Hiroko Kitajima

Hiroko Kitajima

Associate Professor and Texas A&M Presidential Impact Fellow

Francesco Paolo di Gangi/Heep Endowed Professorship in Theoretical Geophysics

Experimental Rock and Soil Mechanics


  (979) 458-2717

  Halbouty 159


My research interest is experimental rock and soil mechanics to characterize the hydromechanical properties of rocks and sediments deformed at different pressure, temperature, and strain rate conditions. With the aim of better understanding a wide range of geological problems, I combine lab experimental work with numerical modeling, geophysical data, and field work including ocean/continental drilling projects. Current research focuses on understanding (1) the interaction between sediment/rock deformation and fluid flow under complicated loading conditions associated with earthquakes in subduction zones, and (2) the micromechanics of compaction and shear deformation and on granular materials at high strain rates and high pressures.

Selected Publications

Jeppson, T. N., & Kitajima, H. (2022). Velocity‐Porosity Relations in Carbonate and Siliciclastic Subduction Zone Input Materials. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 23(1), e2021GC010074.

Kitamura, M., Kitajima, H., Sone, H., Hamada, Y. & Hirose, T. (2019). Strength of the inner Nankai accretionary prism at IODP Site C0002, Geophysical Research Letters, 46(19), 10791-10799. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083732

Valdez, R.D. II, Kitajima H., & D. M. Saffer (2019). Effects of temperature on the frictional behavior of material from the Alpine Fault Zone, New Zealand, Tectonophysics, 762(5), 17-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2019.04.022

Kitajima, H., Saffer, D. M., Sone, H., Tobin, H., & Hirose T. (2017). In Situ Stress and Pore Pressure in the Deep Interior of the Nankai Accretionary Prism, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site C0002, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 9644-9652. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075127

Scuderi, M. M., Kitajima, H. , Carpenter, B. M., Saffer, D. M., & Marone C. (2015) Evolution of permeability across the transition from brittle failure to cataclastic flow in porous siltstone, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16,  2980-2993. https://doi:10.1002/2015GC005932

Kitajima, H., & Saffer, D. M. (2014).Consolidation state of incoming sediments to the Nankai Trough subduction zone: Implications for sediment deformation and properties, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, 2821-2839. https://doi:10.1002/2014GC005360

French, M. E., Kitajima, H., Chester, J. S., Chester, F. M., & Hirose, T. (2014). Displacement and dynamic weakening processes in smectite-rich gouge from the Central Deforming Zone of the San Andreas Fault, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 119, 1777–1802. https://doi:10.1002/2013JB010757

Kitajima, H., & Saffer, D. M. (2012). Elevated pore pressure and anomalously low stress in regions of low frequency earthquakes along the Nankai Trough subduction megathrust, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L23301. https://doi:10.1029/2012GL053793 (Note: Selected GRL editor’s highlight and AGU Research Spotlight in EOS.)

Kitajima, H., Chester, F. M., & Biscontin, G. (2012). Mechanical and hydraulic properties of Nankai accretionary prism sediments: Effect of stress path, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 13, Q0AD27. https://doi:10.1029/2012GC004124

Kitajima, H., F. M. Chester, and J. S. Chester (2011), Dynamic weakening of gouge layers in high-speed shear experiments: Assessment of temperature-dependent friction, thermal pressurization, and flash heating, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B08309, doi:10.1029/2009JB007879

Kitajima, H., Chester, J. S. Chester, F. M.& Shimamoto T. (2010), High-speed friction of disaggregated ultracataclasite in rotary shear: Characterization of frictional heating, mechanical behavior, and microstructure evolution, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 115, B08408. https://doi:10.1029/2009JB007038 


Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 2010

B.S., Kyoto University, 2004


2022 Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize, American Geophysical Union and Japan Geoscience Union

2019 National Science Foundation CAREER Award

2010-2012 NSF-MARGINS/GeoPRISMS Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2006-2008 U.S. Science Support Program Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship

Additional Information


Associate Professor, Texas A&M University, 2020 – present

Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, 2014 – 2020

Researcher, Geological Survey of Japan, 2012 – 2014

Postdoctoral Scholar, The Pennsylvania State University, 2010 – 2012

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