My research centers around using (micro)structural techniques and petrochronology to better understand aspects of collisional and noncollisional orogenesis, including:

  • Spatial, temporal, and kinematic partitioning of deformation at all scales;
  • Exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic terranes;
  • Interactions between magmatism/partial melting and deformation;
  • Structure of continental crust in accretionary orogens;
  • Reactivation of brittle and ductile structures in areas with complex tectonic histories

From macro

to micro

To investigate the above topics, I take a field-based approach with an emphasis on lithologic/structural mapping at regional and outcrop scales. I share the sentiment of many geologists that careful field observation remains an essential tool for understanding tectonic processes: Field work provides necessary context for lab-based analyses, and also serves as a test for the plausibility of modeling results.

My field work is coupled with (micro)structural analyses, trace element thermobarometry of major and accessory phases, and accessory phase (zircon, titanite, rutile) petrochronology. I have a keen interest in understanding the behavior of titanite in high strain zones as it relates to tracking changing P-T conditions through time. To support this interest, I am currently working on experimental deformation of titanite coupled with EBSD characterization and diffusion experiments.

If you have an interest in any of the above topics, please feel free to contact me.

CV (current as of 02/14/2022): Blatchford_CV.

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Research Areas

Southern Western gneiss region, norway

under construction

Northern Western gneiss region, norway

under construction

titanite torsion experiments

under construction

Central fiordland, new zealand

Tracking the changing relationship between Mesozoic arc magmatism and deformation in mid- and lower-crustal sections of an exhumed arc; reconstructing a multiphase history of overprinting Cenozoic brittle deformation

Tools: Bedrock structural and lithologic mapping, structural analysis, U-Pb geo/thermochronology, trace element thermobarometry.

earlier research projects

As a Keck geology consortium intern and for my senior thesis at Beloit College, I investigated changes in sediment sources for tidal coves of the CT River estuary.

Tools used: Sediment core description, C/N analysis

As a USGS/NAGT intern, I assisted with a study of amphibian development and survival related to arsenic and antimony contamination in an area of active mining (Stibnite mine, Yellow Pine, ID); Additional experience included assisting with invertebrate sampling both in riparian habitat at the Stibnite mine and in areas of the northern Basin and Range province; as well as helping with a biomass study of sagebrush steppe plants.

Select tools used: water sampling, tissue sampling, ICP-OES

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Other Academic


A few simple teaching/research tools and a load of URLs for various pages I have found useful in my research

field sketch

An ongoing project illustrating instances of ‘fieldsplaining’ encountered by women while educating in field settings.

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Bouldering and sport. Minneapolis Bouldering Project.


Road riding and fixing old Treks, mainly.


Just that. Non-geo use of Illustrator

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