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Photo of Donald Fisher

Donald Fisher

Office Address: 
334 Deike Building
Department of Geosciences
PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (236.87 KB)
Research Interests: 
  • Regional Tectonics
  • Structural Geology
Ph.D., Brown University, 1988

Fisher, D. M., Smye, A. J., Marone, C., van Keken, P. E., and A. Yamaguchi, 2019, Kinetic models for healing of the subduction interface based on observations of ancient accretionary complexes. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 20. 2019GC008256 

Fisher, D. M., Tonai, S., Hashimoto, Y., Tomioka, N. and D. Oakley, 2019, K-Ar dating of fossil seismogenic thrusts in the Shimanto accretionary complex, southwest Japan, Tectonics, DOI:10.1029/2019TC005571

Fisher, D. M., Hooker, J. N., and D. Oakley, 2019, Numerical models for slip along the subduction interface based on field observations, Lithosphere, v. 11, no. 3, p. 322-332.

Morell, K. D., Fisher, D. M., and N. Bangs, 2019, Plio‐Quaternary outer forearc deformation and mass balance of the southern Costa Rica convergent margin. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, v. 124, p. 9795–9815.

Oakley, D. O., Kaufman, D. S., Gardner, T. W., and D. M. Fisher, 2017, Quaternary marine terrace chronology, North Canterbury, New Zealand, using amino acid racemization and infrared-stimulated luminescence, Quaternary Research, v. 87, p. 151-167.

Oakley, D., Fisher, D. M., Gardner, T. W., and M. K. Stewart, 2017, Uplift rates of marine terraces as a constraint on fault-propagation fold kinematics: Examples from the Hawkswood and Kate anticlines, North Canterbury, New Zealand, Tectonophysics, v. 724-725, 195-219.

Regalla, C., Fisher, D., Kirby, E., Oakley, D., and S. Taylor, 2018, Slip inversion along inner forearc faults, eastern Tohoku, Japan, Tectonics, v. 36, 2647-2668.


I am a structural geologist who uses field and microstructural observations to study processes occurring along active convergent plate boundaries.  This work, mostly funded by the National Science Foundation, has taken my students and I to subduction zones around the world including Sumatra, Costa Rica/Panama, Alaska, Japan, Taiwan, and New Zealand.  My work is multidisciplinary and has led to collaborations at Penn State that address a range of problems related to subduction such as the mass balance and active uplift rates in the forearc, the impacts of seamounts and ridges on subduction, the significance of fracture patterns and veining, and the causes for systematic cleavage patterns in collisional mountain-belts.  Most recently, I have been conducting studies in Japan and Kodiak, Alaska on rocks that were deformed along the subduction interface at depths of seismogenesis to understand the processes that lead to different slip behaviors including Great Earthquakes.  I also have a project with Roman DiBiase studying the impact of mountain-building processes in the active collision in Taiwan on the patterns of rock strength and how these patterns influence surface processes.