Professor James Jackson

at Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Professor James Jackson is a geophysicist investigating how the continents are deforming today in areas of active plate tectonic movement - from Africa, Iran and the Aegean to New Zealand and Nevada.

His work uses techniques in earthquake source seismology, geomorphology, space geodesy and remote sensing to examine how the continents are deforming today on all scales. These studies range from the details of the fault rupture in single earthquakes, to how that faulting has created the local geomorphology and structure, to how regional fault patterns and motions can accommodate deformation of vast continental areas.

He is applying his research, through working with local populations in active fault regions, to advise governments as well as civil engineers and insurance companies on risk. This could include advising on the location of dams, nuclear power stations and pipelines, and identifying risks to major cities. He is a member of the Dynamic Earth and Geohazards group (formerly the COMET project), the National Centre for Earth Observation and the Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes and Tectonics.

His current research projects include

  • Variations and controls on lithosphere rheology in the continents and oceans
  • The role of ancient shields in the deformation and support of mountain belts
  • Geomorphological development of fold and thrust belts (New Zealand, Iran)
  • Large-scale patterns of continental deformation using active faulting and GPS (Iran, Turkey, Tibet)
  • Forensic investigations of the faulting responsible for destructive earthquakes (Iran, Greece)