Kate Scharer
Assistant Professor
Department of Geology
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Link to my CV.
Scroll down for pubs.

At Appalachian State, I teach Structural Geology and Tectonics (GLY 3150), "Prep" (aka Introduction to Scientific Writing and Field Methods, GLY 2150), Environmental Geology (GLY 1103), Senior Seminar (GLY 4210) and various intro labs. Students can access material for these classes through the Appalachian ASUlearn site page.

Research Interests
I am a structural geologist that specializes in neotectonics, paleoseismology, tectonic geomorphology and radiocarbon geochronology. I use all of these tools to explore my overarching interest in how the crust accommodates and sheds tectonic stresses.

Neotectonics is the study of active deformation of the lithosphere. In this field a primary emphasis of my recent research is to use paleoearthquakes to understand how faults work. I study large, plate boundary faults, principally the southern San Andreas fault, and examine deposits for evidence of past earthquakes. The research requires I combine a careful examination of structural complexities, geomorphology, geochronology, and statistics with the goal of addressing frequency and magnitude of past earthquakes. Since 2007 I have taken a dozen undergraduate students from Appalachian State University to the San Emigdio Mountains in southern California to assist with this work.

Past research focused on emergent behavior of fold and thrust belts, using structural geology, geomorphology, and magnetostratigraphy to explore mountain building. Most of this work was conducted in the Chinese Tian Shan, an arid region where the folds are growing quickly (vertically at 1-2mm/yr and laterally at 40mm/yr) but eroding just as fast (~1 mm/yr). That's me in the photo at right, walking into a slot canyon cut through the ~1Ma Xiyu conglomerate. Fortunately, no rain that day!

The Appalachians may not be growing, but they are certainly eroding! In 1940, for example, over 2000 debris flows occurred during a single storm in Watauga County, where Appalachian State University is located (see the NC Geological Survey for details: http://www.geology.enr.state.nc.us). My investigations are focused on radiocarbon dating to determine the rate that hollows refill after debris flows. The goal is to determine how quickly hillslope material is transported into the fluvial network in the Blue Ridge. This data also provides estimates of the recurrence interval of damaging debris flow events in this rapidly developing region. I am conducting similar studies in California, exploiting paleoseismic data that provide decadal records of debris flows and fires over the past millennium.

Scharer, K.M., Biasi, G. P., Weldon, R. J. II, Fumal, T. E., 2010. Quasi-periodic recurrence of large earthquakes on the southern San Andreas fault, Geology. 38, 555-558. [pdf: ScharerWW2010]

Scharer, K.M., 2010. Changing views of the San Andreas fault, Science. 327, 1089. [pdf: ScharerScience2010]

Philibosian, B., Fumal, T.E., Weldon, R.J. II, Kendrick, K.J., Scharer, K.M., Bemis, S.P., Burgette, R.J., Wisely, B.A., 2009. Photomosaics and Logs of Trenches on the San Andreas Fault near Coachella, California, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1039 2 sheets. [link to USGS Pubs Warehouse]

Scharer, K.M., Weldon, R. J. II, Fumal, T. E., Biasi, G. P., 2007. Paleoearthquakes on the southern San Andreas fault, Wrightwood, CA 3000 to 1500 B.C.: a new method for evaluating paleoseismic evidence and earthquake horizons, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 97, 1054-1093. [pdf: ScharerWW2007]

Biasi, G., Weldon R. J., Scharer, K.M.. in press. Rupture length and paleo-magnitude estimates from point measurements of displacement - A model-based approach, Geological Society of America Special Volume on Paleoseismology.

Chen, J., Heermance, R., Burbank, D., Scharer, K., Wang, C., 2007. Quantification of growth and lateral propagation of the Kashi anticline, southwest Chinese Tian Shan, Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, B03S16. [pdf: ChenJie2007]

Scharer, K.M., Burbank, D. W., Chen, J., Weldon, R. J., 2006. Kinematic models of fluvial terraces over active detachment folds: Constraints on the growth mechanism of the Kashi-Atushi fold system, Chinese Tian Shan, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 118, 1006-1021. [pdf: Scharer2006] [pdf: Scharer2006supp]

Weldon, R. J, Fumal, T. E., Biasi, G. P., Scharer, K.M., 2005. Past and future earthquakes on the San Andreas fault , Science, 308, 966-967.

Scharer, K.M., Burbank, D. W., Chen, J., Weldon, R. J., Rubin, C., Zhao, R., Shen, J., 2004. Detachment folding in the Southwestern Tian Shan - Tarim foreland, China; Shortening estimates and rates, Journal of Structural Geology, 26, 2119-2137. [pdf: Scharer2004]

Weldon, R. J, Scharer, K.M., Fumal, T. E., Biasi, G. P., 2004. Wrightwood and the earthquake cycle: what a long recurrence record tells us about how faults work, GSA Today, 14(9), 4-10. [pdf:GSA Today]

Weldon, R. J., Fletcher, D. K., Weldon, E. M., Scharer, K.M., McCrory, P. A., 2003. An update of Quaternary faults of central and eastern Oregon, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-301, 26 map sheets, scale 1:100,000, 1 CD-ROM.

Weldon, R. J. II, Fumal, T. E., Powers, T. J., Pezzopane, S. K., Scharer, K.M., Hamilton, J. C., 2002. Structure and earthquake offsets on the San Andreas fault at the Wrightwood, California paleoseismic site, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92, 2704-2725.

Chen, J., Burbank, D. W., Scharer, K.M., Sobel, E., Jinhui, Y., Rubin, C., Ruibin, Z., 2002. Magnetochronology of the upper Cenozoic strata in the southwestern Chinese Tian Shan; rates of Pleistocene folding and thrusting, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 195(1-2), 113-130.

Jayko, A., Green, N., Scharer, K.M., 1996. Plio-Pleistocene strain rates associated with regional folding, Sonoma California, Toward Assessing the Seismic Risk Associated with Blind Thrust Faults, San Francisco Bay Region, California, USGS Open File Report, # 096-0267.

web page last updated 06/10/2010