Michael L. Wells

Professor of Geology
Department Chair
Ph.D. - Cornell University
Structural Geology
Microstructural Analysis Thermochronology
Synconvergent Extension

Email: michael.wells@unlv.edu
Telephone: (702) 895-0828


Dr. Wells is a structural geologist, with current research interests including: the processes of contraction and extension in the internides of mountain belts, in particular the Mesozoic Cordilleran Orogen of the western United States and; the timing and mechanisms of exhumation of mid-crustal rocks during Cenozoic extension. These studies are carried out by integrating field-structural studies with modern techniques of strain and kinematic analysis. Additionally, thermochronology is applied to structural studies to link the structural history of deformed rocks to their thermal histories, in an effort to determine the progressive deformation and kinematic trajectories within orogenic belts.

Research Publications:

Wells, M.L., Hoisch, T.D., 2012, Reply to Comment by E.L. Miller, A. Konstantinou, and A. Strickland on Geodynamics of synconvergent extension and tectonic mode switching: constraints from the Sevier-Laramide orogeny: Tectonics, v. 31, doi: 10.1029/2012TC003136

Gottardi,R., Teyssier, C., Mulch, A., Vennemann, T. W., Wells, M.L., 2011, Preservation of an extreme transient geotherm in the Raft River detachment zone: Geology, v. 39, p. 759-762. Available .pdf

Wells, M.L., Hoisch, T.D., Cruz-Uribe, A.M., Vervoort, J.D., 2012, Geodynamics of synconvergent extension and tectonic mode switching: constraints from the Sevier orogen: Tectonics, v. 31, TC1002, doi:10.1029/2011TC002913 p Available .pdf

Druschke P., Hanson, A.D., Wells, M.L., Gehrels, G., Stockli, D.F., 2011, Paleogeographic isolation of Cretaceous to Eocene Sevier hinterland, east-central Nevada: Insights from U-Pb and (U-Th)/He detrital zircon ages of hinterland strata: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 123, p. 1141-1160. Available .pdf

Kula, J., Tulloch, A.J., Spell, T.L., Wells, M.L., and Zanetti, K.A., 2009, Thermal evolution of the Sisters shear zone, southern New Zealand; Formation of the Great South Basin and onset of Pacific-Antarctic spreading, Tectonics, 28, TC5015, doi:10.1029/2008TC002368. Available .pdf

Druschke P., Hanson, A.D., Wells, M.L., 2009, Structural, stratigraphic, and geochronologic evidence for extension predating Paleogene volcanism in the Sevier hinterland, east-central Nevada: International Geology Review, v. 51, p. 743-775. Available .pdf

Druschke, P., Hanson, A.D., Wells, M.L., Rasbury, T., Stockli, D.F., and Gehrels, G., 2009, Synconvergent surface-breaking normal faults of Late Cretaceous age within the Sevier hinterland, east-central Nevada: Geology, v. 37, p. 447-450. Available .pdf

Wells, M.L., 2009, Geologic Map of the Kelton Pass Quadrangle, Box Elder County, Utah, and Cassia County, Idaho: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 09-3, scales 1:12,000 and 1:24,000, 22 pp. Available .pdf


GEY 101 Geological Concepts
GEY 341 Structural Geology
GEY 348 Field Geology 1
GEY 370 Intermediate Field Geology
GEY 371 Advanced Field Geology
GEY 443 Plate Tectonics

GEY 643 Plate Tectonics
GEY 745 Advanced Structural Geology
GEY 746 Strain and Microstructural Analysis
GEY 747 Geological Evolution of Western North America
GEY 796 Graduate Seminar in Geology