The Structure and Tectonics research group at Northern Illinois University integrates field and laboratory work with numerical, analytical and physical modeling to better understand large- and small-scale deformation processes. These endeavors are important in a wide variety of applications such as hydrocarbon exploration and production, earthquake risk assessment, geological engineering, geothermal energy, waste disposal, groundwater resource management, and predicting the response of glaciers, ice shelves and ice sheets to global climate change.
Graduate students are trained in geological and geophysical field techniques, modern seismic interpretation methods, numerical modeling and quantitative geostatistical and geospatial analysis. This approach leaves them well prepared for additional graduate study, or for an assortment of jobs in the petroleum, environmental, mining and engineering sectors of the job market.
The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences is home to a wide variety of field equipment, computer hardware, software, and laboratory facilities that are used by faculty and students in the Structure and Tectonics research group. Students conduct field mapping with high resolution differential GPS units, use ABAQUS, Poly3D and FRANC to create 2-D and 3-D numerical models of faults, fractures and glaciers, and assemble and analyze their field and laboratory results in ArcGIS databases. Scaled, analog models of upper crustal folding and faulting are conducted in the physical modeling lab.