Brent Miller


Dr. Miller’s research centers on developing high-resolution temporal constraints on timing and tempo of geological events and the isotopic record of Earth’s evolution.

His main focus has been Tectonics research in the Appalachian orogen. The Appalachian Mountains have stimulated geological inquiry for nearly 200 years and have inspired revolutionary ideas about orogenic processes, including the concept of geosynclines, plate tectonics, the Wilson Cycle, “thin–skinned” thrusting, and lower crustal delamination. It is part of my long-term research goal to apply lessons learned in the studies of young or active orogens (e.g., Alps, Himalayas) to the ancient, deeply exhumed interior of an analogous large collisional orogen (Appalachians) and in return offer new insights applicable to general orogenic processes. The Appalachian Mountains provide a natural laboratory to test the mid- to lower-crustal implica-tions of tectonic models designed to explain upper-crustal features of active collisional orogens.

More recently, Dr. Miller has begun to expand his research into the ancient deep crust and the Cretaceous shallow seaways. In conjunction with teaching undergraduate summer field courses, Dr. Miller has recently begun research on Archean to Proterozoic Tectonics in the Wyoming Craton. The Highland Mountains in southwestern Montana provide an excellent window into the deep crust during both Archean and Paleoproterozoic and numerous undergraduate projects over the past several years have greatly clarified the timing and character of these rocks.

One of the most exciting applications of high-precision U-Pb dating is the ability to put numerical age constraints on the sedimentary and paleobiological record through dating of volcanic ash beds. Dr. Miller has been working to date ash beds among the oil- and gas-rich shales within the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. These age help to both constrain the timing of biostratigraphic correlations and the timing and nature of large-scale oceanic anoxic events.

Selected Publications

Miller, B. V., Barr, S. M., Tesfai, F., and White, C. E., 2018, Tonian Fe-Ti-P ferronorite and alkali anorthosite in the northern Appalachian orogen, southern New Brunswick, Canada: Amazonian basement in Ganderia?: Precambrian Research, v. 317, p. 77-88.

Yancey, T. E., Heizler, M. T., Miller, B. V., and Guillemette, R. N., 2018, Eocene–Oligocene chronostratigraphy of ignimbrite flareup volcanic ash beds on the Gulf of Mexico coastal plains: Geosphere, v. 14, no. 3, p. 1232-1252.

Wahl, P. J., Yancey, T. E., Pope, M. C., Miller, B. V., and Ayers, W. B., 2016, U-Pb detrital zircon geochronology of the Upper Paleocene to Lower Eocene Wilcox Group, east-central Texas: Geosphere, v. 12, no. 5, p. 1517-1531.

Heintz, M.L., Yancey, T.E., Miller, B.V. and Heizler, M.T., 2015, Tephrochronology and geochemistry of Eocene and Oligocene volcanic ashes of east and central Texas Geological Society of America Bulletin, May 2015, v. 127, no. 5-6, p.

Miller, B.V., Stewart, K.G., and Whitney, D.L., 2010, Three tectonothermal pulses recorded in eclogite and am-phibolite of the Eastern Blue Ridge, Southern Appalachians: in Tollo, R. P., Bartholomew, M. J., Hibbard, J. P., and Karabinos, P. M., eds., From Rodinia to Pangea: The Lithotectonic Record of the Appalachian Region, Geological Society of America Memoir: Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America. v. 206 p. 701-724.

Hibbard, J.P., van Staal, C.R., and Miller, B.V., 2007, Links among Carolinia, Avalonia, and Ganderia in the Appala-chian peri-Gondwanan realm: Special Paper Geological Society of America, v. 433, p. 291-311.

Miller, B.V., Dostal, J., Keppie, J.D., Nance, R.D., Ortega-Rivera, A., and Lee, J.K.W., 2007, Ordovician calc-alkaline granitoids in the Acatlán Complex, southern México: Geochemical and geochronologic data and implications for the tectonics of the Gondwanan margin of the Rheic Ocean, in Linnemann, U., Nance, R.D., Kraft, P., and Zulauf, G., eds., The evolution of the Rheic Ocean: From Avalonian-Cadomian active margin to Alleghanian-Variscan colli-sion: Geological Society of America Special Paper 423, p. 465–475.

Miller, B.V., Fetter, A.H., and Stewart, K.G., 2006, Plutonism in three orogenic pulses, Eastern Blue Ridge Province, southern Appalachians. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 118, p. 171-184.

Nance, R.D., Miller, B.V., Keppie, J.D., Murphy, J.B. and Dostal, J., 2006, The Acatlán Complex, southern Mexico: Record of Pangea assembly to breakup, Geology, vol. 34, p. 857-860.


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow - Syracuse Univ., April 1996 – Jan. 1999

Ph.D. - Geology, June 1997, Dalhousie Univ.

M.Sc. - Geology, June 1991, Ohio Univ.

B.Sc. - Geology, June 1987, Ohio Univ.

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