Sam Haines


B.Sc. (Hons.) – University of St. Andrews (Scotland)

M.Sc. – Imperial College (London)

Ph.D. – University of Michigan



Sam Haines is a structural geologist, interested in rocks in ancient fault zones and using those fault rocks to learn about the behavior and age of the faults they are found in. He currently teaches the Department’s introductory Geology course and an upcoming seminar on tectonics, mountain-building and earthquakes. In addition to his academic background, he has significant experience in industry, with 6 years in oil and gas exploration, 2 years in mineral exploration and 2 in engineering geology.

His research uses a mixture of clay mineralogy, stable isotopes (δ18O and δ2H), Ar/Ar dating, and experimental rock mechanics to understand fault rocks formed in the ’brittle’ regime (<300°C). He aims to better understand both the mechanics of fault slip, as well as larger-scale processes including the mechanics of mountain belt evolution and crustal-scale fluid flow in regions where the crust is extending. He works primarily on natural fault rocks, but also works on experimental materials where appropriate.

He is also interested in the history of high-grade metamorphic rocks of the Manhattan Prong in New York and western New England, the seals for hydrocarbon accumulations, and almost any rock you bring into his office.


Selected Publications

Haines, S., Lynch, E., Mulch, A., Valley, J., van der Pluijm, B., (2016). Meteoric fluid infiltration in crustal-scale normal fault systems as indicated by δ18O and δ2H geochemistry, and Ar dating of neoformed clays in brittle fault rocks. Lithosphere. doi:10.1130/L483.1.

Haines, S., Marone, C., Saffer, S., (2014). Frictional properties of low-angle normal fault fault gouges and implications for low-angle normal fault slip. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 408, pp. 57-65.

Haines, S., Kaproth, B., Saffer, D., Marone, C., (2013). Shear zones in clay-rich fault gouge: A laboratory study of fabric development and evolution. J. Structural Geology 51, pp. 206 – 225.

Haines, S., van der Pluijm, B., (2012). Patterns of mineral transformations in clay gouge, with examples from low-angle normal fault rocks in the western USA. J. Structural Geology 43, pp. 2-32. (invited)

Rahl, J., Haines, S., van der Pluijm, B., (2011). Links between orogenic wedge deformation and erosional exhumation: evidence from illite age analysis of fault rock and detrital thermochronology of syn-tectonic conglomerates in the Spanish Pyrenees. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307, pp. 180-190.

Haines, S., van der Pluijm, B., (2010). Dating the detachment fault system of the Ruby Mountains, Nevada: Significance for the kinematics of low-angle normal faults. Tectonics. DOI: 10.1029/2009TC002552.

Haines, S., van der Pluijm, B., Ikari, M., Saffer, D., Marone, C. (2009). Clay fabric intensity in natural and artificial fault gouges: Implications for brittle fault zone processes and sedimentary basin clay fabric evolution. J. Geophysical Research 114, doi:10.1029/2008JB005866.

Haines, S., van der Pluijm, B., (2008) Clay quantification and Ar-Ar dating of synthetic and natural gouge – application to the Miocene Sierra Mazatán detachment, Sonora, Mexico. J. Structural Geology 30, p. 525-538.

Koehn, D., Aanyu, K., Haines, S., Sachau, T. (2007). Rift nucleation, rift propagation and the creation of basement micro-plates within active rifts. Tectonophysics 458, pp. 105-116.