Jessica Thompson

PhD Summer 2013



“Neogene Tectonic Evolution of the NE Pamir margin, NW China”

Research Area(s)

Geomorphology, Tectonic Geomorphology


Doug Burbank



NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2009/10-2011/12

Lloyd and Mary Edwards Field Studies Fellowship, 2011/12


My research interests include tectonics and geomorphology. Currently, I am working on research projects on the remote sensing of glaciers and the role of continental indentors in western China. I use ASTER and SPOT satellite imagery to calculate velocities on glaciers on Mount Shasta and the Sierra Nevada. In western China, I use a variety of field methods, such as paleomagnetism, differential GPS surveys, OSL dating, field mapping, and remote sensing methods to understand the timing and rates of deformation as the Pamirs and Tien Shan collide to close the Tarim Basin.


  • Li, T., J. Chen, J. A. Thompson, D. W. Burbank, & W. Xiao (2012). Equivalency of geodetic with geologic rates across a contractional orogen: new insights from the Pamir Frontal Thrust. Geophysical Research Letters, 39: L15305, doi:10.1029/2012GL051782

  • Yang, H.L., J. Chen, J. A. Thompson, & J .F. Liu (2012). Optical dating of the 12 May 2008, Ms 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake-related sediments: tests of zeroing assumptions. Quaternary Geochronology, 10: 273-279.

  • Jiang, H.C., X. Mao, H. Xu, J. Thompson, P. Wang & X. Ma (2011).  Last glacial pollen record from Lanzhou (Northwestern China) and possible forcing mechanisms for the MIS 3 climate change in Middle to East Asia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 (5-6): 769-781.

  • Jiang, H.C., X. Mao, H. Xu, J. Thompson, & X. Ma (2010). ~4 Ma abrupt coarsening of sediments from Baikal, Chinese Loess Plateau, and South China Sea and implications for the onset of NH glaciation. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 298, 201-209.

  • Liu, J.F., J. Chen, J. H. Yin, Y. C. Lu, A. Murray, L. C. Chen, J. Thompson, & H. L. Yang (2010). OSL and AMS14C Dating of the Penultimate Earthquake at the Leigu Trench along the Beichuan Fault, Longmen Shan, in the Northeast Margin of the Tibetan Plateau. Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 100(5B): 2681–2688.

  • Jiang, H.C, P. Wang, J. Thompson, Z. Dong, & Y. Lu (2009). Last glacial climate instability documented by coarse-grained sediments within the loess sequence, at Fanjiaping, Lanzhou, China. Quaternary Research, 72(1): 91-102. 


Geol 4: Intro to Oceanography (Teaching Assistant), F07

Geol 6: Mountains, Boots & Backpacks (Teaching Assistant), F07

Earth 6: Mountains, Boots & Backpacks (Lecturer), F13

Earth 20:  Geological Catastrophes (Teaching Assistant), S12

Geol 103: Structural Geology (Teaching Assistant), W08/W09

Earth 104A:  Field Studies in Geology (Teaching Assistant), F12

Geol 104B: Field Methods (Teaching Assistant), S08

Geol 118: Summer Field Geology (Teaching Assistant), M08

Geol 176: Geological Applications of GIS (Teaching Assistant), S09