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Peter Molnar

Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder
Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Ph.D., Geology (Seismology), 1970, Columbia University
A.B., Physics, 1965, Oberlin College
Email: Peter.Molnar@Colorado.EDU
Phone: 303.492.4936

Research Interests

My current research focuses largely on aspects of how mountain ranges form and continental lithosphere deforms, two other topics challenge me at present: relationships between the tectonic evolution of the Earth and climate change, and the impact of climate change on erosion and the creation of relief. My work on the first includes three broad directions: (a) the kinematics of continental deformation, for which I rely largely on geophysical methods; (b) the structure of the crust and upper mantle: and (c) numerical experimentation on simple systems to understand how mass and heat are transferred in the continental lithosphere.

Current Projects

Graduate Courses Offered

  • Graduate seminar on Geodynamics and Climate: The Tibetan Plateau (Spring, 2001);
  • "Uplift and Erosion" (Spring, 2002);
  • The Himalaya and New Zealand (Spring, 2003);
  • Physics of crust-mantle interactions (Spring, 2004)

Recent Publications

1. Deformation of continental lithosphere and mountain building:

    (a) Kinematics of continental deformation. I am currently involved in studies using GPS measurements to quantify active deformation in parts of Asia and across the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Though temporarily at present, my work does not include geologic study of Quaternary faulting and average rates of slip on faults, I keep abreast of such data as it accumulates. Philip England and I continue to assimilate and synthesize such data to construct internally consistent velocity and strain-rate fields as keys to constraining the dynamics of continental deformation. Finally, I remain involved in the application of leaf-margin analysis to paleoaltimetry, in order to use past mean elevations of high terrain to place a tight constraint on deeper processes (geological methodology is otherwise nearly blind to paleoaltimetry).

Some relevant publications:
Yuan, D.-Y., W.-P. Ge, Z.-W. Chen, C.-Y. Li, Z.-C. Wang, H.-P. Zhang, P.-Z. Zhang, D.-W.. Zheng, W.-J. Zheng, W. H. Craddock,
K. E. Dayem, A. R. Duvall, B. G. Hough, R. O. Lease. D. W. Burbank, M. K. Clark, K. A. Farley, C. N. Garzione, E. Kirby, P. Molnar, and G. H. Roe (2013), The growth of northeastern Tibet and its relevance to large-scale continental geodynamics: A review of recent studies, Tectonics, 32, 1358–1370, doi:10.1002/tect.20081.
Ischuk, A., R. Bendick, A. Rybin, P. Molnar, S. F. Khan, S. Kuzikov, S. Mohadjer, U. Saydullaev, Z.
Ilyasova, G. Schelochkov, and A. V. Zubovich (2013), Kinematics of the Pamir and Hindu Kush regions from GPS geodesy, J. Geophys. Res., Solid Earth, 118, 2408–2416, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50185.
Zheng, W.-J., P.-Z. Zhang, W.-P. Ge, P. Molnar, H.-P. Zhang, D.-Y. Yuan, and J.-H. Liu (2013),
Late Quaternary slip rate of the South Heli Shan Fault (northern Hexi Corridor, NW China) and its implications for northeastward growth of the Tibetan Plateau, Tectonics, 32, 271–293, doi:10.1002/tect.20022.
Zheng Wen-Jun, Zhang Hui-Ping, Zhang Pei-Zhen, P. Molnar, Liu Xing-Wang, and Yuan Dao-Yang (2013),
Late Quaternary slip rates of the thrust faults in western Hexi Corridor (Northern Qilian Shan, China) and their implications for northeastward growth of the Tibetan Plateau, Geosphere, 9, 342-354.
Zhang, H.-P., W. H. Craddock, R. O. Lease, W.-t. Wang, D.-Y. Yuan, P.-Z. Zhang, P. Molnar, D.-W. Zheng, and
W.-J. Zheng (2012), Magnetostratigraphy of the Neogene Chaka basin and its implications for mountain building processes in the north-eastern Tibetan Plateau, Basin Research, 24, 31–50.
Yuan, D.-Y., J.-D. Champagnac, W.-P. Ge, P. Molnar, P.-Z. Zhang, W.-J. Zheng, H.-P. Zhang, and X.-W. Liu
(2011), Late Quaternary right-lateral slip rates of active faults adjacent to lake Qinghai, northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 123, 2016-2030.
Zubovich, A. V., X.-q. Wang, Y. G. Scherba, G. G. Schelochkov, R. Reilinger, C. Reigber, O. I. Mosienko, P.
Molnar, W. Michajljow, V. I. Makarov, J. Li, S. I. Kuzikov, T. A. Herring, M. W. Hamburger, B. H. Hager, Y.-m. Dang, V. D. Bragin, and R. T. Beisenbaev (2010), GPS velocity field for the Tien Shan and surrounding regions, Tectonics, 29, TC6014, doi:10.1029/2010TC002772.
Beavan, J., P. Denys, M. Denham, B. Hager, T. Herring, and P. Molnar (2010), Distribution of present-day vertical
deformation across the Southern Alps, New Zealand, from 10 years of GPS data, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L16305, doi:10.1029/2010GL044165.
Champagnac, J.-D., D.-Y. Yuan, W.-P. Ge, P. Molnar, and W.-J. Zheng (2010), Slip rate at the northeastern front
of the Qilian Shan, China, Terra Nova, 22, 180-187
Mohadjer, S., R. Bendick, A. Ischuk, S. Kuzikov, A. Kostuk, U. Saydullaev, S. Lodi, D. M. Kakar, A. Wasy, M.
A. Khan, P. Molnar, R. Bilham, and A. V. Zubovich (2010), Partitioning of India-Eurasia convergence in the Pamir-Hindu Kush from GPS measurements, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L04305, doi:10.1029/2009GL041737.
Molnar, P., and J. M. Stock (2009), Slowing of India's convergence with Eurasia since 20 Ma and its implications
for Tibetan mantle dynamics, Tectonics, 28, TC3001, doi:10.1029/2008TC002271.
Zhang, P.-Z., P. Molnar, and X.-w. Xu (2007), Late Quaternary and present-day rates of slip along
the Altyn Tagh Fault, northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, Tectonics, 26, TC5010, doi:10.1029/2006TC002014.
Garzione, C. N., P. Molnar, J. C. Libarkin, and B, MacFadden (2006), Rapid Late Miocene rise 
of the Bolivian Altiplano: Evidence for removal of mantle lithosphere, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 241, 543-556.
Garzione, C. N., P. Molnar, J. C. Libarkin, and B. J. MacFadden (2007), Reply to Comment on
"Rapid late Miocene rise of the Bolivian Altiplano: Evidence for removal of mantle lithosphere" by Garzione et al. (2006), Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 241 (2006) 543-556, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 259, 630-633.
Molnar, P., G. A. Houseman, and P. C. England (2006), Palaeo-altimetry of Tibet, Nature, 444, E4.
England, P., and P. Molnar (2005), Late Quaternary to decadal velocity fields in Asia, J. Geophys.
Res., 110, B12401, doi:10.1029/2004JB003541.
Brown, E. T., P. Molnar, and D. L. Bourlès (2005), Technical comment on "Slip-rate measurements
on the Karakorum Fault may imply secular variations in fault motion," Science, 309, 1326b.
Beavan, J., D. Matheson, P. Denys, M. Denham, T. Herring, B. Hager, and P. Molnar (2004),
A vertical deformation profile across the Southern Alps, New Zealand, from 3.5 years of continuous GPS data, Proceedings of the Workshop: The state of GPS vertical positioning precision: Separation of earth processes by space geodesy, ed. by T. van Dam and O. Francis, Cahiers de Centre Européen de Géodynamique et Séismologie, vol. 23, Luxembourg, 111-123.
Jade, S., B. C. Bhatt, R. Bendick, V. K. Gaur, P. Molnar, M. B. Anand, and D. Kumar (2004),
GPS measurements from the Ladakh Himalaya, India: Preliminary tests of plate-like or continuous deformation in Tibet, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 116, 1385-1391.
Zhang, P.-Z., Z.-k. Shen, M. Wang, W.-j. Gan, R. Bürgmann, P. Molnar, Q. Wang, Z.-j. Niu, J.-z. Sun,
J.-c. Wu, Sun Hanrong, and You Xinzhao (2004), Continuous deformation of the Tibetan Plateau from global positioning system data, Geology, 32, 809-812.
Thompson, S. C., R. J. Weldon, C. M. Rubin, K. Abdrakhmatov, P. Molnar, and G. W. Berger, Late
Quaternary slip rates across the central Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan, central Asia, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 10.1029/2001JB000596, 2002.
Brown, E. T., R. Bendick, D. L. Bourlès, V. K. Gaur, P. Molnar, G. M. Raisbeck, and F. Yiou, Slip
rates of the Karakorum fault, Ladakh, India, determined using cosmic ray exposure dating of debris flows and moraines, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 10.1029/2000JB000100, 2002.
Abdrakhmatov, K. E., R. Weldon, S. Thompson, D. Burbank, Ch. Rubin, M. Miller, and P. Molnar,
Origin, direction, and rate of modern compression in the central Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan, GEOLOGIYA I GEOFIZIKA (RUSSIAN GEOLOGY & GEOPHYSICS), 42, 1585-1609, 2001.
Hallet, B., and P. Molnar, Distorted drainage basins as markers of crustal strain east of the Himalaya,
J. Geophys. Res., 106, 13,697-13,709, 2001.
Forest, C. E., J. A. Wolfe, P. Molnar, and K. A. Emanuel, Paleoaltimetry incorporating atmospheric
physics and botanical estimates of paleoclimate, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 111, 497-511, 1999.
Wolfe, J. A., C. E. Forest, and P. Molnar, Paleobotanical evidence of Eocene and Oligocene
paleoaltitudes in midlatitude western North America, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 110, 664-678, 1998.
Brown, E. T., D. L. Bourlès, B. C. Burchfiel, Deng Qidong, Li Jun, P. Molnar, G. M. Raisbeck, and F.
Yiou, Estimation of slip rates in the southern Tien Shan using cosmic ray exposure dates of abandoned alluvial fans, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 110, 377-386, 1998.
Wolfe, J. A., H. E. Schorn, C. E. Forest, and P. Molnar, Paleobotanical evidence for high altitudes in
Nevada during the Miocene, Science, 276, 1672-1675, 1997.
England, P., and P. Molnar, The field of crustal velocity in Asia calculated from Quaternary rates of
slip on faults, Geophys. J. Int., 130, 551-582, 1997.
Abdrakhmatov, K. Ye., S. A. Aldazhanov, B. H. Hager, M. W. Hamburger, T. A. Herring, K. B.
Kalabaev, V. I. Makarov, P. Molnar, S. V. Panasyuk, M. T. Prilepin, R. E. Reilinger, I. S. Sadybakasov, B. J. Souter, Yu. A. Trapeznikov, V. Ye. Tsurkov, and A. V. Zubovich, Relatively recent construction of the Tien Shan inferred from GPS measurements of present-day crustal deformation rates, Nature, 384, 450-453, 1996.
Burtman, V. S., S. F. Skobelev, and P. Molnar, Late Cenozoic slip on the Talas-Ferghana fault, the
Tien Shan, central Asia, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 108, 1004-1021, 1996.
Bayarsayhan, Ch., A. Bayasgalan , B. Enhtuvshin, K. W. Hudnut, R. A. Kurushin, P. Molnar, and M.
Ölziybat, 1957 Gobi-Altay, Mongolia earthquake as a prototype for southern California's most devastating earthquake, Geology, 24, 579-582, 1996.
Molnar, P. and J. M. Gipson, A bound on the rheology of continental lithosphere using very long
baseline interferometry: The velocity of South China with respect to Eurasia, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 545-553, 1996.
Forest, C. E., P. Molnar, and K. A. Emanuel, Palaeoaltimetry from energy conservation principles,
Nature, 374, 347-350, 1995.
Molnar, P., and J. M. Gipson, Very long baseline interferometry and active rotations of crustal blocks
in the Western Transverse Ranges, California, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 106, 594-606, 1994.
Zhang Peizhen, B. C. Burchfiel, P. Molnar, Zhang Weiqi, Jiao Dechen, Deng Qidong, Wang Yipeng,
L. Royden, and Song Fangmin, Amount and style of late Cenozoic deformation in the Liupan Shan area, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China, Tectonics, 10, 1111-1129, 1991.
Burchfiel, B. C., Zhang Peizhen, Wang Yipeng, Zhang Weiqi, Song Fangmin, Deng Qidong, P.
Molnar, and L. Royden, Geology of the Haiyuan fault zone, Ningxia-Hui Autonomous Region, China, and its relation to the evolution of the northeastern margin of the Tibetan plateau, Tectonics, 10, 1091-1110, 1991.
Ménard, G., P. Molnar, and J. P. Platt, Budget of crustal shortening and subduction of continental
crust in the Alps, Tectonics, 10, 231-244, 1991.
Jackson, J., and P. Molnar, Active faulting and block rotations in the western Transverse Ranges,
California, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 22,073-22,087, 1990.
Chen, W.-P., and P. Molnar, Source parameters of earthquakes and intraplate deformation beneath
the Shillong Plateau and northern Indoburman Ranges, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 12,527-12,552, 1990.
England, P., and P. Molnar, Surface uplift, uplift of rocks, and exhumation of rocks, Geology, 18,
1173-1177, 1990.
England, P., and P. Molnar, Right-lateral shear and rotation as the explanation for strike-slip faulting
in eastern Tibet, Nature, 344,140-142, 1990.
Zhang Peizhen, B. C. Burchfiel, P. Molnar, Zhang Weiqi, Jiao Decheng, Deng Qidong, Wang Yipeng,
L. Royden, and Song Fangmin, Late Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Ningxia-Hui Autonomous Region, China, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 102, 1484-1498, 1990.
Molnar, P., and H. Lyon-Caen, Fault plane solutions of earthquakes and active tectonics of the
Tibetan Plateau and its margins, Geophys. J. Int., 99, 123-153, 1989.
Kidd, W. S. F., and P. Molnar, Quaternary and active faulting observed on the 1985 Academia
Sinica-Royal Society geotraverse of Tibet, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., Ser. A, 327, 337-363, 1988.
Zhang Peizhen, P. Molnar, Zhang Weiqi, Deng Qidong, Wang Yipeng, B. C. Burchfiel, Song
Fangmin, L. Royden, and Jiao Decheng, Bounds on the recurrence interval of major earthquakes along the Haiyuan fault in north-central China, Seismol. Res. Lett., 59, 81-89, 1988.
Zhang Peizhen, P. Molnar, B. C. Burchfiel, L. Royden, Wang Yipeng, Deng Qidong, Song Fangmin,
Zhang Weiqi, and Jiao Decheng, Bounds on the Holocene slip rate of the Haiyuan fault, north-central China, Quaternary Research, 30, 151-164, 1988.
Pandey, M. R., and P. Molnar, The distribution of intensity of the Bihar-Nepal earthquake of 15
January 1934 and bounds on the extent of the rupture zone, J. Geol. Soc. Nepal, 5, 22-44, 1988.
Ménard, G., and P. Molnar, Collapse of a Hercynian Tibetan Plateau into a late Palaeozoic Basin and
Range Province in southern Europe, Nature, 334, 235-237, 1988.
Molnar, P., Inversion of profiles of uplift rates for the geometry of dip-slip faults at depth, with
examples from the Alps and the Himalaya, Annales Geophysicae, 5B, 663-670, 1987.
Nelson, M. R., R. McCaffrey, and P. Molnar, Source parameters for 11 earthquakes in the Tien Shan,
Central Asia, determined by P and SH waveform inversion, J. Geophys. Res., 92, 12,629-12,648, 1987.
Zhang Weiqi, Jiao Decheng, Zhang Peizhen, P. Molnar, B. C. Burchfiel, Deng Qidong, and Wang
Yipeng, Displacement along the Haiyuan fault associated with the great 1920 Haiyuan, China, earthquake, Bull. Seismo. Soc. Amer. 77, 117-181, 1987.
Molnar, P., B. C. Burchfiel, Zhao Ziyun, Liang K'uangyi, Wang Shuji, and Huang Minmin, The geologic
evolution of northern Tibet: Results from an expedition to Ulugh Muztagh, Science, 235, 299-304, 1987.
Chang Chengfa, Chen Nansheng, M. P. Coward, Deng Wanming, J. F. Dewey, A. Gansser, N. B. W.
Harris, Jin Chengwei, W. S. F. Kidd, M. R. Leeder, Li Huan, Lin Jinlu, Liu Chengjie, Mei Houjun, P. Molnar, Pan Yun, Pan Yusheng, J. A. Pearce, R. M. Shackleton, A. B. Smith, Sun Yiyin, M. Ward, D. Watts, Xu Juntao, Xu Ronghua, Yin Jixiang, and Zhang Yuquan, Preliminary conclusions of the Royal Society and Academia Sinica 1985 geotraverse of Tibet, Nature, 323, 501-507, 1986.
Baranowski, J., J. Armbruster, L. Seeber, and P. Molnar, Focal depths and fault plane solutions of
earthquakes and active tectonics of the Himalaya, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 6918-6928, 1984.
Molnar, P. and Deng Qidong, Faulting associated with large earthquakes and the average rate of
deformation in central and eastern Asia, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 6203-6227, 1984.
Deng Qidong, Song Fangmin, Zhu Shilong, Li Mengluan, Wang Tielin, Zhang Weiqi, B. C. Burchfiel,
P. Molnar, and Zhang Peizhen, Active faulting and tectonics of the Ningxia-Hui Autonomous Region, China, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 4427-4445, 1984.
Le Dain, A. Y., P. Tapponnier, and P. Molnar, Active faulting and tectonics of Burma and surrounding
regions, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 453-472, 1984.
Suárez, G., P. Molnar and B. C. Burchfiel, Seismicity, fault plane solutions, depth of faulting and
active tectonics of the Andes of Peru, Ecuador and southern Colombia, J. Geophys. Res., 88, 10,403-10,428, 1983.
Molnar, P. and W.-P Chen, Focal depths and fault plane solutions of earthquakes under the Tibetan
plateau, J. Geophys. Res., 88, 1180-1196, 1983.
Molnar, P., Average regional strain due to slip on numerous faults of different orientations, J.
Geophys. Res., 88, 6430-6432, 1983.
Molnar, P. and W.-P. Chen, Seismicity and Mountain Building, in Mountain Building Processes, K.
Hsu, ed., Academic Press, London, 41-57, 1982.
Chen, W.-P., J. L. Nábelek, T. J. Fitch, and P. Molnar, An intermediate depth earthquake beneath
Tibet: Source characteristics of the event of September 14, 1976, J. Geophys. Res., 86, 2863-2876, 1981.
Chatelain, J.-L., S. W. Roecker, D. Hatzfeld, and P. Molnar, Microearthquake seismicity and fault
plane solutions in the Hindu-Kush region and their tectonic implications, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 1365-1387, 1980.
Jackson, J., P. Molnar, H. Patton, T. J. Fitch, Seismotectonic aspects of the Markansu Valley,
Tadjikstan, earthquake of August 11, 1974, J. Geophys. Res., 84, 6157-6167, 1979.
Tapponnier, P. and P. Molnar, Active faulting and Cenozoic tectonics of the Tien Shan, Mongolia and
Baykal Regions, J. Geophys. Res., 84, 3425-3459, 1979.
Molnar, P. and P. Tapponnier, Active tectonics of Tibet, J. Geophys. Res., 83, 5361-5375, 1978.
Chen, W.-P. and P. Molnar, Seismic moments of major earthquakes and the average rate of slip in
Central Asia, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 2945-2969, 1977.
Tapponnier, P. and P. Molnar, Active faulting and tectonics of China, J. Geophys. Res., 82,
2905-2930, 1977.
Molnar, P. and P. Tapponnier, Cenozoic tectonics of Asia: Effects of a continental collision, Science,
189, 419-426, 1975.
Molnar, P., T. J. Fitch, and F. T. Wu, Fault plane solutions of shallow earthquakes and contemporary
tectonics in Asia, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 19, 101-112, 1973.

    (b) Deep structure of mountain belts. My interests include constraining the extent to which faults penetrate the Moho and extend into the mantle, the degree to which flow within the crust might occur, the role of the mantle lithosphere and in particular how we might quantify its deformation. Toward the first, I have been involved with a study (by Charles Wilson as part of his PhD work at CU) using receiver functions to determine whether the Moho beneath the Marlborough faults in New Zealand offset the Moho or diffuse into broad shears zones within the crust. Currently, I work with Nikolai Shapiro and Mike Ritzwoller (Physics Department, CU) on anisotropy within the crust of Tibet. Finally, I will be involved in a study of anisotropy beneath New Zealand to quantify the extent to which it can be used as a strain gauge for mantle deformation. My role in these seismological studies is modest, but as my initial graduate training was in seismology, and seismology offers the highest resolution of crustal and mantle structure, I stay as involved as I can in such work.

Some relevant publications:

Zietlow, D. W., A. F. Sheehan, P. H. Molnar, M. K. Savage, G. Hirth, J. A. Collins, and B. H. Hager (2014),
Upper mantle seismic anisotropy at a strike-slip boundary: South Island, New Zealand, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 119, 1020–1040, doi:10.1002/2013JB010676.
Collins, J. A., P. Molnar, and A. F. Sheehan (2011), Multibeam bathymetric surveys of submarine volcanoes and
mega-pockmarks on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 54, 329-339.
Duret, F., N. M. Shapiro, Z. Cao, V. Levin, P. Molnar, and S. Roecker (2010), Surface wave dispersion across Tibet:
Direct evidence for radial anisotropy in the crust, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L16306, doi:10.1029/2010GL043811.
Wilson, C. K., C. H. Jones, P. Molnar, A. F. Sheehan, and O. S. Boyd (2004), Distributed
deformation in the lower crust and upper mantle beneath a continental strike-slip fault zone: Marlborough fault system, South Island, New Zealand, Geology, 32, 837-840.
Shapiro, N. M., M. H. Ritzwoller, P. Molnar, and V. Levin (2004), Thinning and flow of Tibetan crust
constrained by the seismic anisotropy, Science, 305, 233-236.
Gilbert, H. J., A. F. Sheehan, K. G. Dueker, and P. Molnar, Receiver functions in the western United
States, with implications for upper mantle structure and dynamics, J. Geophys. Res., 108(B5), 2229, doi:10.1029/2001JB001194, 2003.
Scherwath, M., A. Melhuish, T. Stern, and P. Molnar, Pn anisotropy and distributed upper mantle
deformation associated with a continental transform fault, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29(8), 10.1029/2001GL014179, 2002.
Stern, T., P. Molnar, D. Okaya, and D. Eberhart-Philips, Teleseismic P wave delays and modes of
shortening the mantle lithosphere beneath South Island, New Zealand, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 21,615-21,632, 2000.
Burov, E. B., and P. Molnar, Gravity anomalies over the Ferghana Valley (central Asia) and
intracontinental deformation, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 18,137-18,152, 1998.
Woodward, R. L., and P. Molnar, Lateral heterogeneity in the upper mantle and SS-S traveltime
intervals for SS rays reflected from the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 135, 139-148, 1995.
Pandey, M. R., S. W. Roecker, and P. Molnar, P-wave residuals at stations in Nepal: evidence for a
high velocity region beneath the Karakorum, Geophys. Res. Lett., 18, 1909-1912, 1991.
Molnar, P., S-wave residuals from earthquakes in the Tibetan region and lateral variations in the
upper mantle, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 101, 68-77, 1990.
Burov, E. V., M. G. Kogan, H. Lyon-Caen and P. Molnar, Gravity anomalies, the deep structure, and
dynamic processes beneath the Tien Shan, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 96, 367-383, 1990.
Lyon-Caen, H., and P. Molnar, Constraints on the deep structure and dynamic processes beneath the
Alps and adjacent regions from an analysis of gravity anomalies, Geophys. J. Int., 99, 19-32, 1989.
M.I.T. 1985 Field Geophysics Course and Shawn Biehler, A geophysical investigation of the northern
Panamint Valley, Inyo County, California: Evidence for possible low angle normal faulting at shallow depth in the crust, J. Geophys. Res., 92, 10,427-10,441, 1987.
Lyon-Caen, H. and P. Molnar, Gravity anomalies, flexure of the Indian plate, and the structure, support
and evolution of the Himalaya and Ganga Basin, Tectonics, 4, 513-538, 1985.
Lyon-Caen, H. and P. Molnar, Gravity anomalies and the structure of western Tibet and the southern
Tarim Basin, Geophys. Res. Lett., 11, 1251-1254, 1984.
Molnar, P. and W.-P. Chen, S-P wave travel time residuals and lateral inhomogeneity in the mantle
beneath Tibet and the Himalaya, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 6911-6917, 1984.
Grange, F., D. Hatzfeld, P. Cunningham, P. Molnar, S. W. Roecker, G. Suárez, A. Rodriques, and L.
Ocola, Microearthquake seismicity and fault plane solutions in southern Peru, J. Geophys. Res., 89, 6139-6152, 1984.
Lyon-Caen, H. and P. Molnar, Constraints on the structure of the Himalaya from an analysis of gravity
anomalies and a flexural model of the lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 88, 8171-8191, 1983.
Chen, W.-P. and P. Molnar, Constraints on the seismic wave velocity structure beneath the Tibetan
Plateau and their tectonic implications, J. Geophys. Res., 86, 5937-5962, 1981.
Khalturin, V. I., T. G. Rautian, and P. Molnar, The spectral content of Pamir-Hindu Kush intermediate
depth earthquakes: Evidence for a high-Q zone in the upper mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 2931-2943, 1977.
Ruzaikin, A. I., I. L. Nersesov, V. I. Khalturin, and P. Molnar, Propagation of Lg and lateral variations in
crustal structure in Asia, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 307-316, 1977.
Molnar, P., W.-P. Chen, T. J. Fitch, P. Tapponnier, W. E. K. Warsi, and F. T. Wu, Structure and
tectonics of the Himalaya: A brief summary of relevant geophysical observations, Collogue Internationaux du CNRS, No. 268, Himalaya: Sciences de la Terre, Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, 269-294, 1977.

    (c) The mechanics of continental deformation. My current work exploits simplified aspects of large-scale deformation. Katherine Dayem (CU graduate student), Gregory Houseman (Leeds University), and I are carrying out numerical experiments on a thin viscous sheet to understand the role of strong regions embedded in a viscously deforming lithosphere, with the goals of understanding how localized strain (faulting) might develop. Houseman and I use Rayleigh-Taylor instability to understand how both non-Newtonian viscosity and the low-density, buoyant overlying crust affects gravitational instability of thickened mantle lithosphere, as should occur beneath mountain belts. One goal is constrain the plausible viscosity structure for continental lithosphere, and an application of scaling laws developed by Houseman and others allowed Craig Jones and me to test flow laws for olivine, measured in the laboratory.

Some relevant publications:

Molnar, P., and G. A. Houseman (2013), Rayleigh-Taylor instability, lithospheric dynamics, surface topography at convergent
mountain belts, and gravity anomalies, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 118, 2544–2557, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50203.
Molnar, P., and K. E. Dayem (2010), Major intracontinental strike-slip faults and contrasts in lithospheric strength,
Geosphere, 6, 444-467.
Harig, C., P. Molnar, and G. A. Houseman (2010), Lithospheric thinning and localization of deformation during
Rayleigh-Taylor instability with nonlinear rheology and implications for intracontinental magmatism, J. Geophys. Res., 115, B02205, doi:10.1029/2009JB006422.
Dayem, K. E., P. Molnar, M. K. Clark, and G. A. Houseman (2009), Far-field lithospheric deformation in Tibet during
continental collision, Tectonics, 28, TC6005, doi:10.1029/2008TC002344.
Dayem, K. E., G. A. Houseman, and P. Molnar (2009), Localization of shear along a lithospheric strength
discontinuity: Application of a continuous deformation model to the boundary between Tibet and the Tarim Basin, Tectonics, 28, TC3002, doi:10.1029/2008TC002264.
Harig, C., P. Molnar, and G. A. Houseman (2008), Rayleigh-Taylor instability under a shear stress free top boundary
condition and its relevance to removal of mantle lithosphere from beneath the Sierra Nevada, Tectonics, 27, TC6019, doi:10.1029/2007TC002241.
Burov, E. B., and P. Molnar (2008), Small and large-amplitude gravitational instability of an elastically compressible
viscoelastic Maxwell solid overlying an inviscid incompressible fluid: Dependence of growth rates on wave number and elastic constants at low Deborah numbers, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 275, 370-381.
Jaupart, C., P. Molnar, and E. Cottrell (2007), Instability of a chemically dense layer heated from
below and overlain by a deep less viscous fluid, J. Fluid Mech., 572, 433-469.
Molnar, P., and C. N. Garzione (2007), Bounds on the viscosity coefficient of continental lithosphere
from removal of mantle lithosphere beneath the Altiplano and Eastern Cordillera, Tectonics, 26, TC2013, doi:10.1029/2006TC001964.
Hilley, G. E., R. Bürgmann, P.-Z. Zhang, and P. Molnar (2005), Bayesian inference of plastosphere
viscosities near the Kunlun Fault, northern Tibet, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L01302, doi:10.1029/ 2004GL021658.
Cottrell, E., C. Jaupart, and P. Molnar (2004), Marginal stability of thick continental lithosphere,
Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L18612, doi:10.1029/2004GL020332.
Molnar, P., and G. A. Houseman (2004), Effects of buoyant crust on the gravitational instability of
thickened mantle lithosphere at zones of intracontinental convergence, Geophys. J. Int., 158, 1134-1150.
Molnar, P., and C. H. Jones (2004), A test of laboratory based rheological parameters of olivine from
an analysis of late Cenozoic convective removal of mantle lithosphere beneath the Sierra Nevada, California, USA, Geophys. J. Int., 156, 555-564.
Von Herzen, R., C. Ruppel, P. Molnar, M. Nettles, S. Nagihara, and G. Ekström, A Constraint on the
shear stress at the Pacific-Australia plate boundary from heat flow and seismicity at the Kermadec forearc, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 6817-6833, 2001.
Molnar, P., H. J. Anderson, E. Audoine, D. Eberhart-Phillips, K. R. Gledhill, E. R. Klosko, T. V.
McEvilly, D. Okaya, M. K. Savage, T. Stern, and F. T. Wu, Continuous Deformation Versus Faulting through the Continental Lithosphere of New Zealand, Science, 286, 516-519, 1999.
Conrad, C. P., and P. Molnar, Convective instability of a boundary layer with temperature- and
strain-rate-dependent viscosity in terms of 'available buoyancy,' Geophys. J. Int., 139, 51-68, 1999.
Molnar, P., G. A. Houseman, and C. P. Conrad, Rayleigh-Taylor instability and convective thinning of
mechanically thickened lithosphere: effects of non-linear viscosity decreasing exponentially with depth and of horizontal shortening of the layer, Geophys. J. Int., 133, 568-584, 1998.
England, P., and P. Molnar, Active deformation of Asia: from kinematics to dynamics, Science, 278,
647-650, 1997.
Houseman, G. A., and P. Molnar, Gravitational (Rayleigh-Taylor) instability of a layer with non-linear
viscosity and convective thinning of continental lithosphere, Geophys. J. Int., 128, 125-150, 1997.
Conrad, C. P., and P. Molnar, The growth of Rayleigh-Taylor-type instabilities in the lithosphere for
various rheological and density structures, Geophys. J. Int., 129, 95-112, 1997.
Martinod, J., and P. Molnar, Lithospheric folding in the Indian Ocean and the rheology of the oceanic
plate, Bull. Soc. géol. France, 166, 813-821, 1995.
Molnar, P., and P. England, Temperatures in zones of steady-state underthrusting of young oceanic
lithosphere, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett, 131, 57-70, 1995.
England, P., and P. Molnar, Cause and effect among thrust and normal faulting, anatectic melting and
exhumation in the Himalaya, in Himalayan Tectonics, Geol. Soc. (of London) Spec. Pub., 74, ed. by P. J. Treloar and M. P. Searle, 401-411, 1993.
England, P., and P. Molnar, The interpretation of inverted metamorphic isograds using simple
physical calculations, Tectonics, 12, 145-157, 1993.
Molnar, P., Crust in mantle overdrive, Nature, 358, 105-106, 1992.
Molnar, P., Brace-Goetze strength profiles, the partitioning of strike-slip and thrust faulting at zones of
oblique convergence, and the stress-heat flow paradox of the San Andreas fault, Fault Mechanics and Transport Properties in Rocks: A Festschrift in Honor of W. F. Brace, ed. by B. Evans and T.-f. Wong, Academic Press, London, 435-459, 1992.
Chatelain, J. L., P. Molnar, R. Prévot, and B. L. Isacks, Detachment of part of the downgoing slab and
uplift of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) Islands, Geophys. Res. Lett., 19(14), 1507-1510, 1992.
England, P., P. Le Fort, P. Molnar, and A. Pêcher, Heat sources for Tertiary metamorphism and
anatexis in the Annapurna-Manaslu region central Nepal, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 2107-2128, 1992.
England, P., and P. Molnar, Inferences of deviatoric stress in actively deforming belts from simple
physical models, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. A, 337, 151-164, 1991.
Molnar, P., and P. England, Temperatures, heat flux, and frictional stress near major thrust faults, J.
Geophys. Res., 95, 4833-4856, 1990.
Molnar, P., and H. Lyon-Caen, Some simple physical aspects of the support, structure, and evolution
of mountain belts, in Processes in Continental Lithospheric Deformation, Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Pap. 218, 179-207, 1988.
Chen, W.-P. and P. Molnar, Focal depths of intracontinental and intraplate earthquakes and their
implications for the thermal and mechanical properties of the lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 88, 4183-4214, 1983.
Dalmayrac, B. and P. Molnar, Parallel thrust and normal faulting in Peru and constraints on the state
of stress, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 55, 473-481, 1981.
Molnar, P. and P. Tapponnier, A possible dependence of tectonic strength on the age of the crust in
Asia, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 52, 107-114, 1981.
Houseman, G. A., D. P. McKenzie, and P. Molnar, Convective instability of a thickened boundary
layer and its relevance for the thermal evolution of continental convergent belts, J. Geophys. Res., 86, 6115-6132, 1981.
Molnar, P. and D. Gray, Subduction of continental lithosphere: Some constraints and uncertainties,
Geology, 7, 58-62, 1979.
Molnar, P., D. Freedman, and J. S. F. Shih, Lengths of intermediate and deep seismic zones and
temperatures in downgoing slabs of lithosphere, Geophys. J. Roy. Astr. Soc., 56, 41-54, 1979.
Molnar, P. and T. Atwater, Interarc spreading and cordilleran tectonics as alternates related to the
age of subducted oceanic lithosphere, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 41, 330-340, 1979.
Molnar, P. and P. Tapponnier, Relation of the tectonics of eastern China to the India-Eurasia
collision: Application of slip-line field theory to large-scale continental tectonics, Geology, 5, 212-216, 1977.
Tapponnier, P. and P. Molnar, Slip-line field theory and large-scale continental tectonics, Nature, 264,
319-324, 1976.

In addition, I have written some review papers on large-scale continental deformation, both for technical and for more general audiences:

Hatzfeld, D., and P. Molnar (2010), Comparisons of the kinematics and deep structures of the Zagros and Himalaya
and of the Iranian and Tibetan plateaus and geodynamic implications, Rev. Geophys., 48, RG2005, doi:10.1029/2009RG000304.
England, P., P. Molnar, and F. Richter (2007), John Perry's neglected critique of Kelvin's age for
the Earth: A missed opportunity in geodynamics, GSA Today, 17(1), 4-9.
Molnar, P. (2005), Mio-Pliocene Growth of the Tibetan Plateau and Evolution of East Asian Climate,
Palaeontologia Electronica, 8, 8.1.2A, 23p, 625KB;
Molnar, P., P. England, and J. Martinod, Mantle dynamics, the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau, and the
Indian monsoon, Reviews of Geophysics, 31, 357-396, 1993.
Molnar, P., A review of seismicity, recent faulting, and active deformation of the Tibetan Plateau, J.
Himalayan Geology, 3 (1), 43-78, 1992.
Molnar, P., A review of the seismicity and the rates of underthrusting and deformation at the
Himalaya, J. Himalayan Geology 1(2), 131-154, 1990.
Molnar, P., The geologic evolution of the Tibetan Plateau, Amer. Sci., 77, 350-360, 1989.
Molnar, P., Continental tectonics in the aftermath of plate tectonics, Nature, 335, 131-137, 1988.
Molnar, P., A review of geophysical constraints on the deep structure of the Tibetan Plateau, the
Himalaya, and the Karakorum and their tectonic implications, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., Ser. A, 326, 33-88, 1988.
Molnar, P., Ulugh Muztagh: The highest peak on the northern Tibetan Plateau, Alpine J., 92, 104-116,
Molnar, P., The Structure of mountain ranges, Sci. Amer., 254, 70-79, July, 1986.
Molnar, P., The geologic history and structure of the Himalaya, Amer. Sci., 74, 144-154, 1986.
Molnar, P., Structure and tectonics of the Himalaya: Constraints and implications of geophysical data,
Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 12, 489-518, 1984.
Molnar, P., and P. Tapponnier, The collision between India and Eurasia, Sci. Amer., 236(4), 30-41,

2. Tectonics and Climate:

    Large-scale tectonics affects the circulation of the oceans and atmosphere in two obvious ways: (a) gateways between oceans with different properties can open or close and thus alter the composition and temperature structure of the oceans, and (b) the growth of mountain ranges can alter atmospheric circulation. Both attract me. Mark Cane (Columbia University) and I have argued that the closing of the Indonesian Seaway may have altered the temperature structure of both the Indian and Pacific Oceans so that East Africa became wetter over the approximate period when humans evolved, and the present-day tropical Pacific moved from what was effectively a permanent El Niño condition to the present, for which El Niño occurs only rarely. My current focus, however, again is toward determining when the Tibetan Plateau grew to its present-day height and lateral extent, and how that growth affected both the Indian and the east Asian Monsoons. I hope to become involved with paleoclimatologists in the drilling of Qinghai, a large lake on the NE edge of Tibet, among a number of ventures into this field and geographic region.

Some relevant publications:

Rajagopalan, B., and P. Molnar (2014), Combining regional moist static energy and ENSO for forecasting of early
and late season Indian monsoon rainfall and its extremes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 4323–4331, doi:10.1002/2014GL060429.
Mestas-Nuñez, A. M., and P. Molnar (2014), A mechanism for freshening the Caribbean Sea in pre-Ice Age time,
Paleoceanography, 29, 508–517, doi:10.1002/2013PA002515.
Rajagopalan, B., and P. Molnar (2013), Signatures of Tibetan Plateau heating on Indian summer monsoon rainfall variability,
J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 1170–1178, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50124.
Rajagopalan, B., and P. Molnar (2012), Pacific Ocean sea-surface temperature variability and predictability of
rainfall in the early and late parts of the Indian summer monsoon season, Climate Dynamics, 39, 1543–1557.
Molnar, P., and B. Rajagopalan (2012), Late Miocene upward and outward growth of eastern Tibet and decreasing
monsoon rainfall over the northwestern Indian subcontinent since ~10 Ma, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L09702, doi:10.1029/2012GL051305.
Molnar, P., and B. Rajagopalan (2012), Late Miocene upward and outward growth of eastern Tibet and decreasing
monsoon rainfall over the northwestern Indian subcontinent since ~10 Ma, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L09702, doi:10.1029/2012GL051305. (Auxiliary Material)
Dayem, K. E., P. Molnar, D. S. Battisti, and G. H. Roe (2010), Lessons learned from oxygen isotopes in modern
precipitation applied to interpretation of speleothem records of paleoclimate from eastern Asia, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 295, 219-230.
Molnar, P., W. R. Boos, and D. S. Battisti (2010), Orographic controls on climate and paleoclimate of Asia: Thermal
and mechanical roles for the Tibetan Plateau, Annual Reviews of Earth & Planetary Science, 38, 77–102.
Molnar, P. (2010), Deuterium and oxygen isotopes, paleoelevations of the Sierra Nevada, and Cenozoic climate,
Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 122, 1106–1115.
Jochum, M., B. Fox-Kemper, P. H. Molnar, and C. Shields (2009), Differences in the Indonesian seaway in a
coupled climate model and their relevance to Pliocene climate and El Niño, Paleoceanography, 24, PA1212, doi:10.1029/2008PA001678.
Molnar, P. (2008), Closing of the Central American Seaway and the Ice Age: A critical review, Paleoceanography,
23, PA2201, doi:10.1029/2007PA001574.
Dayem, K. E., D. C. Noone, and P. Molnar (2007), Tropical western Pacific warm pool and
maritime continent precipitation rates and their contrasting relationships with the Walker Circulation, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D06101, doi:10.1029/2006JD007870.
Molnar, P., and M. A. Cane (2007), Early Pliocene (Pre-Ice Age) El Niño-like Global Climate:
Which El Niño?, Geosphere, 3(5), 337-365.
Huybers, P., and P. Molnar (2007), Tropical cooling and the onset of North American glaciation,
Clim. Past, 3, 549-557, 2007.
Brown, E. T., R. Bendick, D. L. Bourlès, V. Gaur, P. Molnar, G. M. Raisbeck, and F. Yiou, Early
Holocene climate recorded in geomorphological features in Western Tibet, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 199, 141-151, 2003.
Molnar, P., and M. A. Cane, El Niño's tropical climate and teleconnections as a blueprint for pre-Ice
Age climates, Paleoceanography, 17 (2), 10.1029/2001PA000663, 2002.
Cane, M. A., and P. Molnar, Closing of the Indonesian seaway as a precursor to east African
aridification around 3–4 million years ago, Nature, 411, 157-162, 2001.
Molnar, P., and K. A. Emanuel, Temperature profiles in radiative-convective equilibrium above
surfaces of different heights, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 24,265-24,271, 1999.
Gillespie, A., and P. Molnar, Asynchronous maximum advances of mountain and continental glaciers,
Rev. Geophys., 33, 311-364, 1995.
Molnar, P., and P. England, Late Cenozoic uplift of mountain ranges and global climate change:
chicken or egg?, Nature, 346, 29-34, 1990.

3. Climate change and the geomorphology of mountain ranges.

    Collaborative work with Zhang Pei-zhen (National Earthquake Administration, China) suggests that erosion rates increased abruptly approximately when climate change 3-4 million years ago toward a cooler global climate. This poses the question of how has such a change affected erosion rates. My working hypotheses are that the job of rivers is not to erode, but to transport sediment, and that rivers are most effective is rare large floods. Thus, my foci concern how other processes might convert bedrock to bedload (such as topographically induced stress in valley floors fracturing rock by static fatigue), trying to quantify aspects of floods, and measuring erosion rates in steep terrain (like the Himalaya). With little training in this and without a clearly articulated strategy, I merely grope forward following hunches that others seem to have discarded or ignored, mostly for the fun of working in a field with so many pleasant people.

Some relevant publications:

Zhang, H.-p., P.-z. Zhang, J.-D. Champagnac, P. Molnar , R. S. Anderson, E. Kirby, W. H. Craddock, and S.-f. Liu (2014),
Pleistocene drainage reorganization driven by isostatic response to deep erosion into the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, Geology, 42, 303-306.
Champagnac, J.-D., P. Molnar, C. Sue, and F. Herman (2012), Tectonics, climate, and mountain topography, J.
Geophys. Res., 117, B02403, doi:10.1029/2011JB008348.
Molnar, P., (2012), Isostasy can’t be ignored, Nature Geoscience, 5, 83.
Molnar, P. (2009), The state of interactions among tectonics, erosion, and climate: A polemic,
GSA Today, 19(7), 44-45.
Champagnac, J. D., P. Molnar, R. S. Anderson, C. Sue, and B. Delacou (2007), Quaternary
erosion-induced isostatic rebound in the Western Alps, Geology, 35, 195-198.
Molnar, P., R. S. Anderson, and S. P. Anderson (2007), Tectonics, fracturing of rock, and erosion,
J. Geophys. Res., 112, F03014, doi:10.1029/2005JF000433.
Molnar, P., R. S. Anderson, G. Kier, and J. Rose (2006), Relationships among probability
distributions of stream discharges in floods, climate, bed load transport, and river incision, J. Geophys. Res., 111, F02001, doi:10.1029/2005JF000310.
Anderson, R. S., P. Molnar, and M. A. Kessler (2006), Features of glacial valley profiles simply
explained, J. Geophys Res., 111, F01004, doi:10.1029/2005JF000344.
Molnar, P. (2004), Interactions among topographically induced elastic stress, static fatigue, and valley
incision, J. Geophys. Res., 109, F02010, doi:10.1029/2003JF000097.
Molnar, P. (2004), Late Cenozoic increase in accumulation rates of terrestrial sediment: How might
climate change have affected erosion rates?, Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 32, 67-89.
Molnar, P., Nature, nurture and landscape, Nature, 426, 612-614, 2003.
Molnar, P., Climate change, flooding in arid environments, and erosion rates, Geology, 29,
1071-1074, 2001.
Zhang Peizhen, P. Molnar, and W. R. Downs, Increased sedimentation rates and grain sizes 2–4 Myr
ago due to the influence of climate change on erosion rates, Nature, 410, 891-897, 2001.
Molnar, P., E. T. Brown, B. C. Burchfiel, Deng Qidong, Feng Xianyue, Li Jun, G. M. Raisbeck, Shi
Jianbang, Wu Zhangming, F. Yiou, and You Huichuan, Quaternary climate change and the formation of river terraces across growing anticlines on the north flank of the Tien Shan, China, J. Geol., 102, 583-602, 1994.

Dormant pursuits. Much of my work when I was a graduate student and for many years alter focused on aspects of plate tectonics and on earthquakes as mechanic processes. Although I no longer pursue these vigorously, I list some relevant papers below.

Plate tectonics: Some publications:

Stock, J., and P. Molnar, Uncertainties and implications of the late Cretaceous and Tertiary position
of North America relative to the Farallon, Kula, and Pacific plates, Tectonics, 7, 1339-1384, 1988.
Molnar, P., F. Pardo-Casas, and J. Stock, The Cenozoic and late Cretaceous evolution of the Indian
Ocean basin: Uncertainties in the reconstructed positions of the Indian, African, and Antarctic plates, Basin Res., 1, 23-40, 1988.
Rosa, J. W. C., and P. Molnar, Uncertainties in reconstructions of the Pacific, Farallon, Vancouver,
and Kula plates and constraints on the rigidity of the Pacific and Farallon (and Vancouver) plates between 72 and 35 Ma, J. Geophys. Res., 93, 2997-3008, 1988.
Molnar, P. and J. Stock, Relative motions of hotspots in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans since
late Cretaceous time, Nature, 327, 587-591, 1987.
Pardo-Casas, F. and P. Molnar, Relative motion of the Nazca (Farallon) and South American plates
since Late Cretaceous time, Tectonics, 6, 233-248, 1987.
Stock, J., and P. Molnar, Revised history of early Tertiary plate motion in the south-west Pacific,
Nature, 325, 495-499, 1987.
Molnar, P. and J. M. Stock, A method for bounding uncertainties in combined plate reconstructions, J.
Geophys. Res., 90, 12,537-12,544, 1985.
Stock, J. M. and P. Molnar, Some geometrical aspects of uncertainties in combined plate
reconstructions, Geology, 11, 697-701, 1983.
Suárez, G. and P. Molnar, Paleomagnetic data and pelagic sediment facies and the motion of the
Pacific plate relative to the spin axis since the late Cretaceous, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 5257-5280, 1980.
Molnar, P., Earthquake Recurrence intervals and plate tectonics, Bull. Seismo. Soc. Amer., 69,
115-133, 1979.
Bunce, E. T., and P. Molnar, Seismic reflection profiling and basement topography in the Somali
Basin: Possible fracture zones between Madagascar and Africa, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 5305-5311, 1977.
Shih, J. and P. Molnar, Analysis and implications of the sequence of ridge jumps that eliminated the
Surveyor transform fault, J. Geophys. Res., 80, 4815-4822, 1975.
Molnar, P. and J. Francheteau, The relative motion of "hot spots" in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
During the Cenozoic, Geophys. J. Roy. Astronom. Soc., 43, 763-774, 1975.
Minster, J. B., T. H. Jordan, P. Molnar, and E. Haines, Numerical modelling of instantaneous plate
tectonics, Geophys. J. Roy. Astr. Soc., 36, 541-576, 1974.
Atwater, T. and P. Molnar, Relative motion of the Pacific and North American plates deduced from
sea-floor spreading in the Atlantic, Indian, and South Pacific Oceans, Proc. Conf. on Tectonic Problems of the San Andreas Fault System, Geological Sciences XIII, School of Earth Sciences, Stanford Univ. Publications, 136-148, 1973.
Molnar, P. and T. Atwater, Relative motion of hot spots in the mantle, Nature, 246, 288-291, 1973.
Isacks, B. and P. Molnar, Distribution of stresses in the descending lithosphere from a global survey
of focal-mechanism solutions of mantle earthquakes, Rev. Geophys. Space Phys., 9, 103-174, 1971.
Isacks, B. and P. Molnar, Mantle earthquake mechanisms and the sinking of the lithosphere, Nature,
223, 1121-1124, 1969.
Molnar, P. and L. R. Sykes, Tectonics of the Caribbean and Middle America regions from focal
mechanisms and seismicity, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 80, 1639-1684, 1969.
Molnar, P. and J. Oliver, Lateral variations of attenuation in the upper mantle and discontinuities in the
lithosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 74, 2648-2682, 1969.

Earthquake mechanics: Some publications:

Bilham, R., V. K. Gaur, and P. Molnar, Himalayan seismic hazard, Science, 293, 1442-1444, 2001.
Jones, L. M., and P. Molnar, Some characteristics of foreshocks and their possible relationship to
earthquake prediction and premonitory slip faults, J. Geophys. Res., 84, 3596-3608, 1979.
Jones, L. and P. Molnar, Frequency of foreshocks, Nature, 262, 677-679, 1976.
Molnar, P., B. E. Tucker, and J. N. Brune, Corner frequencies of P and S waves and models of
earthquake sources, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 63, 2091-2104, 1973.
Scholz, C., P. Molnar, and T. Johnson, Detailed studies of frictional sliding of granite and implications
for the earthquake mechanism, J. Geophys. Res., 77, 6392-6406, 1972.

Finally, conceivably, a Medal Citation, an obituary, an autobiographical report, and a spoof might interest someone:

Molnar, P. (2011), Harry Fielding Reid Medal Citation for Tatyana Glebovna Rautian, Seismology Research Letters,
82, 700-701.
Molnar, P. (2011), Jack Oliver (1923-2011), Nature, 470, 176.
Molnar, P., From Plate Tectonics to Continental Tectonics: An Evolving Perspective of Important
Research, from a Graduate Student to an Established Curmudgeon, in Plate tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth, ed. by N. Oreskes, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 288-328, 2001.
Molnar, P., The rise of mountain ranges and the evolution of humans: a causal relation?, Irish J. Earth
Sci., 10, 199-207, 1990.

Geological Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder
UCB 399
Boulder, CO 80309-0399