Dr Sarah Boulton
Associate Professor in Active Neotectonics
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
I teach on the following modules:
GEOL1001 - Dynamic Earth
GEOL3005 - Tectonics
Additionally I am the module leader for (and teach on):
GEOL2003 - Geospatial Techniques
GEOL3006 - Geological Remote Sensing and GIS
In addition to these modules, I am involved in fieldwork, including this year:
GEOL2010 - Pembroke
GEOL2003 - Mapping training, Ainsa, Spainish Pyrenees
GEOL3001 - Undergraduate Mapping Project currently Haute Provence, France
01/01/2006 to present: Lecturer in Neotectonics, University of Plymouth.
01/10/2002-14/10/2005; Ph.D research at the University of Edinburgh. Thesis title ' Tectonic-Sedimentary evolution of the Cenozoic Hatay Graben, South Central Turkey'.
1998-2002; M.Sci Geology - 1st Class (honours) from University College, London.
Fellow of the Geological Society of London
Member of the British Geomorphological Research Group
Member of the American Geophysical Union
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Roles on external bodies
I am the current chair of the South West regional group of the Geological Society.
My PhD research focussed on unravelling the tectono-stratigraphic development of the Hatay Graben in southern Turkey, an actively deforming plate boundary zone between the Arabian, African and Anatolian Plates, working in collaboration with Turkish colleagues and my PhD supervisor Prof Alastair Robertson (Edinburgh University). A multi-disciplinary approach lead to significant contributions including the first models for the tectono-sedimentary evolution of a Neogene Graben in southern Turkey (Boulton et al., 2006; 2007; Boulton & Robertson, 2008) with implications for present day regional plate tectonic configurations as well as the closure of the Neotethys during the Oligocene (Boulton & Robertson, 2007; Boulton, 2009).
One novel aspect of my PhD was understanding the tectonic geomorphology and influence of active faulting on the river long profiles crossing the graben bounding active faults. This led to the development a new method for calculating fault-slip rate of normal faults based upon river geomorphology (Boulton & Whittaker, 2009). Subsequently, understanding the role of uplift and active faulting on river systems and how we can extract 'tectonics from topography' has become one of my main research focusses with ongoing projects in Turkey, Morocco, Italy and the Solomon islands. I continue to collobrate with Dr Alex Whittaker (Imperial College London) to understand the tectonic controls on knickzone formation and retreat (e.g., Whittaker & Boulton, 2012).
I am still interested in the Cenozoic (Miocene to present day) tectonics of the Eastern Mediterranean region especially concerning active faulting, palaeoseismology, tsunamis and geoarcheology. As well as the geodynamic and palaeogeographic evolution of the area and, in particular, the Messinian Salinity Crisis.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Dr Emiko Kent (DoS) - The relationship between active faulting and fluvial geomorphology: A case study in the Gediz Graben, Turkey. Completed November 2015.
Dr Emhemed Alfandi (2nd S) – Early Mesozoic stratigraphy, sedimentology and structure of the Gharianarea, north-western Libya. Completed February 2012.
Grants & contracts
March 2018 - Awarded £1000 from the Geological Society of London (PI) for the project 'The role of lithology on catchment average erosion rates in the Gediz Graben, Turkey'.
October 2017 - Awarded (~ £80,000) a NERC EnvEAST CASE PhD studentship (taken up by Joshua Jones) to investigate the role of earthquake preconditioning on landslide occurrence in the Nepal Himalaya.
February 2017 - Awarded 9 tiles of TanDEM-X data (£900) from the DLR for the project (PI) 'Quaternary landscape development in NW Africa: tectonic and climatic controls on landslide and river terrace development'.
March 2016 – Awarded £25780 for a Leverhulme International Fellowship (PI) ‘Bedrock river erosion in the Temperate Zone’ I will spend 4 months (Nov ’16 – Feb’ 17 in New Zealand).
June 2012 - Awarded ~ $3000 to attend and participate in MYRES V: The Sedimentary Record of Landscape Dynamics. Salt Lake City (Utah) 8 - 12th August 2012.
August 2009 - Awarded £1325 from the Experiential Learning CETL (UoP) to attend a professional development course at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (Portland, Oregon, 2009).
July 2009 - Awarded €9000 from the DARIUS programme as a co-investigator. Project title 'Transition from passive margin to collision: Tectonic development of the Arabian continental margin in SE Turkey. Project leader: Prof. Alastair Robertson (University of Edinburgh).
1st April 2009 - 1st April 2010 - Awarded £11,193 from the National Geographic as a co-investigator. Project title 'Patterns and rates of uplift driven fluvial incision within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains of NW Africa'. Project leader: Dr Martin Stokes (University of Plymouth).
May 2008 - Awarded £1400 from the Nuffield Foundation (PI) to employ Stefanie Honeywill for 2 months on the project 'Reconstructions of the Palaeoenvironmental changes over the Miocene-Pliocene boundary in the Hatay Graben, Southern Turkey'.
July 2006 - Awarded £4970 from the Royal Society Research Grants Scheme (PI). Project title 'Timing and Development of the northern Dead Sea Fault Zone (Karasu Rift), Southern Turkey' .
May 2006 - Awarded £200 from the British Geomorphological Research Group (PI). Project title ' Tectonic geomorphology in an area of active strike-slip faulting: The Hatay Graben, Turkey' .
- Geodynamics and Palaeomagnetism
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Other academic activities
I am the university representative for the Geological Society, London.
I am the section co-editor for the Paleoseismology section for a new Springer reference work 'Encyclopeadia of Earthquake Engineering' due to be published Winter 2013.
- Rivers of New Zealand: The interplay between tectonics, lithology and climate. University of Hull 28/02/2018
- What can fluvial geomorphology tell us about active faulting? Knickpoints from the Mediterranean. University of East Anglia 21/11/2017
- The interaction between faulting and rivers in the Taupo Rift, NZ: What I did on my sabbatical. University of Plymouth, 27/09/2017
- What can fluvial geomorphology tell us about active faulting? Victoria University of Wellington, NZ 10/2/17
- Tectonics from topography: Using river profiles to investigate active faulting. University of Derby, 15/02/2012
- Using fluvial geomorphology to constrain rates of active fault motion – Case studies from the Mediterranean. University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 12/11/2010
- Geology of the Hatay Graben, south central Turkey. University of the 7th of April, Libya 09/11/08
- Istanbul to Cairo overland: a geological journey. University of Plymouth Geological Society 23/02/07
- Tectono-sedimentary evolution of the Hatay Graben, south central Turkey. University of Edinburgh 26/10/2006