Earth and Environmental Sciences Faculty

Seth C. Kruckenberg

Associate Professor

Associate Chair


My research aims to understand deformation in the lithosphere over a range of levels, conditions, and spatial scales, with a particular focus on processes that affect its dynamic evolution, including: the growth and collapse of orogenic systems; feedbacks between deformation and melt migration in the mid-crust through upper mantle; and mechanisms of strain localization and rheological weakening. Understanding these processes across a range of spatial scales and tectonic settings requires expertise in a variety of analytical methods, which I believe are best complemented by research fundamentally rooted in comprehensive field-based investigation.

As a quantitative, field-oriented structural geologist, I employ a multi-disciplinary approach to research that draws upon a variety of analytical techniques applicable to tectonic studies, including: detailed field-based mapping and structural analysis, crystallographic textural analysis using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), geochronology and thermochronology studies, and petrologic investigations. These research interests have led to student research opportunities on diverse topics in regions of the Earth spanning from Antarctica to New England.

I am always looking for new students interested in Structural Geology and Tectonics studies, so for more information about current opportunities please see my personal website on the pages linked below.


  • Rebecca Richards: Thesis topic TBD (starting Fall 2020 semester)
  • Miranda Wiebe: Field-based constraints on lower crustal rheology and strain localization processes in the Capricorn Ridge shear zone, Mount Hay block, central Australia (Fall 2020 anticipated graduation)


  • Lauren Shea: Microstructural and textural analysis of naturally deformed granulites in the Mount Hay block of central Australia: implications for the rheology of polyphase lower crustal materials (2019)
  • Martha Parsons: Field and microstructural constraints on deformation conditions and shear zone kinematics in the Burlington Mylonite Zone, Massachusetts (2017)
  • William Montz: Cretaceous partial melting, deformation, and exhumation of the Potters Pond migmatite domain, west-central Idaho (2016)
  • Shaina Cohen: An assessment of heterogeneity within the lithospheric mantle, Marie Byrd Land, west Antarctica (2016)
RECENT PUBLICATIONS ( * = Kruckenberg student coauthor;  = SEM Facility user/collaborator)
  • Chatzaras, V., Tikoff, B., Kruckenberg, S.C., Titus, S.J., Teyssier, C., and Drury, M.R. (2020) Stress variations in space and time within the mantle section of an oceanic transform zone: Evidence for the seismic cycle. Geology, 46(6), 569-573, doi: 10.1130/G47137.1
  • Zhao, N., Hirth, G., Cooper, R.F, Kruckenberg, S.C., and Cukjati, J. (2019) Low viscosity mantle rocks linked to phase boundary sliding. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 517, 83-94, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.04.019
  • Stewart, E., Newman, J., Tikoff, B., Donnely, S., German, L., Chatzaras, V., Lamb, W.M., Miller, B., and Kruckenberg, S.C., (2019) Coupled deformation and melt-migration events recording subduction initiation, Dun Mountain Ophiolite, New Zealand. Geological Society, London Memoirs January 2019, 49(1), 93-117, doi: 10.1144/M49.5
  • Kruckenberg, S.C., Michels, Z.D.  and *Parsons, M. (2019) From intracrystalline distortion to plate motion: unifying structural, kinematic, and textural analysis in heterogeneous shear zones through crystallographic orientation-dispersion methods. Geosphere, special themed issue honoring Arthur W. Snoke: “Active Margins in Transition”; doi: 10.1130/GES01585.1 
  • Xypolias, P. Gerogiannis, N., Chatzaras, V., Papapavlou, K., Kruckenberg, S.C., Aravadinou, E., and Michels, Z. (2018) Using incremental elongation and shearing to unravel the kinematics of a complex transpressional zone. Journal of Structural Geology; doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2018.07.004