Michael Murphy - University of Houston
Skip to main content

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Curriculum Vitae pdf

Professor of Geology, Structure and Tectonics

Ph.D., 2000, Geology, University of California, Los Angeles
M.S., 1997, Geology, University of California, Los Angeles
B.S. 1993, Geology, University of California, Los Angeles

Office: 335 SR1
Office Hours: W 12:00p - 1:00p
Phone: (713) 743-3564

Google Scholar Profile
ResearchGate Profile
Personal Website

Research Interests

I conduct research on the origin, development, and structural evolution of the continental crust. My research on the fundamental processes operating in the continental crust is driven by my deep interest in, and the challenges of, unraveling the architecture of the Earth in complexly deformed regions. I am currently working on two processes that have and continue to shape the history of the Earth, Intercontinental collision and Continental break-up. These events generate first-order changes in the distribution, size, and connectivity of continents and ocean basins and are therefore essential to our understanding of how the Earth works.

My contributions to our understanding of intercontinental collision and continental break-up address fundamental questions in the core specialties of tectonics, structural geology, and tectonic geomorphology. My studies are firmly rooted in, and highly dependent upon, field-based studies that focus on establishing the spatial and temporal distribution of deformation at regional and local scales. This geologic framework forms the foundation for my synthesis and interpretation of microstructural, multispectral and radar data, sedimentologic, geomorphic, tracer isotope and geochronologic data (U-Th-Pb, 40Ar/39Ar). GIS database building is a key part of my research activities and serves as the platform for synthesizing diverse data.

Selected Publications

    • M. A. Murphy1*, M. H. Taylor, J. Gosse, C. R. P. Silver, D. M. Whipp and C. Beaumont, 2013, Limit of strain partitioning in the Himalaya marked by large earthquakes in western Nepal; Nature Geosciences, v.7, p. 38-42; doi: 10.1038/NGEO2017
    • Krueger, A., M.A., Murphy, Gilbert, O.E., and Burke, K., Deposition and deformation in Deepwater sediments of the offshore Barreirinhas basin, Brazil: Geosphere, in press
    • Sanchez, V.I., Murphy, M.A., Robinson, A.C., Lapen, T.J., Heizler, M.T., Tectonic evolution of the India-Asia suture zone since Middle Eocene time, Lopukangri area, south-central Tibet; Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, in press.
    • Wang, S., Wang, C., Phillips, R. J., Murphy, M. A., Fang, X., Yue, Y., 2012, Displacement along the Karakoram fault, NW Himalaya, estimated from LA-ICP-MS U-Pb dating of offset geologic markers: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 337-338, p. 156-163.
    • Zhang, R., Murphy, M.A., Lapen, T.J., Sanchez, V., Heizler, M., 2011, Late Eocene crustal thickening followed by Early-Late Oligocene Extension along the India-Asia suture zone: Evidence for cyclicity in the Himalayan orogen: Geosphere, v.7, p 1249-1268; doi: 10.1130/GES00643.1.
    • Styron, R., Taylor, M.H., Murphy, M.A., 2011, Oblique convergence, arc-parallel extension, and the role of strike-slip faulting in the High Himalaya: Geosphere, v.7, p. 1-15, doi: 10.1130/GES00606.1
    • Copeland, P., Murphy, M.A., Dupre, W.R., Lapen, T.J., 2011, Oligocene Laramide deformation in southern New Mexico and its implications for Farallon plate geodynamics: Geosphere, v.7, p. 1209-1219, doi: 10.1130/GES00672.1
    • Murphy, M.A., Sanchez, V., Taylor, M.H., 2010, Syncollisional extension along the India-Asia suture zone, south-central Tibet: Implications for crustal deformation of Tibet: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.11.046.
    • Saylor, J., P. DeCelles, G. Gehrels, M. Murphy, R. Zhang, P. Kapp, 2010, Basin formation in the High Himalaya by arc-parallel extension and tectonic damming: Zhada basin, southwestern Tibet, Tectonics, 29, TC1004, doi:10.1029/2008TC002390.
    • Sanchez, V., Murphy, M.A., Dupre, W.R., Ding, L., Zhang, R., 2010, Structural evolution of the Neogene Gar basin, western Tibet: Implications for releasing bend development and drainage patterns; Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi: 10.1130/B26566.1.
    • Murphy, M.A., Saylor, J.E., Ling, D., 2009, Landscape evolution of southwest Tibet based on integrated paleoelevation reconstructions and structural history: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 282, p. 1-9.
    • Murphy, M. A., 2007, Isotopic characteristics of the Gurla Mandhata metamorphic core complex: Implications for the architecture of the Himalayan orogen: Geology, v., 35, p. 983-986.
    • Murphy, M. A., and Burgess, W. P., 2006, Geometry, kinematics, and landscape characteristics of an active transtension zone, Karakoram fault system, southwest Tibet: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 28, p. 268-283.
    • Zhou, Y., Murphy, M. A., Hamade, A., 2006, Structural development of the Peregrina-Huizachal anticlinorium, Mexico: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 28, p. 494-507.
    • Murphy, M. A., and Copeland, P., 2005, Transtensional deformation in the central Himalaya and its role in accommodating growth of the Himalayan orogen: Tectonics, 24, DOI: 10.1029/2004TC001659.
    • Zhou, H.-W., and Murphy, M. A., 2005, Tomographic evidence for wholesale underthrusting of India beneath the entire Tibetan plateau. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, v. 25, p. 445-457.
    • Murphy, M.A., and Yin, A., 2003, Sequence of thrusting in the Tethyan fold-thrust belt and Indus-Yalu suture zone, southwest Tibet: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 115, p. 21-34.
    • Kapp, P., Murphy, M. A., Yin, A., Harrison, T. M., Lin, D., and Guo, J., 2003, Mesozoic and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Shiquanhe area of western Tibet: Tectonics, 21, doi: 10.1029/2001TC001332.
    • Murphy, M.A., Yin, A., Kapp, P., Harrison, T.M., and Manning, C. E., 2002, Structural and thermal evolution of the Gurla Mandhata metamorphic core complex, southwest Tibet: Geological Society of America, v. 114, p. 428-447.
    • Deng, X.G., Ding, L., Liu, X.H., Yin, A., Kapp, P.A., Murphy, M.A., and Manning C.E., 2002, Geochemical characteristics of the blueschists and its tectonic significance in the central Qiangtang area, Tibet: Acta Petrologica Sinica, v. 18, p. 517-525.
    • Murphy, M. A., Yin, A., Kapp, P., Harrison, T. M., Lin, D., Guo, J., 2000, Southward Propagation of the Karakoram fault system into southwest Tibet: timing and magnitude of slip: Geology, v.28, p. 451-454.
    • Murphy, M. A., and T. M. Harrison, 1999, Relationship between leucogranites and the Qomolangma detachment in the Rongbuk valley, south Tibet, Geology, v. 27, p. 831-834.
    • Yin, A., Harrison, T. M., Murphy, M.A., Grove, M., Nie, S., Ryerson, F. J., Wang, X., Chen, Z., 1999, Tertiary deformation history of southeastern and southwestern Tibet during the Indo-Asian collision, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 111, p. 1644-1664.
    • Axen, G. J., Fletcher, J. M., Cowgill, E., Murphy, M.A., Kapp, P., MacMillan, I., Ramos-Velazquez, E., Aranda-Gomez, J., 1999, Range-front fault scarps of the Sierra El Mayor, Baja California: formed above an active low-angle normal fault? Geology, v. 27, p. 247-250.
    • Murphy, M. A., Yin, A., Harrison, T. M., Durr, S. B., Chen, Z., Ryerson, F. J., Kidd, W. S. F., Wang, X., Zhou, X., 1997, Did the Indo-Asian collision alone create the Tibetan plateau?: Geology, v. 25, p. 719-722.