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Publications in VIVO

Mahan, Kevin H Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My research interests span several orders of magnitude from crustal-scale tectonic processes to microstructural and textural problems. Much of my work focuses on understanding the relationships and feedbacks among crustal deformation, metamorphic, and magmatic processes, and the consequent implications for crustal structure and tectonic evolution of continents. Much of my research involves the integration of tools from structural geology, petrology of all rock types, and geochronology. My current and past research includes general contributions to 1) understanding deep crustal processes through the study of high-pressure rock exposures and lower crustal xenoliths, 2) metamorphic & structural fabric controls on rheology & crustal seismic anisotropy, 3) styles and mechanisms of crustal mass transfer and rock exhumation, and 4) accessory mineral petrogenesis & in situ geochronological techniques.


  • structural geology, metamorphic petrology, geochronology, continental evolution, seismic anisotropy, shear zones, fault zones, rock deformation, lower continental crust, tectonics, rock microstructure


selected publications


courses taught

  • GEOL 2005 - Introduction to Earth Materials
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2021
    Provides introduction to the classification, composition and properties of the materials that compose the Earth, how these materials are studied, and how they are used to interpret Earth history and processes. Required for the Geology major.
  • GEOL 3120 - Structural Geology
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2020
    Introduces the basic principles and processes involved in deformation of natural rocks and minerals and the techniques used to analyze a variety of common geological structures (e.g., fractures, folds, fault zones). Recommended prerequisite: GEOL 2001.
  • GEOL 4719 - Field Analysis and Tectonics of Crystalline Rocks
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2020 / Spring 2021
    Introduces basic and advanced mapping tools and concepts for structural and tectonic analysis of solid-state and magmatic deformation, metamorphism, and fluid flow in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Includes some digital mapping concepts using smartpad and smartphone applications, and computer-based analysis of structure data. Includes multi-day mapping projects in the Front Range, and in western Colorado, southern Wyoming, or northern New Mexico. Also includes introductions to Precambrian tectonic history of western North America and mineral resources of Colorado. Same as GEOL 5719.
  • GEOL 4725 - Field Based Special Topics in Geoscience
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2018
    Explores selected geological subjects of special interest in a field setting. May be repeated up to 8 total credit hours. Same as GEOL 5725.
  • GEOL 5700 - Geological Topics Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    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.
  • GEOL 5703 - Seminar in Tectonics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019
    Focuses on a wide variety of topics related to crust, mantle and whole earth tectonics. Published papers from recent peer-reviewed literature are read and discussed. The format and specific topics will vary each semester (e.g., a relatively focused theme or open format) and will in part be determined by the makeup of enrolled students. Department enforced prerequisite: restricted to graduate students only.


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