Photo Credit: Benjamin Brunner

Geological Sciences Ph.D. student, Felix Ziwu (Advisor: Diana Doser) has received a scholarship from the Alaska Geological Society.  Felix will use this scholarship to support his research in the Cook Inlet basin and the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska where he is studying how the collision of tectonic plates is causing subsidence of Cook Inlet and the uplift of the Kenai Peninsula. This very low angle of subduction transmits considerable stress onto the overlying North American plate which causes some of the most intense deformation and largest earthquakes observed in the world.

The focus of Felix’s research is to determine what is driving these increased deformation rates; is it due to serpentinization or to flat slab subduction? If serpentinization is the cause, then there should be serpentinization beneath the Kenai Peninsula and not beneath Cook Inlet because the Kenai Peninsula is rising relative to Cook Inlet. Felix is proposing to use various geophysical methods to determine the locations and extent of serpentinized rocks in the area and will also collect additional gravity data to fill-in gaps on the Kenai Peninsula.  By combining multiple geophysical studies, Felix hopes to determine the properties of the crust to a depth of about 20 km in an effort to resolve this question.

Felix has also recieved a travel scholarship for the EarthScope National Meeting, to be held in Anchorage, Alaska from May 16-18, 2017, where Felix will present the results and interpretations of his Ph.D. research.