Ian Pierce

Ian Pierce

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

I am a geologist who studies the evolution of the Earth’s surface through a lens of tectonics and geomorphology.

I view the motion of tectonic plates as a series of incremental movements during large earthquakes along faults; building mountains, opening basins, and moving continents one rupture at a time through the millenia. These basins and mountains provide the diversity of environments that we live in. I study tectonics during the Quaternary, as much of the evidence of the interaction between tectonic and climatic processes from this period remains readily observable on the landscape. I’m interested in questions about when, where, and how big earthquakes have been in the past.

My research combines satellite and aerial remote sensing, structural geology, paleoseismology, geomorphology, geochronology, and geophysics to study active tectonics and earthquake processes. My current work is focused in the Western US, particularly the Walker Lane, and Central Asia, including the Tien Shan and the Caspian basin.

I’m currently a postdoctoral research fellow working with the University of Oxford Earthquakes and Active Tectonics group. I earned my PhD at the Center for Neotectonic Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. I did my undergraduate studies at Humboldt State University in far Northern California, and grew up in Santa Cruz, California.

  1. Pierce, I. K. D., S. G. Wesnousky, S. Moon, and S. Saha (2021), Testing the synchronicity of splay-fault ruptures in Carson Valley, Nevada, USA. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
  2. Hatch-Ibarra, R., Abercrombie, R.E., Ruhl, C., Smith, K.D., Hammond, W.C., and I.K.D. Pierce (accepted manuscript in press) The 2016 Nine Mile Ranch Earthquakes: Hazard and Tectonic Implications of Orthogonal Conjugate Faulting in the Walker Lane. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
  3. Li, X., Pierce, I.K.D., Bormann, J.M., Hammond, W.C., Zhang, Z., Li, C., Zheng, W., Zhang, P., (2021), Tectonic Deformation of the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau and Its Surroundings Revealed With GPS Block Modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 126, e2020JB020733. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JB020733
  4. Pierce, I. K. D., Wesnousky, S.G., Owen, L.A., Li, X, Bormann, J. M., and M. Caffee (2021), Accommodation of shear in an incipient strike-slip system: the Central Walker Lane, Tectonics.
  5. Koehler, R.D., Dee, S., Elliott, A., Hatem, A., Pickering, A., Pierce, I., Seitz, G., (2021) Field Response and Surface‐Rupture Characteristics of the 2020 M 6.5 Monte Cristo Range Earthquake, Central Walker Lane, Nevada. Seismological Research Letters.
  6. Thompson Jobe, J., Philibosian, B., Chupik, C., Dawson, T., Gold, R., Bennett, S., Pierce, I., Kendrick, K., Swanson, B., Ladinsky, T., DuRoss, C., Haddon, E., Seitz, G., (2020) Evidence of Previous Faulting along the 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Ruptures, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America.
  7. DuRoss, C.B., Gold. R.D., Dawson, T., Scharer, K. M., Kendrick, K., Akciz, S., Angster, S. J., Bachhuber, J., Bacon, S. N., Bennett, S., Blair, J. L., Brooks, B., Bullard, T., Burgess, P., Chupik, C., DeFrisco, M., Delano, J., Dolan, J., Frost, E., Graehl, N., Haddon, E., Hatem, A., Hernandez, J., Hitchcock, C., Hudnut, K., Thompson Jobe, J. A., Koehler, R., Kozaci, O., Ladinsky, T., Madugo, C., McPhillips, D., Milliner, D., Morelan, A., Olson, B.,Patton, J., Philibosian, B., Pickering, A. J., Pierce, I., Ponti, D. J., Seitz, G., Spangler, E., Swanson, B., Treiman, J., Valencia, F., Williams, A., Zinke, R., (2020), Surface Displacement Distributions for the July 2019 Ridgecrest, California Earthquake Ruptures, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
  8. Ponti, D. J., Blair, J. L., Rosa, C. M., Thomas, K., Pickering, A.J., Akciz, S., Angster, S., Avouac, J.P., Bachhuber, J., Bacon, S., Bennett, S., Blake, K., Bork, S., Brooks, B., Bullard, T., Burgess, P., Chupik, C., Dawson, T., DeFrisco, M., Delano, J., DeLong, S., Dolan, J., Donnellan, A., DuRoss, C., Ericksen, T., Frost, E., Funning, G., Gold, R., Graehl, N., Gutierrez, C., Haddon, E., Hatem, A., Helms, J., Hernandez, J., Hitchcock, C., Holland, P., Hudnut, K., Kendrick, K., Koehler, R., Kozaci, O., Ladinsky, T., Leeper, R., Madugo, C., Mareschal, M., McDonald, J., McPhillips, D., Milliner, C., Mongovin, D., Morelan, A., Nevitt, J., O’Neal, M., Olson, B., Oskin, M., Padilla, S., Patton, J., Philibosian, B., Pierce, I., Pridmore, C., Roth, N., Sandwell, D., Scharer, K., Seitz, G., Singleton, D., Smith-Konter, B., Spangler, E., Swanson, B., Jobe, J. T., Treiman, J., Turner, F., Williams, A., Xu, X., Zachariasen, J., Zimmerman, J., Zinke, R., (2020) Documentation of surface fault rupture and ground deformation features produced by the Ridgecrest M6.4 and M7.1 earthquake sequence of July 4 and 5, 2019, Seismological Research Letters.
  9. Pierce, I. K. D., Williams, A., Koehler, R.D., and Chupik, C., (2020) High resolution structure-from-motion models and orthophotos of the southern sections of the 2019 Mw7.1 and Mw6.4 Ridgecrest earthquakes surface ruptures, Seismological Research Letters.
  10. Cabas, A. Beyzaei, C., Franke, K., Koehler, R.D., Pierce, I., Stuedlein, A., Yang, Z., and Christie, S., 2019, Turning Disaster into Knowledge: Geotechnical aspects of the 2018 Mw 7.1 Anchorage Alaska Earthquake, Proceedings Geo-Congress 2020, February 25-28, 2020.
  11. Anderson, J.G., Koehler, R.D., Abercrombie, R., Ahdi, K., Angster, S., Bormann, J., Brune, J.N., Dee, M., Hammond, W.C., Hatch, R., Kell, A., Kent, G., Kreemer, C., Louie, J., Pierce, I., Ruhl, C.J., Taylor, W., Wesnousky, S.G., Wong, I., 2019. A Seismic Hazards Overview of the Urban Regions of Nevada: Recent Advancements and Research Directions. Seismological Research Letters 90, 7.
  12. Li, X., Li, C., Pierce, I.K.D., Zhang, P., Zheng, W., Dong, J., Chen, G., Ai, M., Ren, G., and Q. Luo (2019) New slip rates for the Tianjingshan fault using optically stimulated luminescence, GPS, and paleoseismic data, NE Tibet, China, Tectonophysics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2019.02.007
  13. Li, X., Zhang, P., Zheng, W., Feng, X., Li, C., Pierce, I.K.D., Xu, H., Li, Xiaoni, Ai, M., Chen, G., Dong, J., Liu, J., Ren, G., 2018. Kinematics of Late Quaternary Slip Along the Qishan-Mazhao Fault: Implications for Tectonic Deformation on the Southwestern Ordos, China. Tectonics. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018tc005043
  14. Li, Xinnan, Feng, X., Li, Xiaoni, Li, Chuanyou, Zheng, W., Zhang, P., Pierce, I.K.D., Li, G., Li, Chenxia, Liu, Y., Ren, G., Luo, Q., 2019. Geological and geomorphological evidence for active faulting of the southern Liupanshan fault zone, NE Tibetan Plateau. Geomorphology 345, 106849. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.106849
  15. Pierce, I. K. D., S. G., Wesnousky, and L. A. Owen, (2017), Terrestrial cosmogenic surface exposure dating of moraines at Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada, California, and slip rate estimate for the West Tahoe Fault, Geomorphology, 298, 63-71.
  16. Wesnousky, S. G., Y. Kumahara, D. Chamlagain, I. K. D. Pierce, T. Reedy, S. J. Angster, and B. Giri, (2017), Large paleoearthquake timing and displacement near Damak in eastern Nepal on the Himalayan Frontal Thrust, Geophy. Res. Lett., 44, 8219-8226.
  17. Li, X., Huang, W., Pierce, I. K. D., Angster, S. J., and S. G. Wesnousky (2017) Characterizing the Quaternary expression of active faulting along the Olinghouse, Carson, and Wabuska lineaments of the Walker Lane, Geosphere, Geosphere, v. 13, no. 6 doi:10.1130/GES01483.1
  18. Li, X., Li, C., Zhang, P., Wesnousky, S.G., Zheng, W. Wang, X., and I. K. D. Pierce (2017) Paleoseismology and Slip Rate of the Western Tianjingshan Fault of NE Tibet, China, Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 146, 304-316.
  19. Wesnousky, S.G., Y. Kumahara, D. Chamlagain, I. K. D. Pierce, A. Karki, and D. Gautam (2017), Geological Observations on Large Earthquakes along the Himalayan Frontal Fault near Kathmandu, Nepal, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 457, 366-375.
  20. Pierce, I. K. D., and S. G. Wesnousky (2016) On a flawed conclusion that the 1255 A.D. earthquake ruptured 800 km of the Himalayan Frontal Thrust east of Kathmandu, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL070426.
  21. Huang, W., Yang, X., Li, A., Pierce, I.K.D., Thompson, J.A., Angster, S.J., Zhang, L., 2015. Late Pleistocene shortening rate on the northern margin of the Yanqi Basin, southeastern Tian Shan, NW China. J. Asian Earth Sci. 112, 11–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2015.08.024
  22. Angster, S., E. J. Fielding, Wesnousky, S. G., Pierce, I. K. D., Chamlagain,D., Gautam, D., Upreti, B. N., Kumahara, Y., Nakata, T., (2015), Field Reconnaissance after the 25 April 2015 M 7.8 Gorkha Earthquake, Seismological Research Letters, 86, 6, 1506-1513, 2015.