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Phone: 979.845.3296
Fax: 979.845.6162
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Texas A&M University
Halbouty Rm. 130
Department of Geology and Geophysics,
MS 3115,
College Station, Texas 77843


GEOL 104: Physical Geology
GEOL 312: Structural Geology and Tectonics
GEOP 615: Experimental Rock Deformation
GEOL 663: Fracture and Faulting of Rock
GEOP 660: Physics of the Earth's Interior

Graduate Students:

Charles Choens, Ph.D. Geophysics
Jihui Ding, Ph.D. Geology
Omid Saber, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

Recent Graduates
Melodie French, Ph.D. Geophysics
Aileen Loftin, M.S. Geophysics
Andrew Becker, M.S. Geology

Dr. Fred Chester

David Bullock Harris Chair in Geology

Ph.D. Geophysics, Texas A&M University, 1988

M.S. Geology, Texas A&M University, 1983

B.A. Geology/Geophysics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1980


Frederick Chester's research focuses on the mechanics of fracture and faulting, physics of the earthquake source, fault-rock fabrics, granular and poroplastic behaviors, fluid-flow properties of deformed rock, deformation assisted by fluid-rock reactions, and constitutive modeling through experimental rock deformation, field study, and theoretical modeling. Current work includes participation in deep scientific drilling of seismic faults at continental transform (SAFOD) and subduction (NanTroSEIZE, JFAST) margins. Teaching interests include Earth system science, structural geology, geomechanics, experimental rock deformation, physics of the Earth's interior, and earthquake faulting.

Research Interests

  • Fracture and Faulting
  • Mechanical and Fluid-flow Properties of Granular Materials
  • Geologic Constraints on the Physics of Earthquake Rupture
  • Structural-Petrologic Characterization of seismic faults
  • Design of Experimental Rock Deformation Apparatus


  • Professor of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University, 2002 (Associate Professor 1997–2002).
  • Associate Professor of Geophysics, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, 1994 (Assistant Professor 1990–1994).
  • Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, 1989.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University, 1988.

Selected Publications

  • French, M. E., H. Kitajima, J. S. Chester, F. M. Chester, and T. Hirose (2014), Displacement and dynamic weakening processes in smectite-rich gouge from the Central Deforming Zone of the San Andreas Fault, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 119, 1777–1802, doi:10.1002/2013JB010757.
  • Chester, F.M., Rowe, C., Ujiie, K., Kirkpatrick, J., and C. Regalla, et al. (2013), Structure and composition of the plate-boundary slip zone for the 2011 Tohoku-oki Earthquake. Science, 342(6163):1208–1211. doi:10.1126/science.1243719.
  • Chester, F.M., Mori, J., Eguchi, N., Toczko, S., and the Expedition 343/343T Scientists, 2013. Proc. IODP, 343/343T: Tokyo (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.), doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.343343T.2013.
  • Lin, W., M. Conin, J.C. Moore, F.M. Chester, et al. (2013), Stress state in the largest displacement area of the 2011 Tohoku- Oki Earthquake, Science, 339, 687-690, doi:10.1126/science.1229379.
  • Kitajima, H., F.M. Chester, and G. Biscontin (2012), Mechanical and hydraulic properties of Nankai accretionary prism sediments: effect of stress path, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (G3), doi:10.1029/2012GC004124.
  • Kitajima, H., J.S. Chester, F.M. Chester, and T. Shimamoto (2010), High-speed friction of disaggregated ultracataclasite in rotary shear: Characterization of frictional heating, mechanical behavior, and microstructure evolution, J. Geophys. Res., 115, B08408, doi:10.1029/2009JB007038.
  • Karner, S.L., A.K. Kronenberg, F.M. Chester, J.S. Chester, and A. Hajash, Jr. (2008), Hydrothermal deformation of granular quartz sand, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B05404, doi:10.1029/2006JB004710.
  • Chester, F.M., Chester, J.S., Kronenberg, A.K., and Hajash, A., Subcritical creep compaction of quartz sand at diagenetic conditions: Effects of water and grain size, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B06203, doi:10.1029/2006JB004317, 2007.
  • Chester, J.S., Chester, F.M., and Kronenberg, A.K., Fracture surface energy of the Punchbowl fault, San Andreas system, Nature, 437, 133-136, 2005.
  • Ramsey, J.M., and Chester, F.M., Hybrid fracture and the transition from extension fracture to shear fracture, Nature, 428, 63-66, 2004.
  • Chester, F.M., and J.S. Chester, Ultracataclasite structure and friction processes of the San Andreas fault, Tectonophysics, 295, 199-221, 1998.
  • Chester, F.M., J.P. Evans, and R.L. Biegel, Internal Structure and Weakening Mechanisms of the San Andreas Fault, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 771-786, 1993.
  • Chester, F.M., The brittle-ductile transition in a deformation-mechanism map for halite, Tectonophysics, 154, 125-136, 1988.
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