top of page


PhD candidate - January 2020-Present

I am a PhD student working with Dr. Barbara Carrapa to study the tectonic evolution of the southwestern region of the North American Cordillera. I combine sedimentology with geochronology and low-temperature thermochronology to understand paleodepositional environments and the tectonic evolution of sedimentary basins. Currently, I am researching

the depositional history of the McCoy Mountains Formation in southern California and Arizona to constrain the mechanisms and role of tectonics on basin development. In addition, I am working to constrain the timing of Laramide-style deformation in Wyoming using synorogenic sedimentary deposits from the Moncrief Formation and basement rocks from the Bighorn Mountains. 

When I'm not out in the field or in the lab, I enjoy sipping coffee, hiking, and volunteering with local animal rescues. 



PhD candidate

August 2020 - Present

I am a PhD candidate broadly interested in the evolution of Cordilleran fold-thrust belts.  I am interested in contributing to our understanding of Andean thrust belt kinematics between 32-35S as part of the TANGO project.  I have an additional dissertation chapter dedicated to the regional development of the Helena salient in west-central Montana.  My M.S. work was also in western Montana, focusing on the development of the Anaconda metamorphic core complex.
I am first-and-foremost a field geologist who integrates geologic mapping and field observation with low-T thermochronology and geochronology.  My work intends to place such constraints in a regional context that enables the testing and/or creation of tectonic and geodynamic models.
For fun, I like running, reading, climbing mountains, anything involving whitewater, skiing, kendama, juggling, yoga, etc.  In my free time, I write essays on topics in science and philosophy on my Instagram and create YouTube videos that focus primarily on the dissemination of geoscience research and tips for success at the undergraduate and graduate level.




August 2022 -

Hi! I am working alongside Dr. Barbara Carrapa to reconstruct the Miocene Climate Optimum (MCO) continental climate record in the Central Andes. I integrate both geological and geochemical records of climate variability across the MCO to provide insights into the mechanisms driving this prolonged warming event. From these insights, we can better understand mechanisms of global warming, its relationship with CO2, and inform future climate predictions.

I am also committed to advocating for equity, accessibility, and justice to be at the center of geoscience research, discourse, and policy through an intersectional approach. In my downtime, I enjoy reading poetry, painting, running, and cooking Salvadoran food with friends and family.


PhD candidate

I’m a PhD student studying the tectonic evolution of the southwestern United States. I integrate field observations with geo/thermochronology and stable isotope paleoaltimetry to understand the mechanisms of crustal thickening and thinning of orogenic plateaus, such as the “Arizonaplano.” Currently, I am studying syn-extensional basin deposits in southeastern Arizona to determine the timing and mechanisms of metamorphic core complex exhumation. I’m also interested in reconstructing Cenozoic feedbacks between tectonics and climate in the western U.S. Prior to starting at the University of Arizona, I studied the Oligocene paleoelevation history of the Cascade arc as part M.S. project at the University of Idaho. In my free time, I enjoy just about any type of outdoors activity, including skiing, hiking, and camping.

luke 2.jpg


Post doctoral scientiest

I’m a research scientist at the University of Arizona interested in the evolution of mountains through time. My career initiated in South America, using structural geology, petrology, and geochronology to reconstruct basin inversion and fold-and-thrust belt development of the Southern Patagonian Andes and the Southern Ribeira Belt. During my PhD in Europe, I realized how much mountain belts are also modulated by climate and erosion, and my research gained new meanings using Geodynamic numerical models and low-temperature thermochronology to unravel how surface processes interact with fluxes in the deep Earth. During my postdoc with Dr. Carrapa I am focusing on the tectonic evolution of the Central Andes using field-work, low-temperature thermochronology, and Geodynamic models to understand the mechanisms of crustal thickening and exhumation. I dedicate most of my free-time to be outdoors, and adventure rock climbing has been my main passion over the last 7 years.



Academic Appointments

Present: Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma

2019-2022: Postdoctoral research associate, Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona

Education History

2015-2018: PhD, Geosciences, University of Adelaide       

2014: Honors, Geosciences, University of Adelaide                                            

2011-2013: B.Sc., Geosciences, University of Adelaide

I am a research scientist in the Department of Geosciences working with Dr. Barbara Carrapa on geochemistry and tectonics of the Western USA and Central Asia. I am interested in physical processes involved in the formation of mountain topography. One can look at mountains and assume that they are static, however over million-year time scales they are a hugely dynamic and inter-connected system that represents the current expression of the ongoing evolution of our planet. In order to understand the topography of mountains, I focus on three lines of research: 1) The chemistry of minerals and rocks and how that changes in response to geological processes, 2) structure and tectonics, or how the topography changes as a result of plate interactions, and 3) the interaction between mountains and the global climate. Through mentoring and research, my work seeks to improve our understanding of Earth’s surface evolution; but also to provide a basis to a range of Earth sciences applications such as mineral exploration, past and modern climate, even the spread of society.




August 2020 - Summer 2022 (graduated!)

Hello! I am a first year masters student in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and my focus area is in structural geology. I’m currently working on structural analysis of the Maria Fold and Thrust Belt to look at the overall tectono and thermal evolution of the region located along the border of California and Arizona. The main ranges I’m focusing on are the Little Maria Mountains, Mule Mountain and parts of the McCoy Mountains. I’ll also be applying low temperature thermochronology to the hanging wall of these structures to determine timing of exhumation as a proxy for the timing of deformation in the region. Other than hiking out in the middle of nowhere, some of my hobbies include reading, writing, playing tennis, and hanging out with my very large family!

bottom of page