Michael L. Wells

Professor of Geology

Tectonics, Structural Geology, Microstructural Analysis,

Office: LFG 208
Telephone: (702) 895-0828
Email: michael.wells@unlv.edu



Ph.D. in Geology, Cornell University (1991) Major subject, structural geology; minor subjects, geochemistry and material science
M.S. in Geology, Cornell University (1988) Major subject, structural geology; minor subject stratigraphy
B.S. in Geology, University of California Santa Cruz (1981)


Dr. Wells conducts integrated tectonics research utilizing field geologic mapping and field-structural studies with strain and kinematic analysis, thermochronology, geochronology and metamorphic petrology. Interests include the structural evolution of shear zones and tectonic reactivation, the interplay between processes of contraction and extension in the interior of mountain belts, the evolution of Cordilleran metamorphic core complexes, and applications of thermochronology and geochronology to directly date deformation.

Research Publications:

Craddock, S., Hoisch, T.D., Wells, M.L., Vervoort, J.D., 2020, Pressure-temperature-time paths from the Funeral Mountains, California, reveal a cordilleran orogenic cycle during Sevier orogenesis: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 132, p. 1047-1065.

Yonkee, W.A. , Eleogram, B., Wells, M.L., Stockli, D.F., Kelley, S., Barber, D.E., 2019, Fault slip and exhumation history of the Willard thrust sheet, Sevier fold-thrust belt, Utah: Relations to wedge propagation, hinterland uplift, and foreland basin sedimentation: Tectonics, v. 38, p. 2850-2893.

Yan, D-P, Qiu, L., Wells, M.L., Zhou, Mei-Fu, Xiangkun Meng, Song Lu, Sen Zhang, Yu Wang, Shu-Bing Li, 2018, Structural and geochronological constraints on the early Mesozoic North Longmen Shan Thrust Belt: foreland fold-thrust propagation of the SW-Qinling orogenic belt, northeastern Tibetan Plateau: Tectonics, v. 37, p. 4595-4624.

Gentry, A., Yonkee, W.A., Wells, M.L., and Balgord, E.A., 2018, Resolving the history of early fault slip and foreland basin evolution along the Wyoming salient of the Sevier fold-and-thrust belt: Integrating detrital zircon geochronology, provenance modeling, and subsidence analysis: in Tectonics, Sedimentary Basins and Provenance: A Celebration of William R. Dickinson’s Career, Geological Society of America Special Paper 540, p. 509-545.

Giallorenzo, M.A., Wells, M.L., Yonkee, W.A., Stockli, D.F., and Wernicke, B.P., 2018, Timing of exhumation, Wheeler Pass thrust sheet, southern Nevada and California: Late Jurassic to middle Cretaceous evolution of the southern Sevier fold-thrust belt: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 130, p. 558-579.

Recent Funding:                                                                                                                                                       

Courses taught:

GEOL 101: Geological Concepts
GEOL 341: Structural Geology
GEOL 348: Field Geology 1
GEOL 371: Advanced Field Geology
GEOL 443: Plate Tectonics

GEOL 643: Plate Tectonics
GEOL 701: Research Methods in Geoscience
GEOL 746: Strain and Microstructural Analysis
GEOL 747: Geological Evolution of Western North America
Funeral Mountains 2