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Publications in VIVO

Mahan, Kevin H



Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My research primarily focuses on deep continental crust, specifically the physical and chemical processes associated with rock deformation. I pursue questions such as: How do variations in mechanical properties, chemical composition or mineral reactions due to changing pressure, temperature, and water availability impact where and on what scale deformation occurs? How do these processes influence the physical properties of the crust? How do they influence our ability to remotely image the structure of tectonic plates through geophysical methods? What do the intrinsic characteristics and evolutionary tendencies of these rocks imply about the growth, modification and/or stabilization of the continents? With these questions in mind, I generally group my research efforts into the following topical areas of deep crustal evolution: 1) deep crustal rheology, 2) seismic and density properties, and 3) accessory mineral petrogenesis.


  • 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 1040 - Geology of Colorado
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022
    Reviews the geologic evolution and history of Colorado. It first develops the basic concepts needed to interpret the geology and then systematically shows how the state evolved through geologic time. Designed for those who enjoy understanding the beauty and splendor of the state.
  • 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 / Fall 2022
    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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