Dr. David W. Farris

Teaching Assistant Professor




Office:  Graham Hall 104




* B.A. Geology, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, 2000

*Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 2006

*Post-Doctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama, 2008

Research Interests:

My current research focuses on the broad topic of lithospheric evolution with special emphasis on arc and convergent margin processes, but I have also worked in a variety of different tectonic settings.  I am particularly interested in projects in which the outcomes have implications for other disciplines such as paleo-oceanography, paleoclimate and biologic evolution.  Other research interests include disparate topics such as: 1) The physical and chemical evolution of magmatic systems, 2) The use of gravity and magnetics to analyze faults, and sedimentary basins and igneous systems, and 3) Magmatic aspects of tectonic change in arc systems that are driven by processes such as slab-window formation, slab break-off and lower crustal delamination. All of these various interests are linked together to help better understand joint lithospheric and climatic evolution.

The two most extensive geographic focuses of my work have been in Panama and Alaska, but I have also worked in Colombia, southern California, northern New Mexico /Colorado, Saudi Arabia and the Appalachians.  The Panama project began during my Smithsonian Post-doc and the Alaska work is an outgrowth of my Ph.D. research.  Both the Alaska and Panama examples examine how convergent margin magmatic systems are influenced by tectonic change. In Panama, the tectonic change is complex with an arc-continent collision inducing multiple tectonic artifacts including the shut-off of arc magmatism, subduction initiation, slab-window formation and adakitic magmatism.  All of these factors interact during the rise of the isthmus, which has broad implications in terms of ocean circulation, climate change and the distribution of marine and terrestrial biota.  In particular, in Panama, I have been working on volcano/sedimentary basin systems that contain a record of the separation between the Caribbean and the Pacific. In Alaska, tectonic change was initiated by a migrating spreading-ridge subduction system.  For both of these projects, the focus was integrated geophysical, geochemical and field mapping data sets including: gravity and magnetics, major and trace element and isotope geochemistry, microstructural and quantitative strain analysis, statistical spatial analysis, thermal modeling, and various geochronologic techniques ranging from U/Pb and Ar/Ar to low-temperature thermochronology.  My goal has been to tie these diverse data sets together and create a coherent picture of how lithospheric systems are influenced by tectonic change, and how in turn these processes can influence the Earth’s hydrosphere and atmospheric systems.

Recent Publications

Farris, D.W., and Hauessler, P.J. (2020). Selected geologic maps of the Kodiak batholith and other

Paleocene intrusive rocks, Kodiak Island, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific        Investigations Map 3441, pamphlet 10p., scale 1:50,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3441.

Tull, J.F., Mueller, P.A., Farris, D.W., and Davis, B.L., (2018). Taconic Suprasubduction Zone    Magmatism In Southern Laurentia: Geological Society of America Bulletin, 16p. DOI:   10.1130/B31885.1

Farris, D.W., Cardona, A., Montes, C., Foster, D. and Jaramillo, C. (2017). Magmatic evolution of Panama Canal volcanic rocks: A record of arc processes and tectonic change. PloS one, 12(5), p.e0176010.

Farris, D. W., Tull, J. F., Mueller, P., and Davis, B. L. (2017). Is the Dadeville Complex the “Missing”     Southern Appalachian Taconic Arc? In C. Barineau and J. Tull eds. A Taconic Backarc and Arc     Terrane in the Southern Appalachians: Correlating Geologic Units of the Blue Ridge and Western            Inner Piedmont Of Georgia and Alabama, Georgia Geological Society Guidebooks, vol. 36, no. 1,           p. 41-56, https://www.westga.edu/~ggsweb/ggspubs/guidebooks_cd/2017/GGS2017.pdf.

O’Dea, A., Lessios, H. A., Coates, A. G., Eytan, R. I., Restrepo-Moreno, S. A., Cione, A. L.,

Collins, L. S., de Queiroz, A., Farris, D. W., Norris, R. D., Stallard, R. F., Woodburne, M. O., Aguilera, O., Aubry, M., Berggren, W. A., Budd, A. F., Cozzuol, M. A., Coppard, S. E., Duque-Caro, H., Finnegan, S., Gasparini, G. M., Grossman, E. L., Johnson, K. G., Keigwin, L. D., Knowlton, N., Leigh, E. G., Leonard-Pingel, J. S., Marko, P. B., Pyenson, N.D., Rachello-Dolmen, P. G., Soibelzon, E., Soibelzon, L., Todd, J. A., Vermeij, G. J., & Jackson, J. B. C. (2016). Formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Science Advances, 2(8), p.e1600883.



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