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Molnar, Peter Hale Distinguished Professor

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • My research addresses how mountain ranges are built and how they and other larger-scale crustal movements affect climate on geological time scales. For the first, my focus is largely on high terrain in Asia (Himalaya, Tibet, Tien Shan, etc.) but also smaller features like the Southern Alps of New Zealand. For the second, two questions motivate me: (1) how the growth of the Tibetan Plateau has affected global regional climate like the Indian monsoon, and (2) processes like the closing of the Indonesian Seaway and growth of islands there may have transformed an equable global climate to one with recurring ice ages ~3 million years ago.

keywords

  • Mountain ranges, high plateaus, crustal structure, upper mantle structure, seismic anisotropy, plate tectonics, active faulting, earthquakes, GPS geodesy, Quaternary geology, geophysical fluid mechanics, Rayleigh-Taylor instability, non-Newtonian viscosity, paleoclimate, paleoceanography, stable isotopes, El Nino, ice ages, monsoons,Great American Biotic Interchange

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • FYSM 1000 - First Year Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Provide first year students with an immersive experience in an interdisciplinary topic that addresses current issues including social, technical and global topics. Taught by faculty from across campus, the course provides students with an opportunity to interact in small classes, have project based learning experiences and gain valuable communication skills. Seminar style classes focused on discussion and projects.
  • GEOL 3090 - Developing Scientific Writing Skills
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Focuses on the development of scientific writing skills. Enhances student ability to write professionally, revise text and review the work of others. Writing assignments integrate the subject matter of different topics in earth science. Department enforced prerequisites: a lower division writing course and two of the following: GEOL 2001 or GEOL 2005 or GEOL 2700 or GEOL 3010 or GEOL 3030 or GEOL 3120 or GEOL 3320 or GEOL 3430 or GEOL 3820.
  • GEOL 5700 - Geological Topics Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Offers seminar studies in geological subjects of special current interest. Primarily for graduate students, as departmental staff and facilities permit. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours provided that topics vary.

Background

awards and honors

International Activities