University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Ian Norton

Dr. Ian Norton

Dr. Ian Norton

Senior Research Fellow
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin
University Station, Box X
Austin, Texas 78713-8924

Fundamental understanding of the structure of passive continental margins has changed dramatically over the last few years, driven by concepts of mantle exhumation that have been demonstrated by deep drilling on the Newfoundland and Iberian margins. In these areas, large amounts of relative motion between continental blocks have been accommodated by low-angle exhumation of lower crust and mantle, as opposed to more traditional concepts of block faulting of brittle continental crust. My research is focused on understanding the structural evolution of continental margins, particularly trying to reconcile deformation amounts that can be predicted from regional-scale plate reconstructions with deformation that can be inferred from local-scale structural data. Reconciliation of plate reconstructions with structural data also applies to compressional orogenies. In Asia, for instance, plate reconstructions that follow the collision of India with Asia can be used to predict deformation in the orogenic belt through time. It is apparent that there is a large discrepancy between predicted deformation and what can be observed on the ground; understanding this discrepancy is a topic for future research.

  • Research Interests

    Plate tectonics

    Reconciliation of observations from structural geology with regional tectonics

  • Education

    B.Sc (Honors) Geology, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 1969

    Ph.D. Geology, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, 1978

  • Professional History

    Senior Research Fellow, Bureau of Economic Geology and Institute for Geophysics, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007-Present

    Exploration Researcher, ExxonMobil Upstream Research or ExxonMobil Exploration, 1981-2007

    Researcher, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Galveston, 1980-1981

    Exploration Geophysicist, SOEKOR Exploration Company, South Africa, 1978-1980

    Visiting Scholar and Ph.D. Student, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and John G. Sclater, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972-1978

  • Selected Publications

    Summa, L. L., Goodman, E. D., Richardson, M., Norton, Ian, and Green, A. R., 2003, Hydrocarbon systems of northeastern Venezuela: plate through molecular scale analysis of the genesis and evolution of the eastern Venezuela Basin, in Golonka, Jan, Paleogeographic reconstruction and hydrocarbon basins: Atlantic, Caribbean, South America, Middle East, Russian Far East, Arctic: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 20, no. 3-4, p. 323-349.

    Norton, Ian, 2000, Global hotspot reference frames and plate motion, in Richards, M. A., Gordon, R. G., and Van der Hilst, R. D., eds., The history and dynamics of global plate motions: AGU Geophysical Monograph 121, p. 339-357.

    Norton, Ian, 1995, Plate motions in the North Pacific: the 43 Ma nonevent: Tectonics, v. 14, no. 5, p. 1080-1094.

    Gombos, A. M., Jr., Powell, W. G., and Norton, Ian, 1995, The tectonic evo-lution of western India and its impact on hydrocarbon occurrences; an overview, in Davies, T. A., Coffin, M. F., and Wise, S. W., eds., Selected topics relating to the Indian Ocean basins and margins: Sedimentary Geology, v. 96, no. 1-2, p. 119-129.