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Molnar, Peter Hale Distinguished Professor

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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

Background

awards and honors

International Activities