Our academic staff pursue research as part of the UCL-Birkbeck Research School of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Our team of dedicated staff and technicians also provide excellent support for our students. Our Doctoral Programme is an integral part of our research culture find out more about our PhD Students.

Our PhD Students

Marco Meschis

Marco Meschis

“Using tectonic geomorphology to derive crustal deformation rates crucially important to approach the long-term seismic hazard analysis of active tectonically regions”

PhD project title:

Quantifying rates of active extension and seismic hazard in the upper plate of subduction zones.

Project description:

I am studying uplift rates derived from raised Quaternary palaeoshorelines which are commonly the only way to derive deformation rates from plate boundary zones over timescales that are long enough to average out deformation over multiple seismic cycles.

Data spanning many tens of thousands of years are needed to average across transient strain rates associated with individual earthquakes, so that the results can be used to quantify and differentiate rates of long-term seismic hazard analysis associated with normal faulting earthquakes in the upper plate and tsunamis generated by slip of the subduction interface.

I will map tectonically-deformed palaeoshorelines in the field and on DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) in the Calabrian Arc (Southern Italy), and date the associated terrace deposits using a combination of U/Th, OSL and cosmogenic dating. Regional study of tens of kilometres of palaeoshoreline sequences will be used to test the hypothesis that uplift is affected by local tectonics, identified by active crustal normal faults, rather than being affected by only slip on the subduction interface.

Background and research interests:

I am interested in studying tectonic geomorphology and earthquake geology topics aimed to better understand how to approach the seismic hazard analysis of active tectonically regions.

In 2011, I received an MSc Degree in Geology and Application for the Territory (107/110 – 97%) from the University of Palermo (Italy). In 2012, I spent 9 months working as a MSc Graduated Research Assistant for UCL/Birkebck University under Prof. Gerald Roberts’ supervision, financed by merit scholarship (“Corso di Perfezionamento all’Estero”) investigating the relationship between regional uplifting processes and local tectonics (Quaternary faulting activity) by using a newly method to synchronously investigate tectonically-deformed sequences of marine terraces (see Roberts et al., 2013 – Quaternary Science Reviews).


Scientific publications:

Journal Articles

Roberts, G. P., Meschis, M., Houghton, S., Underwood, C., & Briant, R. M. (2013). The implications of revised Quaternary palaeoshoreline chronologies for the rates of active extension and uplift in the upper plate of subduction zones. Quaternary Science Reviews, 78, 169-187.

Conference Abstracts

Robertson, J., Meschis, M., & Roberts G.P. (2015). A novel way of determining uplift using palaeoshorelines over the Late Quaternary; synchronous correlations between multiple palaeoshorelines and multiple sea-level highstands. 2015 QRA Postgraduate Symposium (Cambridge University).

Meschis, M., Roberts G.P., Houghton, S., Underwood, C., & Briant, R. M. (2015). Deriving uplift and crustal deformation rates in the upper plate of subduction zones from tectonically deformed sequences of marine palaeoshorelines; tectonic and seismic hazard implications in Calabria (Southern Italy). Abstracts Volume 6th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archaeoseismology 19-24 April 2015, Pescina, Fucino Basin, Italy, At Pescina (Abruzzo, Italy) – Miscellanea, 27 - INGV

Meschis, M., Roberts G.P., & Robertson, J. (2016). Investigating tectonically-deformed Quaternary marine terraces using synchronous correlation to determine faulting activity: the Capo D’Orlando Fault as a case study (NE Sicily, Italy). 2016 TSG Tectonic Studies Group - Oral presentation (UCL/Birkbeck University).

Meschis, M., Roberts G.P., & Robertson, J. (2016). Constraining fault activity by investigating tectonically-deformed Quaternary palaeoshorelines using a synchronous correlation method: the Capo D’Orlando Fault as a case study (NE Sicily, Italy). 2016 EGU Conference - Poster presentation (Vienna).

Contact Details:

Prof. Gerald Robert,  Dr. Rebecca M. Briant (GEDS – Birkbeck University)