Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

First Advisor

Kenneth D Ridqway

Second Advisor

Saad S Haq

Committee Member 1

Julie L Elliott


The goal of this research is to improve our understanding of the structural configuration of convergent margins in response to glacial erosion, synorogenic sedimentation, and subduction of thick crust. Currently, most mechanical development models of convergent margins are disconnected from the role of these processes and their potential coupled tectonic response. To evaluate the role of these processes, we utilized analog sandbox modeling to generate physical insights into the structural growth of wedge shaped thrust belts. We then compared our modeling results to recent, field-based geological and geophysical studies of the St. Elias orogen, located along the convergent margin of southern Alaska. This margin is characterized by large erosive glacial systems, some of the highest recorded depositional rates on earth, flat-slab subduction of ~17 km thick section of an oceanic plateau, and is one of the most tectonically active plate boundaries on earth.