Frederick Chester

Frederick Chester

Professor and David Bullock Harris Chair in Geology

Tectonophysics, experimental rock deformation

  (979) 845-3296

  Halbouty 53


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.

  • 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

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.


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

Additional Information


  • 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.

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