Our research aims to understand how tectonic and sedimentary processes interact to shape the Earth’s mountains during deformation of the lithosphere.

  • Cerro Balmaceda, Chile
  • Cordillera Chica
  • lago toro
  • basecamp
  • Sunrise on Rio Francia
  • Torres del Paine in the distance
  • Cerro Morado, Argentina
  • Seno Ultima Esperanza, Chile
  • cerro castillo

Questions that drive our work include:

  • What mechanisms drive basin subsidence and large-scale sedimentation patterns?
  • How does the redistribution of rocks via erosion and sedimentation influence depositional style and tectonic deformation?
  • What are the interactions and feedbacks among tectonic activity, sediment supply, global sea level, and climate?
  • How can we improve provenance analysis methods to better constrain sediment source areas, and regional basin paleogeography, and patterns of deformation?

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Current Projects


Sedimentation & tectonics of the Magallanes-Austral foreland basin, Patagonian Andes

  • National Science Foundation EAR-Tectonics (PI, Award #1550091, 2016-2019): “Global eustasy or tectonic subsidence? Investigating controls on basin evolution during Cenozoic plate reorganization, Magallanes Basin, Patagonia
  • FONDECYT (funded international collaborator, Award #1161818 to M. Calderón, 2016-2019): “Tectonic evolution of Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous oceanic basins related to the drift of Antarctic Peninsula away from South America and generation of Chilean ophiolitic complexes”
Related Work
  • Stright, L., Jobe, Z., Fosdick, J.C., Bernhardt, A., 2017, Modeling uncertainty in the three-dimensional structural deformation and stratigraphic evolution from outcrop data: implications for submarine channel knickpoint recognition: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 86, p. 79-94.
  • Schwartz, T.M., Fosdick, J.C., and Graham, S.A., 2016 Using detrital zircon U-Pb ages to calculate Late Cretaceous sedimentation rates in the Magallanes-Austral basin, Patagonia, Basin Research, p. 1-22, doi10.1111/bre.12198. PDF
  • Fosdick, J.C., Grove, M., Graham, S.A., Hourigan, J.K., Lovera, O, Romans, B.W., 2015, Detrital thermochronologic record of burial heating and sediment recycling in the Magallanes foreland basin, Patagonian Andes: Basin Research, v. 27, p. 546-572. PDF
  • Fosdick, J.C., Graham, S.A., and Hilley, G.E., 2014: Influence of attenuated lithosphere and sediment loading on flexure of the deep-water Magallanes retroarc foreland basin, Southern Andes, Tectonics, v. 33, p. 2505-2525. PDF
  • Fosdick, J.C., Grove, M., Hourigan, J.K., and Calderón, M., 2013, Retroarc deformation and exhumation near the end of the Andes, southern Patagonia: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 361, p. 504-517. PDF
  • Fosdick, J.C., Romans, B.W., Fildani, A., Calderón, M.N., Bernhardt, A., and Graham, S.A., 2011, Kinematic history of the Cretaceous-Neogene Patagonia fold-thrust belt and Magallanes foreland Basin, Chile and Argentina (51°30’S): Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 123, p. 1679-1698. PDF

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Exhumation, deformation, and basin dynamics  of the Argentine Precordillera, southern Central Andes

  • NSF Earth Science Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2014) EAR-1049605: “Assessing patterns of deformation across the Precordillera thrust-belt of northwestern Argentina”
Related Work
  • Reat, E.J.* and Fosdick. J.C., 2018, Basin evolution during changes in Cretaceous-Oligocene sediment routing in the Eastern Precordillera, Argentine Andes, Journal of South American Earth Sciences. (pdf)
  • Fosdick, J.C., Carrapa, B., Reat, E.J., Ortiz, G., and Alvarado, P., 2017, Retroarc basin reorganization and aridification during Paleogene uplift of the southern central Andes: Tectonics, v. 36, p. 493-514. (pdf).
  • Val, P., Hoke, G.D., Fosdick, J.C., and Wittmann, H, 2016, Dynamics of erosion in a compressional mountain range revealed by 10Be paleoerosion rates, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 450, pp. 173–185. (pdf)
  • Ortiz, G.*, Alvarado, P., Fosdick, J.C., Perucca, L., Saez, M., and Venerdini, A., 2015, Active deformation in the northern Sierra de Valle Fértil, Sierras Pampeanas, Argentina: Journal of South American Earth Sciences, v. 64, p. 339-350, doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2015.08.015. (pdf)
  • Fosdick, J.C., Carrapa, B., and Ortiz, G., 2015, Faulting and erosion in the Argentine Precordillera during changes in subduction regime: reconciling bedrock cooling and detrital records: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 432, p. 73-83, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.09.041. (pdf)

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Detrital provenance methods to assess Quaternary transform fault displacement

  • Southern California Earthquake Center Grant (2014), Award #140414: Quaternary fault slip behavior of the mission creek fault of the southern San Andreas Fault Zone, CA: Part II – Constraining Sedimentary Provenance and Fault Displacements of Pleistocene Alluvial Fans.
  • Southern California Earthquake Center Grant (2017) Award #17205: Understanding strain accumulation and transfer between the SSAF, San Gorgonio Pass and the ECSZ.
Related Work
  • Fosdick, J.C., Blisniuk, K., and Wersan, L., 2016, Sedimentary provenance constraints on the Quaternary faulting history of the Mission Creek fault strand, southern San Andreas Fault Zone, CA: Southern California Earthquake Center Annual Meeting, Palm Springs, #122.
  • Wersan, L., Blisniuk, K,E., and Fosdick, J.C., 2015, Reinvestigating the Mission Creek Fault: Holocene slip rates in the Northern Coachella Valley and implications for Southern California earthquake hazard assessment: GSA Annual Meeting, Baltimore.