Nicholas C. Davatzes, Ph.D.


My research incorporates field, laboratory, borehole, and remote sensing data with numerical analyses to investigate how the physical properties of fault zones arise from the processes that deform rock during faulting. I apply these methods to understanding fault mechanics and the movement of fluids through the brittle crust. These processes fundamentally control earthquake hazards and regional tectonics. Much of my recent research focuses on how stress, structures and fluid flow interact in the subsurface and where brittle structures play the critical role in extracting energy from geothermal and petroleum systems resources.

My teaching current includes Introduction to Structural Geology (Undergraduate, CS&T 4096) and Quantitative Structural Geology (Graduate CS&T 8002) levels of structural geology, independent studies for undergraduates (CS&T 4082), and graduate student research. The undergraduate class introduces students to the deformation of the Earth and focuses on how we approach addressing scientific questions, idealize the Earth, and test our hypotheses. The graduate class provides further training and more extensive exposure to theory.

Structural Geology and Geomechanics

A Note to Prospective Students
Current Graduate Students at Temple

What I am doing...


I have several current research projects, and openings for students:

- Fault strength and sealing study focused on clay generation in gouge (funded)

  1. -Faulting, stress, and fractures in geothermal systems (funded)

  2. -Fractures, stress, and seismicity at the Coso Geothermal field (funded)

  3. -Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)

    - Enhancement of the Desert Peak Geothermal System (funded)

    - Enhancement of the Brady’s Geothermal Field (funded)

    - InSAR and MEQ Monitoring of EGS (funded)

    - Creating an EGS in the Newberry Geothermal Field (funded)

  1. -Investigating the Blue Mountain Geothermal System, NV

  2. -Investigating the Surprise Valley Geothermal System, CA

  3. -Boundary element modeling of stresses around faults (funded)

  4. -Boundary element modeling of stress around boreholes

Photo Courtesy: Eric Flodin






Fault Mechanics


Rock Mechanics

Field Geology

Faults at


What I want to find out

My research investigates the fundamental physical mechanisms accommodating deformation in fault zones. The essential components of these studies involve:

  1. the materials involved,

  2. the mechanical properties of those materials,

  3. their geometry and evolution as they deform, and

  4. the stress inherent in that deformation.

Most studies investigate each of these topics separately out of the need to isolate and focus on essential relationships. My work tries to integrate these different topics by modeling ancient geologic systems exposed at the surface or by direct observation of active systems at depth using boreholes.

© Nicholas C. Davatzes

Email Me
Nicholas C. Davatzes
1901 N. 13th Street
Earth and Environmental Science, Beury Hall
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122

T: 215-204-2319
e: davatzes at

Last Updated: 2011/11


Why we should care

  1. How the Earth works
    The crust of the Earth is filled with fractures and these weaknesses govern its strength, its response to tectonic stresses/strains, and its hydrologic properties.

  2. Energy
    Faults and fractures provide vertically extensive, fast pathways for fluid flow and in some cases barriers to fluid flow. These fluids determine our access to energy resources such as hot water in Geothermal Systems, hydrocarbons in Petroleum systems, and the development of ore deposits.

  3. Water and contamination
    These same fractures determine our access to fresh water and the spread of contaminants in aquifers.

  4. Informed Citizens
    In an ever shrinking world, with growing population and ever greater demand on resources straining our environment, our votes have perhaps the greatest impact ever on sustaining our civilization.

Geomechanics/Earth Stress