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Daniel M. Davis

Research Professor 

A.B., Princeton University, 1978
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983
Postdoctoral Fellow, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, 1983-84
Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, 1984-86
Faculty member at Stony Brook since 1986

Professor Davis' two main areas of research interest involve the use of analog modeling to study the mechanics of large-scale crustal deformation and application of field geophysical methods to the study of Quaternary geology. Recent work in tectonics has focused on topics including strain partitioning at obliquely convergent plate margins and the mechanics of thin-skinned mountain belts and accretionary wedges. Research interests in field geophysics involves the use of ground penetrating radar and resistivity to study glaciotectonic folding and recent dune formation on Long Island.

Mechanics of Thin-skinned Tectonics

Davis uses analog scale modeling to study how the mechanical properties of mountain belts affect their fundamental attributes, including size, shape, and the rate, style, and distribution of strain. His work focuses on understanding the roles of such factors as the thicknesses and lithologies of the regional stratigraphic column, the presence of basement structure, and the distribution of excess pore fluid pressures. Davis is studying the seismicity and tectonics of the mountain belts of Pakistan to understand better processes such as oblique plate convergence and the influence of thick continental margin sedimentary sequences on the mechanics of overthrusting. A large analog modeling apparatus is used to study processes associated with oblique convergence. Using automated quantitative analysis of digital images of experiments, Davis and his students have been studying strains associated with convergence in models of varying obliquities and with different rheologies and boundary conditions.

Field Geophysics and Quaternary Geology 

Davis and and his students have been applying field geophysical techniques to the study of young geological features on Long Island. Through a combination of ground-penetrating radar surveys and traditional field geology, they have been characterizing the internal structure of the push moraines of Long Island, which contain folds and thrusts that are in many ways analogous to structures in tectonic foldbelts. These contractional features are often immediately adjacent to glaciofluvial features such as subglacial tunnel valleys. Other glacial features under study include kettle holes, some of which hold proglacial loess deposits that can be mapped out using a combination of GPR and resistivity surveys. They are also using GPR and subsurface sampling to study the internal structure of active parabolic dunes that are advancing across a forest. These features provide a useful analog for Pleistocene parabolic dunes that they have also studied using the same techniques.

Selected Publications

Girardi, J.D. and D.M. Davis, Parabolic dune reactivation and migration at Napeague, NY, USA: Insights from aerial and GPR imagery, Geomorphology 114, 530–541, 2010. 

Haq, S.S.B., and D.M. Davis, Mechanics of Forearc Slivers: Insights from Simple Analog Models, Tectonics, in press, 2010.

Haq, S.S.B., and D.M. Davis, Interpreting finite strain: Analysis of deformation in analog models, J. Structural Geology, 31, 654-661, 2009.

Haq, S.S.B., and D.M. Davis, Extension During Active Collision in Thin-Skinned Wedges: Insights From Laboratory Experiments, Geology, 36. 6. 475-478, 2008.

Davis, D.M., Pangaea Two: a geophysicist's perspective, Erwagen Wissen Ethic, 14, 1, 90-91, 2003.

Bernard, M., B. Shen-Tu, W.E. Holt, and D.M. Davis, Kinematics of active deformation in the Sulaiman Lobe and Range, Pakistan, J. Geophys. Res., 105,13,253-13,279., 2000.

Pacanovsky, K. M.., Davis, D. M. , Richardson, R. M., and Coblentz, D. D., Intraplate stresses and plate-driving forces in the Philippine Sea Plate J. Geophys. Res.. 104, 1095-1110, 1999.

Davis, D. M., and L.R. Sykes, Geologic constraints on clandestine nuclear testing in South Asia, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA, 96, 11,090-11,095, 1999.

Haq, S.S.B and Davis, D.M. (1997). Oblique convergence and the lobate mountain ranges of western Pakistan, Geology, 25, 23-26, 1997.

Nyffenegger, R., Davis, D.M., and G.J. Consolmagno, Frictional Faulting and Tectonic Lineations on a Relatively Simple Body (Ariel), Planetary and Space Science, 45, 1069-1080, 1997.

Wang, W.-H. and Davis, D.M., Sandbox model simulation of forearc evolution and noncritical wedges. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 11329-11339, 1996.

Davis, D.M., Accretionary Mechanics with Properties that Vary in Space and Time, in, G.E. Bebout, D.W. Scholl, S.H. Kirby, and J.P. Platt (eds.), Subduction: Top to Bottom, Geophysical Monograph 96, p.39-48, American Geophysical Union, 1996.