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Professor Ehlers' research interests are in the interactions between climatic, tectonics, surface processes, and biota as applied to the evolution of active mountain ranges and adjacent sedimentary basins. Current research topics include:
- Tectonic evolution of orogens (past & present)
- Investigation of transient topography and paleoclimate.
- Quantifying glacial erosion rates, magnitudes, and paleotopography.
- Glaciology and ice sheet stability and dynamics.
- Paleoclimate, deformation, and erosion history of orogenic plateaus such as the Andean and Tibetan Plateaus.
- Sedimentary basin evolution and detrital records of orogen erosion, paleotopography, and paleoclimate.
Professor Ehlers integrates a variety of tools in his research. He emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems and integrates such techniques and data sets as:
- Field observations
- Numerical modeling (thermal, mechanical, atmospheric, and surface process models) and high performance computing.
- Low-temperature thermochronology: noble gas and fission track methods.
- Analysis and modeling of high-resolution (Lidar derived) digital topography.
- Field based observations of sedimentology, stratigraphy, geomorphology, and structure.
- Meso- and global-scale climate models and meteorological data
- Remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS)
- Cosmogenic isotopes (10Be, 26Al, 3He) and short lived nuclides.
- Geophysical data analysis (heat flow, gravity, seismic reflection profiles)