W. Roger Buck


  • 1974-1978 Undergraduate at the College of William and Mary. Earned B.S. with majors in Physics and Geology.
  • 1978-1984 Graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a Ph.D. in Geophysics. Thesis title: "Small-scale Convection and the Evolution of the Lithosphere."

Honors & Awards

  • 1978 Elected to Phi Beta Kappa 1978 'Outstanding Geology Student' at the College of William and Mary
  • 1982-1984 Exxon Teaching Fellowship at M.I.T.
  • 1984 Post-doctoral Fellowship at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University
  • 1986 Atlantic Richfield Young Scholars Award at Lamont-Doherty
  • 1989 Stork Fellowship Award at Lamont-Doherty
  • 1999 Invited to give the 1999 “William Smith Lecture” of the Geological Society of London
  • 2003 Gave the “Francis Birch Lecture” at the American Geophysical Union
  • 2009 Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
  • Notable Accomplishments:
    • 1986 First to suggest small-scale convection under rifts
    • 1988 First mechanical analysis of rotation of normal faults to low-dips
    • 1991 Suggested a physical rationale for 3 modes of continental rifting
    • 1998 First numerical simulation of abyssal hill faulting
    • 1999 First full mechanical treatment of ‘large-offset’ normal faults
    • 2001 Suggested the now-accepted model for ‘axial high’ formation
    • 2004 Showed how magma reduces the force needed to rift continents
    • 2005 First treatment of the relation between magmatism and faulting at spreading centers
    • 2006 Suggested the now-accepted model for stress evolution in sequences of dikes
    • 2010 Most complete treatment thermal effect of dike opening during continental rifting
    • 2015 First model of UHP exhumation driven by subduction initiation
    • 2017 First analytic description of ‘seaward dipping reflector’ volcanic sequences
    • 2021 First model of crevasse formation account for finite thickness of floating ice

Buck, W.R. and M.N. Toksoz (1980) The bulk composition of the moon based on geophysical constraints, Proc. Lunar and Planet. Sci. Conf. XI, 2043-2058.

Toksoz, M.N., W.R. Buck and H. Hsui (1981) Crustal evolution and thermal state of Tibet, In D.S. Liu (editor) Geological and ecological studies of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau.  Gordon and Breach, New York, 847-858.

Wood, J.A., D.L. Anderson, W.R. Buck, W.M. Kaula, E. Anders, G.J. Consolmagno, J.R. Morgan, A.F. Ringwood, E. Stolper, and H. Wanke (1981) Chapter 4 "Geophysical and cosmochemical constraints on the properties of the mantles of the terrestrial planets", in Basaltic Volcanism on the Terrestrial Planets, Pergamon Press, New York, 1286pp.

Buck, W.R. and M.N. Toksoz (1983) Thermal effects of continental collisions: Thickening a variable viscosity lithosphere, Tectonophysics, 100, 53-69.

Buck, W.R. (1985) When does small scale convection begin beneath oceanic lithosphere, Nature, 313, 775-777, DOI: 10.1038/313775a0.

Buck, W.R. and E.M. Parmentier (1986) Convection beneath young oceanic lithosphere: Implications for thermal structure and gravity, J. Geophys. Res., 91, 1961-1974.

Buck, W.R. (1986) Small-scale convection induced by passive rifting: the cause for uplift of rift shoulders, Earth and Planet Sci. Lett., 77, 362-372.

Buck, W.R. (1987) Analysis of the cooling of a variable viscosity fluid with application to the earth, Geophys. J.R. astr. Soc., 89, 549-577.

Mutter, J.C., W.R. Buck  and C.A. Zehnder(1988) Convective partial melting 1: A model for the
formation of thick basaltic sequences during the initiation of spreading,  J. Geophys Res., 93, 1031-1048. 

Buck, W.R. Martinez, F., M.S. Steckler and J.R. Cochran (1988) Thermal consequences of
extension: Pure and Simple, Tectonics, 7, 213-234.

Buck, W.R. (1988) Flexural rotation of normal faults, Tectonics, 7, 959-974.

Omar, G. I., M. S. Steckler and W. R. Buck (1989) Fission track analysis of basement apatites at the Gulf of Suez rift: Evidence for synchroneity of uplift and subsidence, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 94, 316-328.

Buck, W.R. and W. Su (1989), Effects of a mantle viscosity breakdown under mid-ocean ridges, Geophys. Res. Lett, 16,641-644.

Buck, W. R. (1990) A comment on "Origin of regional rooted low-angle normal faults: A
mechanical model and its tectonic implications" by An Yin, Tectonics, 9, 545-546.

Buck, W.R. (1991) Modes of Continental Extension, J. Geophys Res., 96, 20,161-20,178.

Crane, K., E. Sundvor, R. Buck and F. Martinez (1991), Rifting in the Northern Norwegian-
Greenland Sea: Thermal tests of asymmetric spreading, J. Geophys Res., 96, 14,529-14,539.

Bell, R. E. and W. R. Buck (1992) Crustal control of ridge segmentation inferred from observations of the Reykjanes Ridge, Nature, 357, 583-586.

Buck, W. R. (1992) Global Decoupling of crust and mantle: Implications for topography, geoid
and mantle viscosity on Venus, Geophys. Res. Lett., 19, 2111-2114.

Su, W. and W. R. Buck (1993) Buoyancy effects on mantle flow under mid-ocean ridges,
J. Geophys. Res., 98, 12,191-12,205.

Hopper, J. R. and W. R. Buck (1993) The initiation of rifting at constant tectonic force: the role of diffusion creep, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 16,213,-16,221. 

Buck, W.R. (1993) Effect of Lithospheric thickness on the formation of high- and low-angle normal faults, Geology, 21, 933-936.

Su, W., C. Z. Mutter, J. Mutter, and W. R. Buck (1994) Some theoretical predictions on the
relationships among spreading rate, mantle temperature, and crustal thickness, J. Geophys. Res, 99, 3215-3227.

Buck, W. R. and D. Sokoutis (1994) Analogue model of gravitational collapse and surface
extension during continental convergence, Nature, 369,737-740.

Pockalny, R.A., P. Gente, and  R. Buck (1996) Oceanic transverse ridges: A flexural response 
to fracture-zone-normal extension, Geology, 24, 71-74.

Hopper, J., and W. R. Buck (1996) Effects of lower crustal flow on continental extension and     
passive margin formation, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 20,175-20,194.

Crane, K., L. Johnson, B. Applegate, R. Buck, C. Jones, C. Nishimura, P. Vogt, and R. Kos’yan
(1997) Volcanic and seismic swarm events on the Reykjanes Ridge and their similarities to
events on Iceland: Results of a rapid response mission, Marine Geophysical Research 19, 319-338.

Wills, S. and W. R. Buck, (1997)  Stress field rotation and rooted detachment faults: A test of fault initiation models, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 20,503-20,514.

Buck, W. R., S. Carbotte, and C. Z. Mutter (1997), Controls on extrusion at mid-ocean ridges, 
Geology, 25, 935-938.

Buck, W. R. (1997) Bending thin lithosphere causes localized “snapping” and not distributed     
“crunching”: Implication for abyssal hill formation, Geophys. Res. Letts., 24, 2,531- 2,534.

Buck, W. R. and A.N. B. Poliakov (1998), Abyssal hills formed by stretching oceanic lithosphere,     Nature, 392, 272-275.

Hopper, J., and Buck, W. R. (1998) Styles of extensional deoupling, Geology, 26, 699-702.

Poliakov, A. N. B. and W. R. Buck (1998) Mechanics of stretching elastic-plastic-viscous layers:     
    Applications to slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges, AGU monograph: Faulting and Magmatism     
    at Mid-Ocean Ridges, eds.: W.R. Buck, P. T. Delaney, J. A. Karson, and Y. Lagabrielle.

Buck, W. R., L. Lavier and A.N. B. Poliakov (1999), How to make a rift wide, Phil.
     Trans. Roy. Soc., Lond. A., 357, 671-693.

Lavier, L., W. R. Buck and A.N. B. Poliakov  (1999), A self-consistent model for the evolution of large offset low-angle normal faults,  Geology, 21, 1127-1130.

Lavier, L., W. R. Buck and A.N. B. Poliakov (2000), Factors controlling normal faulting in ideal elastic-plastic layers,  J. Geophys. Res., 105, 23,431-23,442. 

Buck, W. R.(2001), Accretional curvature of lithosphere at magmatic spreading produces an
      elastically supported axial high, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 3953-3960.

Shah, A. and W. R. Buck (2001) Causes for axial high topography at mid-ocean ridges and the role of crustal thermal structure J. Geophys.  Res.,106 , 30,865 –30,880.

Cochran, A. and W. R. Buck (2001) Near axis subsidence rates, hydrothermal circulation and the thermal structure of mid-ocean ridges, J. Geophys. Res.,106 , 19,233-19,258.

Buck, W. R. and L. Lavier (2001), A tale of two kinds of normal fault: The importance of strain weakening in fault development, in Non-Volcanic Rifting of Continental Margins: A Comparison of Evidence from Land and Sea, Wilson, R.C.L, Whitmarsh, R.B., Taylor, B. and Froitzheim, N. (eds.). Geol. Soc. London, Spec. Pub. 187, 289-303. 

 Buck, W. R.(2001) Can flow of dense cumulate through mushy upper gabbros produce lower gabbros at fast spreading ridges, GSA Spec. Paper 349, Ophiolites and Ocean Crust: New Insights from Field Studies and Ocean Drilling, eds.: Y. Dilek, E. Moores, D. Elthon and A. Nicolas, 121-128.

Lavier, L. and W. R. Buck (2002) Half graben versus large-offset low-angle normal fault: The importance of keeping cool during normal faulting,  J. Geophys. Res., 107, DOI: 10.1029/2001JB000513.

Shah, A. and W. R. Buck (2003) Plate bending stresses at axial highs, and implications
for faulting behavior, Earth Planet. Sci. Letts., 211, 343-356. 

Buck, W.R., L. L. Lavier and A Babeyko, (2003) A numerical model of lithospheric extension producing fault-bounded basins and ranges,  GSA International Book Series, Vol. 7, George Thompson, The Lithosphere of North America and its Geophysical Characterization, editors S. L. Klemperer and Gary Ernst, 177-190.  
*(also published in International Geology Review. 45; 8, Pages 712-723. 2003.)

Buck, W. R. (2004) Consequences of Asthenospheric Variability on Continental Rifting,  in Rheology and Deformation of the lithosphere at continental margins, editors G.D. Karner, B. Taylor, N.W. Driscolland D.L. Kohlstedt,  Columbia University Press, pages1-31,

Studinger, M, R. E. Bell, W. R. Buck,  G. D. Karner, D. D. Blankenship  (2004) Sub-ice geology inland of the Transantarctic Mountains in light of new aero geophysical data,  Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 220,391-408.

Nagel, T, and W. R. Buck,(2004) A symmetric alternative to asymmetric rifting models, Geology: Vol. 32, No. 11, pp. 937–940.

Qin, R. and W. R. Buck (2005) Effect of lithospheric geometry on rift valley relief, J. Geophys. Res., 110, doi: 10.1029/2004JB003411.

Buck, W. R., L.L. Lavier and A. N. Poliakov (2005) Modes of faulting at mid-ocean ridges, Nature 434, 719-723.

E. Bonatti, D. Brunelli, W. R.  Buck, and A. Cipriani, P. Fabretti, V. Ferrante, L. Gasperini and M. Ligi (2005) Flexural uplift of a lithospheric slab near the Vema transform (Central Atlantic): Timing and mechanisms, Earth Planet. Sci. Letts, 240, 642-655

Buck, W. R. (2006) The role of magma in the development of the Afro-Arabian rift system, Yirgu, G., Ebinger, C.J. & Maguire, P.K.H. (eds) The Afar Volcanic Province within the East African Rift System. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 259, 43–54.

Supak, S. K., D. R. Bohnenstiehl and W. R. Buck (2006), Flexing is not stretching: An analog study of bending induced cracking, Earth Planet. Sci. Letts, 246, 125-137.

Shah, A. and W. R. Buck (2006) The rise and fall of axial highs during ridge jumps, J. Geophys. Res.,111, B08101, doi:1029/2005JB003657.

Behn, M., W. R. Buck, and S. Sacks (2006) Topographic controls on dike injection in volcanic rift zones, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.,  246, 188-196.

Studinger, M., R. Bell, W. R. Buck and P. Fitzgerald (2006) The Transantarctic Mountains in the region of Scott and Reedy Glaciers: a geophysical perspective Earth Planet. Sci. Letts, 250, 182-199.

Buck, W.R., A.L. Densmore, A.F. Friedrich, N. Hovius, E. Kirby, P.O. Koons, T. Nagel, F. Schlunegger, M. Strecker, F. von Blanckenburg, Environmental Effects on and of Faulting, Chapter in Book on Faulting from a Dahlem Conference (Mark Handy editor), 2006.

Buck, W. R., P. Einarsson, and B. Brandsdottir (2006) Tectonic stress and magma chamber size as controls on dike propagation: Constraints from the 1974-1989 Krafla rifting Episode, J. Geophys. Res. 111; B12, B12404.

Nagel, TJ and Buck, WR (2006) Channel flow and the development of parallel-dipping normal faults. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111 B08407, doi:10.1029/2005JB004000. 

Nagel, TJ and Buck, WR (2007) Control of rheological stratification on rifting geometry: a symmetric model resolving the upper plate paradox.Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) DOI 10.1007/s00531-007-0195-x.

Qin, R., W. R. Buck, and L. Germanovich, 2007, Comment on “Mechanics of tidally driven fractures in Europa’s ice shell” by S. Lee, R. T. Papplardo, and N. C.. Makris. (Icarus, 177: 367-379, 2005) Icarus, 189, 595-599.

Bialas, R., W. R., Buck, Studinger and P. Fitzgerald (2007) Plateau Collapse Model for the Transantarctic Mountains / West Antarctic Rift System: Insights from Numerical Experiments, Geology, 35; 8, Pages 687-690. 

Buck, W. R. (2007) The Dynamics of Continental Break-up and Extension, in The Treatise on Geophysics, G. Schubert series editor, Volume 6 – Crustal and Lithosphere Dynamics, A. B. Watts editor.

Qin, R. and W. R. Buck (2008) Why meter-wide dikes at spreading centers? Earth and Planet Sci. Lett. 265,, Pages 466-474 (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2007.10.044).  

Nagel, T. J, W. B. F. Ryan, A. Malinverno and W. R. Buck (2008)  Pacific trench motions controlled by the asymmetric plate configuration, Tectonics, 27 doi: 10.1029/2007 TC002183.

Tucholke, B. E. M. D. Behn, W. R. Buck, J. Lin (2008) The role of melt supply in detachment faulting and the formation of megamillions, Geology, 35, 455-458 doi: 10.1130/G24639A.1.

C. J. Ebinger, D. Keir, A. Ayele, E. Calais, T. J. Wright, M. Belachew, J. O. S. Hammond, M. E. Campbell1, and W. R. Buck (2008) Capturing magma intrusion and faulting processes during continental rupture: Seismicity of the Dabbahu (Afar) rift, Geophys. J. Intl., 174, 1138-1152.

Bialas, R. and W. R. Buck, The role of sedimentation in the development of rifts; Applications to the Gulf of California Tectonics, 28, doi: 10.1029/2008TC002394, 2009.

Buck, W. R., C. Small, and W. B. F. Ryan (2009), Constraints on asthenospheric flow from the depths of oceanic spreading centers: The East Pacific Rise and the Australian-Antarctic Discordance, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q09007, doi:10.1029/2009GC002373, 2009.

Ayele, A., D. Keir, C. Ebinger, T. J. Wright, G. W. Stuart, W. R. Buck, E. Jacques, G. Ogubazghi, J. Sholan, September 2005 mega-dike emplacement in the Manda-Harraro nascent oceanic rift (Afar depression), Geophys. Res. Letts., 36, L20306, doi:10.1029/2009GL039605, 2009.

Nooner S.L., L. Bennati, E. Calais, W. R. Buck, I. J. Hamling, T. J. Wright, E. Lewi, Post-rifting relaxation in the Afar region, Ethiopia, Geophys. Res. Letts., 36, L21308, doi: 10.1029/2009GL040502, 2009. 

Bialas, R, W. R. Buck and R. Qin (2010) How Much Magma is required to rift a continent? Earth and Planet Sci. Lett., 292, 68-78, 2010.

Choi, E. and W. R. Buck (2010) Constraints on mantle viscosity beneath spreading centers. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L16302, doi:10.1029/2010GL043681.

Choi, E., L.  Seeber, M. S. Steckler, and W. R. Buck (2011) One-sided transform basins and "inverted curtains": Implications for releasing bends along strike-slip faults, Tectonics, 30     Article Number: TC6006,  DOI: 10.1029/2011TC002943. 

Choi, E. and W. R. Buck (2012), Constraints on the Strength of Faults from the Geometry of Rider Blocks in Continental and Oceanic Core Complexes, J. Geophys. Res., 117, doi:10.1029/2011JB008741.

Whitney, D. L, C. Teyssier,  P. Rey and W. R. Buck (2013) Continental and oceanic core complexes, The Geological Society of America Bulletin, 125, 273-298, DOI: 10.1130/B30754.1.
Choi, E., W. R. Buck, L. Lavier and K.D. Petersen (2013) Using core complex geometry to constrain fault strength, Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 3863–3867, doi:10.1002/grl.50732.
Buck, W. R. (2013) Geophysics: A third way to rift continents, News and Views, Nature 499, 157–159, doi:10.1038/499157a.
Buck, W. R. (2013) Plate tectonics: Magma for 50,000 years, News and Views, Nature Geoscience, 6, 811–812, doi:10.1038/ngeo1951.
Nooner, S. L., S. C. Webb, W. R. Buck, and M.-H. Cormier (2014) Post-Eruption Inflation of the East Pacific Rise at 9°50' N, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 5, 2676-2688, doi: 10.1002/2014GC005389.
Wolovick, M. J., T. T. Creyts, W. R. Buck, R. E. Bell (2014) Traveling warm patches produce massive deformation in ice sheets, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 8895-8901, doi: 10.1002/ 2014GL062248.

Petersen K. D. and W. R. Buck (2015) Education, Extension and Exhumation of Ultra-High Pressure Rocks in Metamorphic Core Complexes due to Subduction Initiation, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 17, 2564 – 2581, doi: 10.1002/2015GC005847.

Olive, J. A., M. D. Behn, G. Ito, W. R. Buck, J. Escartìn, S. Howell (2015) Sensitivity of seafloor bathymetry to climate-driven fluctuations in mid-ocean ridge magma supply, Science, 350, 310-313, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0715

Jin, G, J. B. Gaherty, G. Abers, Y. Kim, Z. Eilon, W. R. Buck (2015) Crust and Upper Mantle Structure Associated with Extension in the Woodlark Rift, Papua New Guinea from Rayleigh-wave Tomography, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, 3808-3824, 10.1002/2015GC005840

Buck, W. R. (2016) The Dynamics of Continental Break-up and Extension, in The Treatise on Geophysics, G. Schubert series editor, Volume 6 – Crustal and Lithosphere Dynamics, A. B. Watts editor.

Olive, J.-A., Behn, M. D., Ito, G., Buck, W. R., Escartín, J., and S. Howell, Response to comment on "Sensitivity of seafloor bathymetry to climate-driven fluctuations in mid-ocean ridge magma supply" (by Tolstoy), Science, 353(6296), 2016.  

Olive, J.-A., Behn, M. D., Ito, G., Buck, W. R., Escartín, J., and S. Howell, Response to comment on "Sensitivity of seafloor bathymetry to climate-driven fluctuations in mid-ocean ridge magma supply" (by Huybers et al.), Science, 352(6292), 2016.

Buck, W. R. (2017) The Role of magmatic loads and rift jumps in generating seaward dipping reflectors on volcanic rifted margins, Earth Planet. Sci. Letts., 466, 62-69, doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.02.041 

Liu, Z. and W. R. Buck (2018) Magmatic controls on axial relief and faulting at mid-ocean ridges, Earth Planet. Sci. Letts., 491, 226-237, doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.03.045.

J K Davis, A Bécel, W R Buck (2018) Estimating emplacement rates for seaward-dipping reflectors associated with the U.S. East Coast Magnetic Anomaly, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 215, 1594–1603, https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggy360

Voight, B., et al., (2018) A half-century of geologic and geothermic investigations in Iceland: The legacy of Kristján Sæmundsson, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2018.08.012.

Tian, X. and W. R. Buck (2019) Lithospheric thickness of volcanic rifting margins: Constraints from seaward dipping reflectors, J. Geophys. Res., 124, 3254–3270. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JB016733.

Oryan, B. and W. R. Buck (2020) Larger tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes where slab dip is reduced, Nature Geoscience, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-020-0553-x

Qin,Y, S. C. Singh, I. Grevemeyer, M. Marjanović, and W. R. Buck (2020) Seismic identification of flat lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath the Young Juan de Fuca Plate Nature Communications, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17946-3.
Liu, Z. and W. R. Buck (2020) Global trends of axial relief and faulting at plate spreading centers imply discrete magmatic events, J. Geophysical Res., 125, doi.org/10.1029/2020JB019465. 
Buck, W. R. and C.-Y. Li (2021) Flexural Control of Basal Crevasse Opening Under Ice Shelves, Geophys. Res. Letts., 10.1029/2021GL093110.

Tian, X., & Buck, W. R. (2021) Intrusion induced global warming preceding continental flood basalt volcanism. (in review at Nature Geoscience). 
Luo, Y. and W. R. Buck (2021) Magma chamber size controls along with axis variations in crustal thickness, axial depth, and axial relief at plate spreading centers (in review at Earth Planet. Sci. Letts)