Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geology and Geophysics

Document Type



This dissertation focuses on the kinematic properties of intracontinental deformation during short geologic time scales. Using three case studies this work characterizes active deformation at varying spatial scales within the continental interior of Eurasia. The far-field effect of the Cenozoic Indo-Asia collision is the driving force controlling deformation within the Eurasian continental interior. Active deformation across the intracontinental Tian Shan range challenges the plate tectonic model that proposes crustal deformation is concentrated along plate boundaries. This work further constrains the active kinematics of intracontinental motion that is necessary to understand the dynamics of the Eurasian intracontinental system. The two standing hypothesis that explain intracontinental deformation include the (A) discrete or (B) diffuse deformation models. While the discrete model suggests deformation occurs primarily along major faults between crustal blocks, the diffuse model suggests motion is distributed throughout the continental interior. On a smaller scale, I examine active deformation of sub-aerial salt bodies. Ephemeral subaerial salt exposure during the evolution of a salt structure can greatly impact the subsequent development and deformation of its tectonic setting. InSAR time series analysis and inspection of individual interferograms confirm that the majority of the salt bodies in western Kuqa are active, with significant InSAR observable displacements at 3 of 4 structures studied in the region. Decoupling between surface salt motion and climatic conditions suggests that the regional tectonic regime controls surface salt displacement rates. Lastly, on a more local scale, this work examines the characteristics of anthropogenic deformation. Unnatural, rapid rates of subsidence and/or uplift have extreme hazard potential because it may lead to infrastructure damage and increased flood potential. Surface subsidence resulting from hydrocarbon extraction has been widely observed across the globe. However, the occurrence of surface uplift caused by fluid injection has only recently been noted and is less documented. An unusual surface displacement distribution at the Dawanqi oil field in the Kuqa fold-thrust belt of northwestern China suggests that fluid extraction may not only cause widespread, irreversible subsidence but also facilitate local uplift.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Webb, Alexander