic recrystallization—Intro lectures [PPT] and [PPT]. Reading list [DOC]

  • Hirth and Tullis, 1992 [PDF]
  • Stipp et al., 2002 [PDF]
  • Stipp and Tullis, 2003 [PDF]
  • Law, 1990 [PDF]

5. Kinematic analysis—Intro lecture [PPT]. Reading list [DOC]

  • Platt and Vissers, 1980 [PDF]
  • Lister and Snoke, 1984 [PDF]
  • Passchier and Simpson, 1986 [PDF]
  • Goscombe and Passchier, 2003 [PDF]
6. Acadian and Alleghenian Orogenies in Maine—Intro lectures [PPT] and [PPT]. Thermochronology lecture  [PPT]. Reading list [DOC]
  • Tucker et al., 2001 [PDF]
  • West et al., 1995 [PDF]
  • West et al., 2003 [PDF]
  • West et al., 2007 [PDF]
  • Gerbi and West, 2007 [PDF]
  • Swanson, 1999a [PDF]
  • Swanson, 1999b [PDF]
  • West and Hubbard, 1997 [PDF]
  • Wang and Ludman, 2004 [PDF]

Student presentations [Folder]

Lab and field trip materials

Olympus introduction to polarizing microscopy [PDF]

Optical mineralogy review [PPT]