University of California, Riverside

Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences



Heather Ford


Heather Ford

Assistant Professor

Brown University, Ph.D. in Geological Sciences (2013)
Brown University, M.Sc. in Geological Sciences (2009)
University of Michigan, Honors B.S. in Geological Sciences (2005)
University of Michigan, Academic Minor in Physics (2005)

Specialty: Seismology

Email: heather.ford@ucr.edu
Phone: (951) 827-3194
Office: Geology 454B
Website: heatheraford.wordpress.com

Research Interests:

My research is focused on understanding the properties, structure and dynamics of the Earth’s crust and mantle through the use of passive source (i.e., earthquakes as a source) seismic imaging techniques, with a decided emphasis on better understanding the rheology and evolution of the continental lithosphere in various tectonic settings. A key component of my research involves integrating my with the work of other geological disciplines, including, but certainly not limited to other geophysical methods, geochemistry/petrology, mineral physics and geodynamic modeling.

Recent Projects:

Much of my research has been focused on better characterizing the structure and physical properties of the mantle lithosphere and asthenosphere beneath continents (e.g., North America, Australia) using scattered wave receiver function analysis and modeling. I am particularly interested in the tectonic evolution of continental interiors, specifically cratons and I am also interested in using seismology to better constrain the rheology of the continental lithosphere within the western United States, including the Basin and Range Province and along the San Andreas Fault. Looking deeper into the Earth, I’ve also recently worked to understand the dynamics of the lowermost mantle in the vicinity of the African Superplume.

I am currently looking for graduate students, but also may have opportunities for postdocs and motivated undergraduates.

Ford, H.A., M.D. Long, and E.A. Wirth, Mid-lithospheric discontinuities and complex anisotropic layering in the mantle lithosphere beneath the Wyoming and Superior Provinces, J. of Geophys. Res., in revision.

Ford, H.A. and M.D. Long, A regional test of global models for flow, rheology and seismic anisotropy at the base of the mantle, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 245, 71-75, doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2015.05.004, 2015.

Ford, H.A., M.D. Long, C. Lynner and X. He, Lower mantle flow along the edge of the African Superplume, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 420, 12-22, doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.029, 2015.

Selway, K., H.A. Ford, P. Kelemen, The seismic mid‐lithosphere discontinuity, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 414, 45-57, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.12.029, 2015.

Ford, H.A., K.M. Fischer and V. Lekic, Localized shear in the deep lithosphere beneath the San Andreas fault system, Geology, 42, 295-298, 2014.

Hopper, E., H.A. Ford, K.M. Fischer, V. Lekic, and M.J. Fouch, The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and the tectonic and magmatic history of the northwestern United States, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 402, 69-81, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.016, 2014.

Ford, H.A., K.M. Fischer, D.L. Abt, C.A. Rychert, L.T. Elkins-Tanton, The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary and cratonic lithospheric layering beneath Australia from Sp wave imaging, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 300, 299-310, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.10.007, 2010.

Abt, D.L., K.M. Fischer, S.W. French, H.A. Ford, H. Yuan, and B. Romanowicz, North American lithospheric discontinuity structure imaged by Ps and Sp receiver functions, J. Geophys. Res., 115, B09301, doi:10.1029/2009JB006914, 2010.

Fischer, K.M., H.A. Ford, D.L. Abt, C.A. Rychert, The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 38, 551-575, doi:10.1146/annurev-earth-040809-152438, 2010.

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