Home » Research

  1. Middle-late Cenozoic uplift and climate change in the central Rockies
  2. This project investigates the uplift history and associated climate changes of the central Rocky Mountains in Wyoming during the middle and late Cenozoic, and constrain the timing of a regional depositional environment transition from water-lain sedimentation to eolian sedimentation. We combine oxygen and clumped isotope ratios of carbonate, and hydrogen isotope ratio of volcanic glass, and petrographic analysis to document surface uplift and climate changes. We combine grain-size analysis, magnetic susceptibility, and detrital zircon geochronology to characterize and constrain the timing of the transition.
    Publications: Hough et al., 2014 (EPSL); Fan and Hough, in review; Fan et al., in review.


  3. Late Cretaceous-early Eocene sedimentary record of the Laramide deformation
  4. This project aims to understand the surface processes and test geodynamic models for the formation of the central Rockies and constrain the role of flat subduction in deforming continental interior. We combine surface uplift constrained by paleoelevation proxies and erosion history constrained by sedimentology, and strontium isotope geochemistry to reconstruct the amount of rock uplift, and document the spatial and temporal patterns in the central Rockies.
    Publications: Fan and Carrapa, accepted (Tectonics), Hyland et al., 2013 (GSA Bulletin), Fan et al., 2011a, b (GSA Bulletin), Fan and Dettman, 2009 (EPSL)


  5. Subsidence modeling and reservoir characterization of the Laramide intermontane basins.
  6. We model the subsidence processes of the major Laramide intermontane basins in Wyoming in order to understand the processes of building topographic load, and changing thermal condition of the lithosphere. Such work aims at testing geodynamic models linking surface deformation to mantle dynamic processes induced by flat slab subduction. Such work, when combined with reservoir characterization, has major implications to the understanding of hydrocarbon reservoirs.
    Publications: Fan, 2014 (Rocky Mountain Geology)


  7. Subsidence history and Tectonic processes of the formation of the Fort Worth Basin
  8. We model the subsidence history and constrain the sedimentary provenance of the Paleozoic Forth Worth Basin in order to understand the tectonic processes forming the basin and the bounding Ouachita orogenic belt. The research tools we apply include numerical modeling, detrital zircon geochronology, and sandstone petrography.


  9. Development of light stable isotope analysis method
  10. Light stable isotope geochemistry, including nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen isotope compositions of a wide range of materials, such as nail, hair, and feather have broad application to environmental science, ecology, and forensic science. We developed analysis method to promote the broad application of light stable isotopes.
    Publications: Fan and Dettman, in review (IHES)