Skip to main content

Eric Kirby

Eric Kirby

EMES Department Chair
211 Mitchell Hall, CB#3315
Google Scholar Profile


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001)
M.S., University of New Mexico (1994)
B.A., Hamilton College (1992)

Research Interests

Tectonic Geomorphology

Research and Activities

My students and I study the tectonic evolution of orogenic systems, with a particular emphasis on the interplay between climate, erosion and tectonics. Current research focuses on 1) fault system evolution over millennial timescales; 2) fluvial adjustment to spatial and temporal variations in rock uplift; 3) the evolution of topography in forearcs of convergent margins; 4) the coupling between mantle flow and surface deformation; 5) growth and evolution of the Tibetan Plateau; and 6) the influence of climate on landscape evolution

Professional Experience

2017 – 2020: Associate Dean for Academic Programs, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University 2013 – 2020: R.S. Yeats Chair in Earthquake Geology and Active Tectonics 2017 – 2020: Professor – Oregon State University 2013 – 2017: Associate Professor – Oregon State University 2008 – 2013: Associate Professor – The Pennsylvania State University 2002 – 2008: Assistant Professor – The Pennsylvania State University 2001 – 2002: NSF Postdoctoral Fellow – UCSB (Dr. Douglas W. Burbank)

Visiting Academic Appointments 2016 – present: Adjunct Faculty – Dalhousie University 2014 – present: Guest Professor – China Earthquake Administration, Beijing 2010 – 2011: Humboldt Fellow – University of Potsdam, Germany

Selected Publications

2020 1. Rittase, W.M., Walker, J.D., Andrew, J., Kirby, E., and Wang, E., in press, Pliocene – Pleistocene basin evolution along the Garlock fault zone, Pilot Knob Valley, California: Geosphere 2. Zhang, H., Kirby, E., Li, H., Cook, K., and Zhang, P., 2020, Ten years after the Wenchuan earthquake: New insights into the geodynamics of the Eastern Tibet: Tectonics, v. 39, e2020TC006215. 3. *Su, Q., Kirby, E., Ren, Z., Zhang, P., Zhang, H., Manopkawee, P., and Lei, Q., 2020, Chronology of the Yellow River terraces at Qingtong Gorge (NE Tibet): Insights into the evolution of the Yellow River since the Middle Pleistocene: Geomorphology, v. 349, 106889. (published online October, 24, 2019) 2019 1. *West, N., Kirby, E., Nyblade, A., and Brantley, S., 2019, Climate preconditions the Critical Zone: Elucidating the role of subsurface fractures in the evolution of asymmetric topography: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 513, pp. 197-205. 2. *Li, K., Kirby, E., Xu, X., Chen, G., and Wang, D., 2019, Holocene normal faulting rate along the Dong Co Fault, central Tibet: Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, v. 183, 103962. (published online August 12, 2019) 3. Aslan, A., Karlstrom, K., Kirby, E., Heizler, M., Granger, D., Feathers, J., Hanson, P., and Mahan, S., 2019, Resolving time-space histories of Late Cenozoic bedrock incision along the Upper Colorado River, USA: Geomorphology, v. 347, 106855 (published online August 30, 2019) 2018 1. Kirby, E., 2018, Global erosion by glaciers revisited: Nature, v.559, p.34-35. 2. Denn, A.R., Bierman, P.R., Zimmerman, S.R.H., Caffee, M.W., Corbett, L.B., and Kirby, E., 2018, Cosmogenic nuclides indicate that boulder fields are dynamic, ancient, multigenerational features: GSA Today, v. 28, doi:10.1130/GSATG340A.1 (published online December 20, 2017) 3. DiBiase, R.A., Denn, A.R., Bierman, P.R., Kirby, E., West, N., and Hidy, A.J., 2018, Stratigraphic control of landscape response to base-level fall, Young Womans Creek, Pennsylvania, USA: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 504, pp. 263-173, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.10.005. 4. *Li, K., Xu, X., Kirby, E., Tang, F., and Kang, W., 2018, Late Quaternary paleoseismology of the Milin fault: Implications for active tectonics along the Yarlung Zangbo Suture, Southeastern Tibet Plateau: Tectonophysics, v. 731-732, p.64-72 (doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2017.12.026, published online December 29, 2017) 2017 1. *Regalla, C., Fisher, D.M., Kirby, E., Oakley, D. and Taylor, S., 2017, Slip inversion along inner fore-arc faults, Eastern Tohoku, Japan: Tectonics, v. 37, p. 2647-2668 (doi:10.1002/2017TC004766, published online November 24, 2017) 2. *Shi, X., Kirby, E., Furlong, K.P., Meng, K., Robinson, R., Lu, H., and Wang, E., 2017, Rapid and punctuated Late Holocene recession of Siling Co, central Tibet: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 172, p.15-31 (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.07.017, published online July 20, 2017) 3. *Shi, X., Furlong, K., Kirby, E., Meng, K., Marrero, S., Gosse, J., Wang, E., and Phillips, F., 2017, Evaluating the size and extent of paleolakes in central Tibet during the late Pleistocene: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 44, p. 5476-5485 (doi:10.1002/2017GL072686, published online June 12, 2017) 4. Wang, W., Zheng, W., Zhang, P., Li, Q., Kirby, E., Yuan, D., Zheng, D., Liu, C., Wang, Z., Zhang, H., and Pang, J., 2017, Expansion of the Tibetan Plateau during the Neogene: Nature Communications, 8:15887 (doi: 10.1038/ncomms15887, published online June 21, 2017) 5. Zhang, H., Kirby, E., Pitlick, J., Anderson, R.S., and Zhang, P., 2017, Transient geomorphic response to base level fall in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau: Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, v. 122, p. 546-572 (doi:10.1002/2015JF003715, published online February 24, 2017) 2016 1. Sullivan, P.L., Hynek, S., Gu, X., Singha, K., White, T., West, N., Kim, H., Clarke, B., Kirby, E., Duffy, C., and Brantley, S.L.., 2016, Oxidative dissolution under the channel leads geomorphological evolution at the Shale Hills catchment: American Journal of Science, v. 316, p.981-1026. 2. *Yu, J., Zheng, W., Kirby, E., Zhang, P., Lei, Q., Ge, W., Wang, W., Li, X., and Zhang, N., 2016, Kinematics of Late Quaternary slip along the Yabrai Fault: Implications for Cenozoic tectonics across the Gobi Alashan block, China: Lithosphere, v. 8 (doi: 10.1130/L509.1, published online March 3, 2016) 3. *Shi, X., Kirby, E., Furlong, K.P., 2016, Reply to Comment on “Crustal strength in central Tibet determined from Holocene shoreline deflection around Siling Co”: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 433, p. 396-398.