Karl Mueller
Geological Sciences

Office: BESC 322


I am a structural geologist, one who studies how and why the crust of Earth and other terrestrial planets deform in response to stresses arising from plate motions, loading and erosion.  My research couples kinematic and mechanical analysis of geologic structures and orogenic belts with models of erosion in actively deforming regions.  I also study how incremental strain is accrued during earthquakes to build structures such as faults and folds.  In studies beyond Earth, I have worked to determine how fault-related folds and blind thrusts grow on Mars and Mercury and the implications these structures hold for heat flow early in these planet’s histories. I typically build research efforts with teams of researchers that work together to apply a wide range of complementary techniques in structural and field geology, active tectonics, geomorphology, planetary geology and remote sensing.  Graduate students in my group are thus trained in a variety of methods that cross traditional lines of inquiry in Earth System Science.


Structural geology, active tectonics, earth surface processes, fault-related folds, rheology, salt structures.

Department Topic Areas


  • Postdoc, Princeton University, 1993-1995
  • Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 1992
  • M.S., San Diego State University, 1984
  • B.S., San Diego State University, 1982