prof. Thomas Rockwell, Ph.D.

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Dr. Thomas Rockwell is a nationally and internationally renowned paleoseismologist and structural geologist who has published over 160 articles in major international journals, coauthored a number of book chapters, published over 40 papers in conference proceedings and guidebooks, and coauthored several hundred papers presented at professional meetings. He is a professor at San Diego State University in Geological Sciences, having joined the faculty in 1983. He served as Geology Group Leader and on the Planning Committee for the Southern California Earthquake Center for many years, and is now on the Board of Directors. He is an expert on the tectonics and earthquake hazards of southern California and Baja California, has conducted extensive trenching programs to date earthquakes on faults in the western U.S., South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and routinely uses soil stratigraphy and geomorphology combined with various radiometric dating techniques to assess rates of fault activity, determine recency of faulting, and date past earthquakes. In the past decade, he has initiated a number of ground-breaking studies on fault zone architecture and processes in southern California and Baja California. New work on fault zone damage, pulverization, and fluid processes has resulted in over a dozen well-cited papers on this topic since 2006. His other research focuses on understanding earthquake occurrence in time and space. Current projects include the characterization of fault systems behavior by understanding patterns of past recurrence of large earthquakes on faults in southern California, northern Mexico, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Israel. This work includes resolving information on slip per event, as it relates to understanding the controls on segmentation and rupture termination. Current work on fault zone processes initially focused on damage characteristics, but has shifted to the role of fluids and the processes that produce the damage. He has also worked extensively on the affects of tectonism on the landscape, and using geomorphology to constrain rates and timing of tectonic events. Included in this latter aspect is detailed mapping and dating of marine terraces along the west coast of North America and assessment of paleosea level during the late Quaternary. As a consultant, he has worked on numerous critical facilities worldwide, including seismic hazard characterization studies of dams, LNG facilities, nuclear power plants, the Panama Canal Expansion project, and US Government facilities (LANL). He has served on the PPRP for several SSHAC3 SSC (Diablo Canyon, Palo Verde, Korea) and one GMC studies (SWUS), and worked with the IAEA in evaluation of nuclear sites in Turkey, Armenia and Chile. He serves on the Board of Consultants for utility companies in Califrornia, including Pacific Gas & Electric and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and has joined the Advisory Panel for Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaisance (GEER) Association, which coordinates National Science Foundation repsonses to extreme events, such as earthquakes.
Dorsey*, M.T., T.K. Rockwell, G.H. Girty, G.A. Ostermeijer*, J. Browning, T.M. Mitchell, J. Fletcher, 2020 in review, Evidence of hydrothermal fluid circulation driving elemental mass redistribution in an active fault zone. J. Structural Geology, v. 144. Accepted 16 Dec, 2020, online 9 February, 2021.

Levy*, Y., S. Minas, T. K. Rockwell, A. Hughes*, D. H. Rood, 2021 in press, Geological structure of the Sylmar basin: Implications for slip distribution along the Santa Susana fault system in the San Fernando Valley, California, U.S.A. Submitted to Frontiers in Earth Science, May 8, 2020m accepted October, 2020.

Simms, A., D. Rood, and T.K. Rockwell, 2020, Correcting MIS5e sea-level estimates for tectonic uplift, an example from southern California. Quaternary Science Reviews, 248, 106571.

Gold,* P.O., W.M. Behr, J. M. Fletcher, T. K. Rockwell, and P.M. Figueiredo, 2020, Time-Invariant Late Quaternary Slip Rates Along the Agua Blanca Fault, northern Baja California, Mexico. Tectonics, 39 (9)

Cheon, Y., Choi, J-H, Kim, N., Lee, H., Choi, I., Rockwell, T.K., Lee, S.R., Ryoo, C-R, Bae, H., Choi, H. and Lee, T-H. 2020, Late Quaternary transpressional earthquakes along the Southern Yangsan Fault, SE Korea and its paleoseismic significance. Quaternary International, 553, 132-143.

Hughes*, A., R.E. Bell, Z.K. Mildon, D.H. Rood, A.C. Whittaker, T.K. Rockwell, Y. Levy, D.E. DeVecchio, S.T. Marshall, C. Nicholson, 2020, Three-dimensional structure, ground rupture hazard, and static stress models for complex non-planar thrust faults in the Ventura basin, southern California. J. Geophys. Res., on-line June, 2020.

Ostermeijer*, G., T. Mitchell, F. Aben, M. Dorsey, T. Rockwell, J. Fletcher, J. Browning, F. Ostermeijer, 2020, Damage Zone Heterogeneity on Seismogenic Faults in Crystalline Rock; a Field Study of the Borrego Fault, Baja California. J. Structural Geology, 137. Available online 27 February 2020

Blanton*, C.M., T.K. Rockwell, A. Gontz, J. Kelly, 2020, Refining the Spatial and Temporal Signatures of Creep and Co-Seismic Slip Along the Southern San Andreas Fault Using Very High Resolution SfM Imagery, Coachella Valley, California. Geomorphology.

Share, P. P. Taborik, P. Stepancikova, J. Stemberk*, T. Rockwell, A. Wade, R. Arrowsmith, A. Donnellan, F. Vernon, and Y. Ben-Zion, 2020, Characterizing the uppermost 100 m structure of the San Jacinto fault zone southeast of Anza, California, through joint analysis of geologic, topographic, seismic and resistivity data. Submitted to Geophys. Journ. International, November, 2019, accepted, January, 2020.

Fletcher, J., O. J. Teran, T. K. Rockwell, M. E. Oskin, K, W. Hudnut, R. M. Spelz, P, Lacan, M. Dorsey*, G. Ostermijer*, T. M. Mitchell, S. O. Akciz, A. P. Hernandez-Flores*, A. Hinojosa1, S. Arregui-Ojeda, I. Peña-Villa, D.K. Lynch, 2020. The role of misorientation and normal stress on fault zone architecture; a case study of the MW 7.2, 2010, El Mayor Cucapah earthquake. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull..;

Levy*, Y., T.K. Rockwell, J. Shaw, A. Plesch, N. Driscoll, H. Parea, 2019, Structural modeling of the western Transverse Ranges: An imbricated thrust ramp thrust architecture? Lithosphere, 11 (6), 868-883.

Weidman*, L. J.M. Maloney, T.K. Rockwell, 2019. Geotechnical data synthesis for GIS based analysis of fault zone geometry and hazard in an urban environment. Geosphere, 15,

Tymofyeyeva*, E., Y. Fialko, J. Jiang, X. Xu, D. Sandwell, R. Bilham, T.K. Rockwell, C. Blanton*, F. Burkett*, A. Gontz, and L. Bock, 2019. Slow slip event on the southern San Andreas fault triggered by the 2017 Mw8.2 Chiapas (Mexico) earthquake. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2018IR016765.

Kyriakopoulos, C., D.D. Oglesby, T.K. Rockwell, A.J. Meltzner, M. Barall, J. Fletcher, and D. Tulanowski, 2019, Dynamic rupture scenarios in the Brawley seismic zone, Salton Trough, southern California. J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, v. 124,

Phukan*, A., T. J. Braje, T. K. Rockwell and I. Ullah, 2019. Shorelines in the desert: mapping fish trap features along the southwest coast of ancient Lake Cahuilla, California. Advances in Archaeological Practice, p. 1-12. DOI:10.1017/aap.2019.31

Singleton*, D.M., T.K. Rockwell, D. Murbach, M. Murbach, J.M. Maloney, T. Freeman, and Y. Levy*, 2019. Late-Holocene Rupture History of the Rose Canyon Fault in Old Town, San Diego: Implications for cascading earthquakes on the Newport-Inglewood-Rose Canyon Fault System. Bull. Seismo. Soc Am., v. 109, No. 3, 855-874. doi: 10.1785/0120180236

Rockwell, T.K., Masana, E., Sharp, W.D., Stepancikova, P., Ferrater*, M., and Mertz-Kraus, R., 2019, Late Quaternary slip-rates for the southern Elsinore fault in the Coyote Mountains, southern California from analysis of alluvial fan landforms, clast provenance, soils, and U-series dating of pedogenic carbonate. Geomorphology 326, 68-89.

Figueiredo*, P.M., T.K. Rockwell, J. Cabral, and C. Ponte Lira, 2019, Morphotectonics in a low tectonic rate area: Analysis of the southern Portuguese Atlantic coastal region. Geomorphology 326, 132-151.

Hall*, C.M., H. Webb, G.H. Girty, A.A. Allam, T.K. Rockwell, 2018, Weathering history and climate signature of late Pleistocence regolith, Peninsular Ranges, SE California, USA: A case study of a precariously balanced rock, its partially exhumed corestone platform, and encasing saprock. Catena, 172, 719-737.

Hughes*, A, D. H Rood; AC Whittaker; RE Bell; TK Rockwell; Y Levy*; KM Wilcken; LB Corbett; DE DeVecchio; PR Bierman; ST Marshall; LD Gurrola; C Nicholson, 2018. Geomorphic evidence for the geometry and slip rate of a young, emergent, thrust: Implications for hazard assessment and fault interaction in complex tectonic environments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 504, 198-210. Doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.10.003

Figueiredo*, P.M., T.K. Rockwell and J. Cabral, 2018, Pleistocene activity, morphotectonics and seismotectonics of the São Teotónio-Aljezur-Sinceira fault system, southwest Portugal. Resúmenes de la 3ª Reunión Ibérica sobre Fallas Activas y Paleosismología, Alicante, España, 4 p.

Rockwell, T.K., Meltzner, A., and Haaker*, E., 2018, Dates of the two most recent surface ruptures on the southernmost San Andreas Fault recalculated by precise dating of Lake Cahuilla sediments. Bull. Seismo. Soc Am., 108 (5A), 2634-2649. doi: 10.1785/0120170392

Onderdonk, N., S. McGill and T. Rockwell, 2018, A 3700 year paleoseismic record for the northern San Jacinto fault and implications for joint rupture of the San Jacinto and San Andreas faults. Geosphere, V. 14, No. 6, doi:10.1130/GESO1687.1

Peppard*, D.W., H.W. Webb, K. Dennis*, E. Vierra*, G.H. Girty, T.K. Rockwell, C.M. Blanton*, J.K. Brown*, A.I. Goldstein*, K.W. Kastama*, M.A. Korte-Nahabedian*, D. Puckett*, and A.K. Richter*, 2018, Microscale damage characterized within a part of a dismembered positive flower structure, San Jacinto fault, southern California, USA. J. Structural Geology, v. 112, p. 53-68.

Figueiredo*, P.M., Owen, L.A., Rockwell, T., 2018. Revisiting late Pleistocene uplifted marine terraces at South Portugal: new geochronology data and its implications. Proceedings of the 9th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archaeseismology (Koukousioura, O & Chatzipetros, A., Eds), 60-63.

Figueiredo*, P.M., Rockwell, T. K., Cabral, J., Cunha, P., Rood, D., 2018. Quaternary differential vertical motion at SW Iberia inferred by Plio-Pleistocene marine terraces and morphotectonics. Is there a new kid in the block? Proceedings of the 9th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archaeseismology (Koukousioura, O & Chatzipetros, A., Eds), 64-68.

Hogan, P., J. Goodman and T. Rockwell, 2018, New constraints on the location, geometry, slip rate, and seismic potential of the Palos Verdes fault zone, southern Los Angeles Basin, California based on studies for the new affluent outfall tunnel through the Palos Verdes peninsula. Eleventh U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Integrating Science into Policy, Proceedings Volume, 10 p.

Figueiredo*, P.M., Rockwell, T., Cabral, J., 2018. Pleistocene Activity, Morphotectonics and seismotectonics of the São Teotónio-Aljezur-Sinceira Fault system, Southwest Portugal. Proceedings of the 3rd Iberia Meeting on Active Faults and Paleoseismology, 39-42, ISBN: 978-984-909-02473-02475.

Figueiredo*, P.M., Rockwell, T., Cabral, J., Ponte Lira, C., 2018. Morphotectonic analysis of the southern Portuguese Atlantic Coastal Zone- implications for Active Tectonics. Proceedings of the 3rd Iberia Meeting on Active Faults and Paleoseismology, 43-46 ISBN: 978-984-909-02473-02475.

Reynolds*, L.C., Simms, A.R., Ejarque, A., King, B., Anderson, R.S., Carlin, J.A., Bentz, M., Rockwell, T.K., Richmond, B., and Peters, R., 2018, Coastal flooding and the 1861-2 California storm season. Marine Geology v. 400, p. 49-59.

Salisbury*, J.B., R. Arrowsmith, N. Brown, T. Rockwell, S. Akciz, and L. Grant-Ludwig, 2018, The age and origin of small offsets at Van Matre Ranch along the San Andreas fault in the Carrizo Plain, California. Bulletin of the Seismo. Soc. Am., v. 108, No. 2, p. 639-653. doi: 10.1785/0120170162.

Wechsler, N., T.K. Rockwell, Y. Klinger, 2018, Variable slip-rate and slip-per-event on a plate boundary fault: The Dead Sea Fault in northern Israel. Tectonophysics, 722, p. 210-226. available online 27 October, 2017.

Rockwell, Thomas K., 2017, Paleoseismology of the northern Elsinore fault in southern California. Conference Proceedings for the 8th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archeoseismology (PATA), 13 – 16 November, 2017, New Zealand, 4 p.

Gath, E., T. Gonzalez, and T. Rockwell, 2017, Tectonic geomorphology, late Quaternary slip rate, and paleoseismology of the Whittier fault in southern California. Conference Proceedings for the 8th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archeoseismology (PATA), 13 – 16 November, 2017, New Zealand, 4 p.

Ferrater*, M., R. Pallàs, A. Echeverria, M. Ortuño, S. Baize, E. J. Rhodes, R. Arrowsmith, A. Medialdea, J. J. Martínez-Díaz, E. Masana, T. K. Rockwell, H. Perea, E. García-Meléndez, W. D. Sharp, Ramon Arrowsmith, 2017, Lateral slip rate of Alhama de Murcia fault (SE Iberian Peninsula) based on a morphotectonic analysis: Comparison with paleoseismic data. Quaternary International, v. 451, p. 87-100,

Whearty*, J.J., T.K. Rockwell, and G.H. Girty, 2017, Incipient pulverization at shallow burial depths along the San Jacinto fault, southern California. In Fault Zone Dynamic Processes: Evolution of Fault Properties during Seismic Rupture” (Thomas, M.Y., Mitchell, T.M., and Bhat, H.S., eds), AGU Geophysical Monograph 227, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., p. 3-20.

Salisbury*, J.B., T.K. Rockwell, and M. Buga*, 2017, Paleoseismic Evidence for the 21 April 1918 Mw 6.9 Surface Rupture of the Northern Clark Strand of the Central San Jacinto Fault, California. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, V. 107, no. 2, p. 1027-1032. doi: 10.1785/0120160026

Rockwell, T.K., Clark, K., Gamble, L., Oskin, M.E., Haaker*, E.C., and Kennedy, G.L., 2016, Large Transverse Ranges earthquakes cause coastal upheaval near Ventura, southern California. Bull. Seismo. Soc. Am., v. 106, no. 6, p. 2706-2720. doi: 10.1785/0120150378

Ortuño, M., M. Ferrater,* E. Masana, J.J. Martínez-Díaz, R. Pallàs, H. Perea, S. Baize, E. García-Meléndez, T. Rockwell, W.D. Sharp, A. Medialdea, E. Rhodes, P.P. Cunha, R. Sohbati, J.P. Buylaert, A. Murray (2016). Combinación de métodos de datación en cronologías paleosísmicas: el ejemplo de La Hoya (Falla de Alhama de Murcia). Conference paper, Spanish Geological Congress, 4 p.

Simms, A., L. Reynolds*, M. Bentz, A. Roman, T. Rockwell, R. Peters, 2016, Tectonic subsidence of California estuaries increases forecasts of relative sea-level rise. Estuaries and Coasts, published online, 11 May, 2016 DOI 10.1007/s12237-016-0105-1

Ferrater*, M., M. Ortuno, E. Masana, R. Pallas, H. Perea, S. Baize, E. Garcia-Melendez, J.J. Martinez-Diaz, A. Echeverria, T. Rockwell, and W. Sharp, A. Medialdea, E.J. Rhodes, 2016, Refining seismic parameters in low seismicity areas by 3D trenching: the Alhama de Murcia fault, SE Iberia. Tectonophysics, v. 680, p. 122-128.

Haaker, E. C.*, Rockwell, T.K., Kennedy, G.L., Grant-Ludwig, L., Freeman, S.T., Zumbro, J.A., Mueller, K.J., and Edwards, R. L., (2016) Long – Term Uplift of the Southern California Coast Between San Diego and Newport Beach Resolved with New dGPS Survey Data: Testing Blind Thrust Models in the Offshore California Borderland: in Anderson, R. L., and Ferriz, H., Applied Geology in California: Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists Special Publication 26, p. 679-720.

Rockwell, T.K., K.M. Scharer, T.E. Dawson, 2016, Paleoseismology of the San Andreas Fault Zone. in Anderson, R. L., and Ferriz, H., Applied Geology in California: Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists Special Publication 26, p. 721-756.

Figueiredo, P.M., Rockwell, T.K., Cabral, J., 2016. Late Pleistocene deformation at Aljezur fault system, SW Portugal: Seismicity triggering within a slow tectonic rate setting and relationships with sea-level rise, Proceedings of the 7th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archaeseismology, J.P. McCalpin & C.Gruetzner eds.) ISBN 978-0-9974355-2-8.
2020 Jan. - Hokudan, Japan
2019 Oct. – Istanbul, Turkey
2019 Sept. – Prague, Czech Reprublic
2019 July – Dublin, Ireland
2019 June – Barcelona, Spain
2019 April – Seattle (SSA)
- Seismological Society of America – Board of Directors, 2002-2004
- Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) – Board of Directors (1998-2001,2015-present), Planning Committee / Group Leader (1999-2002, 2004-2006, 2009-2010)
- Geological Society of America – Fellow, Assoc. Editor (1986-1988 (intermitant membership)
- American Geophysical Union
- Association of Engineering Geologists (intermitantly)
Consultancy (past year)
LA DWP Board of Consultants, AECOM, WOOD, Fugro, Kleinfelder, Group Delta, Lettis Cons. Int., AES, LA Metro, WSP, PG&E

Reviewer and Panelist (past 10 years)

Journal Reviewer (recent) for:
Tectonophysics, Earth & Plan. Sci. Letters, Geophys. J. Internat., J. Geophys. Res., Earth Science Reviews, J. Mountain Science, Bulletin Seismo. Soc. Am., Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., Annals of Geophysics, Nature Geosciences, Science Advances, Geology.

Student Mentorship
Principal Advisor for 53 MS students at SDSU, numerous MS committee memberships, and 4 co-advised MS students at other universities, Advised or co-advised 4 PhD students at SDSU, co-advised 10 PhD students at other universities.