Our Team

James Pindell


With original interests in structural geology and stratigraphy, Pindell's thesis years were spent with John Dewey, Kevin Burke and Walter Pitman, building and deducing an internally consistent model for the tectonic evolution of the Atlantic oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The model was constrained by all seafloor spreading anomaly and Seasat/Geosat data in the oceans, palinspastic reconstructions of conjugate margins from the Grand Banks to the Falklands, stratigraphic syntheses of Meso-America, and several surgical field studies around the Caribbean. This "Pacific Origin Model" has survived since the early 80's, providing a quantitative tectonic and kinematic framework for more detailed basinal analyses in Meso-America and the Andes.

For 27 years now, the Tectonic Analysis Exploration Programs and the Exploration Framework Atlas Series have stemmed from exploitations of the original model by teams of specialised workers. Multi-year assessments of Colombia, the Andes, Venezuela, Trinidad, Barbados, Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico have been completed on scales ranging from plate motions to field and lab analyses, working with data sets and personnel from national governments, while being funded by international exploration companies. The cumulative analysis is probably second to none. Past collaborators include Garry Karner, Steve Cande, Tony Watts, Lorcan Kennan, Roger Higgs, Dick George, Jim Granath, Josh Rosenfeld, Tomas Villamil, Bruce Eggertson, John Frampton, and numerous students. These reports and the publications deriving from them have established our current understanding of regional evolution for Meso-America.

Current work involves ongoing collaboration with Pemex, and direction of the regional studies of the Cordilleran Research Program which is assessing the region from the SW USA to Ecuador, revising the western Pangean reconstruction, opening the Gulf of Mexico, documenting the motions of blocks within Cordilleran Mexico, Central America and the northern Andes, and assessing the relevant basins within this history. Colleagues involved in this work are highlighted in the current website. In addition, Pindell is working with ION Geophysical on SPAN data sets from numerous margins around the world, unraveling the details of the rift process and stratigraphic development as a result of rifting. These studies dial directly into the Cordilleran program, a large part of which is assessing the break up of western Pangea. The program is well underway and there is a lot more to be done!

Email: jim@tectonicanalysis.com

Uwe Martens

Senior Geologist

Uwe originally trained as a Geological Engineer becoming interested in the areas of petrotectonics and geologic databases. Since he has been actively involved in field-based tectonic investigations in the Western US, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico that resulted in over 20 scientific publications. He obtained his PhD at Stanford University in 2009 conducting research on the geochronology and tectonic evolution of the Caribbean – North America plate boundary in Guatemala and the provenance of sedimentary rocks in Belize as a proxy to understand Yucatan – Florida interactions in the early Paleozoic. During a one-year postdoctoral position at the SHRIMP-RG facility run by Stanford University and the USGS Uwe became interested in developing microanalitical techniques for thin section in-situ work to address both scientific and industry questions.

While active in projects related to petrotectonics and sedimentary provenance analysis, Uwe conducted independent coursework at University of Salzburg and University California Berkeley on geographic information systems, relational databases, and geostatistics. He has developed programs in OOO-basic and R for geologic data analysis and reduction of geochronological data.

Uwe joined Tectonic Analsysis in 2010 initially working on the applications of electron-probe analysis to constrain the provenance of siliciclastic rocks sampled from wells. In 2011 Uwe got active in the Cordillera Program focusing on field-based studies and sampling, analysis of satellite imagery, rock microscopy, U-Pb geochronology, and the compilation of spatial information into relational geo-databases. Currently Uwe is focusing on software tools to perform paleogeographic reconstructions, the provenance of Jurassic – recent sedimentary rocks in southern Mexico and Central America, and the configuration and geologic evolution of continental-scale shear zones such as the Motagua faults zone and the Cauca-Romeral fault zone.

Uwe is also a visiting scholar at the Centro de Geociencias of the Mexican National University where he has collaborated with Dr. Roberto Molina, Dr. Bodo Weber, and Dr. Luigi Solari in provenance analysis using U-Pb detrital geochronology, heavy mineral geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, and electron-probe analyses. These activities have involved organizing seminars on specific aspects of the tectonic evolution of southern Mexico (Cuicateco/Juarez terrane, arc -continent collisions in Mexico and Central America, etc.) and advising graduate level students.

Email: umartens@zoho.com

Roberto Molina-Garza

Senior Geologist

With original interests in geophysics and tectonics, Molina's Ph.D training was under Rob van der Voo and John Geissman, collecting paleomagnetic data from southwest North America and southernmost Mexico. The main goal of his dissertation was to improve the North America apparent polar wander path (APWP), and test hypothesis on the origin of the Gulf of Mexico and the paleogeography of Paleozoic mexican terrains. This work also contributed to the magnetostratigraphic framework of the Triassic, to models for rotation of the Colorado Plateau, and mechanism of chemical remanence acquisition in red beds. From 1992 to 1999, at the University of New Mexico, Molina in collaboration with John Geissman and Spencer Lucas continued paleomagnetic work in Permian, Triassic and Jurassic rocks of southwest Noth America and west Texas. This work contributed to the controversy on the rate and magnitude of APW of North America, with implication for Pangea configurations and paleogeography. During those years work in Sonora, northwest Mexico, allowed to test and eventually debunk the Mojave-Sonora megashear hypothesis. The work in Sonora was followed by collaborations with geochronologist and basement geologist Alex Iriondo to improve our understanding of the Paleozoic margin of Laurentia.

Returning to (old) Mexico in 2000, at the Centro de Geociencias of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Querétaro, Molina began to work in a variety of geological problems in Mexico. From magnetostratigraphy of Eocene red beds, to correlation of Cretaceous continental-marine sequences in Coahuila, to emplacement mechanisms and deformation of plutons in Baja California using magnetic fabric techniques, to problems of regional tectonics in northeast and southern Mexico. Examples of regional tectonic problems include local vertical-axis rotation recorded by Cretaceous rocks in the Mexican state of Guerrero associated with truncation of the Pacific margin of southern Mexico, and vertical-axis rotation of crustal blocks in central Coahuila associated with opening of the Sabinas basin.

Established at the Centro de Geociencias, where he teaches advanced courses in Geology of Mexico, Paleomagnetism, and Sedimentology, Molina has created a network of collaborations with researchers across Mexico. These include Delgado-Argote at CICESE (Ensenada) for research in Baja California, Barboza-Gudiño at San Luis Potosí for research in Triassic and Jurassic rocks in central Mexico, Chávez-Cabello at Linares for work in the Laramide foldbelt, Bodo Weber at CICESE for research in Chiapas, and Ortega-Gutiérrez in Mexico City for studies in Oaxaca, and paleontologist Villaseñor in Mexico City for studies of Upper Jurassic strata. Since 2008, collaborations with Tim Lawton (then at NMSU) initiated studies of the Jurassic Nazas arc of northern Mexico, Upper Jurassic depositional systems of the Coahuila block, and Jurassic rift sedimentation in Chiapas. Molina has also directed master´s and Ph.D thesis of Mexican students who have successfully been integrated into the oil industry.

Current research involves ongoing collaboration with Jim Pindell of Tectonic Analysis for studies of the Cordilleran Research Program. In addition, Molina is suported for paleomagnetic and stratigraphic studies of the Todos Santos rift system, for studies of Aptian stratigraphy in southern Mexico, and paleomagnetic studies in Honduras.

Email: rmolina@geociencias.unam.mx