James Kirkpatrick

Associate Professor

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
3450 University St.
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 0E8

Email: james.kirkpatrick [at] mcgill.ca

Tel: 514.398.7442

Research website



EPSC 203 Course not available

EPSC 350 Tectonics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

EPSC 550 Selected Topics 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


The hundreds of earthquakes that are felt around the world every week are a constant reminder that the Earth is a dynamic place. Appreciating and forecasting the hazard from earthquakes requires an understanding of the stresses that drive faults to fail and what happens to the rocks cut by a fault during slip. These aspects of fault mechanics can't be addressed directly through seismology. My research uses field observations of faults to investigate the earthquake source directly. What can we learn from the rocks themselves? The goal is to use high-resolution digital field data (ground-based LiDAR, differential GPS, structure-from-motion photogrammetry) combined with microstructural work (SEM, TEM, EBSD and microprobe) and statistical and numerical models to show how fault geometry, composition and fluid transport properties control faulting, and more broadly deformation throughout the brittle crust.

Recent Publications

Dascher‐Cousineau, K., Kirkpatrick, J.D., and Cooke, M.L., (2018). Smoothing of Fault Slip Surfaces by Scale‐Invariant Wear. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(9), 7913-7930.

Edwards, J.H., Kluesner, J.W., Silver, E.A., Brodsky, E.E., Brothers, D.S., Bangs, N.L., Kirkpatrick, J.D., Wood, R., and Okamoto, K., (2018). Corrugated megathrust revealed offshore from Costa Rica. Nature Geoscience, 11, 197-202.

Hartman, S.M., Paterson, S.R., Holk, G.J., and Kirkpatrick, J.D., (2018). Structural and hydrothermal evolution of a strike-slip shear zone during a ductile-brittle transition, Sierra Nevada, CA. Journal of Structural Geology , 113, 134-154.

Kirkpatrick, J.D., Shervais, K.A.H., and Ronayne, M.J., (2018). Spatial variation in the slip zone thickness of a seismogenic fault. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(15), 7542-7550.

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