Alex Copley

Reader in Tectonics, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

I am an Earth Scientist working in the University of Cambridge, studying active tectonics from the scale of individual fault systems to large mountain ranges. My work spans observations of active deformation (using seismology, InSAR, field and remote sensing observations of geomorphology, etc.), and numerical modelling to understand the underlying forces at work. Areas of particular interest include the active deformation of the continents and the rheology of the lithosphere.

Journal Publications

  1. T.J. Craig, P.B. Kelemen, B.R. Hacker, and A, Copley, Reconciling geophysical and petrological estimates of the thermal structure of southern Tibet, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 21, doi:10.1029/2019GC008837, 2020
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  3. S. Wimpenny, C. Benavente, A, Copley, B. Garcia, L. Rosell, A. O’Kane and E. Aguirre, Observations and dynamical implications of active normal faulting in South Peru, Geophysical Journal International, 222, 27-53, doi:10.1093/gji/ggaa144, 2020
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  5. Y. Najman, E. R. Sobel, I. Millar, D. F. Stockli, G. Govin, F. Liskere, E. Garzanti, M. Limonta, G. Vezzoli, A. Copley, P. Zhang, E. Szymanski, A. Kahn, The exhumation of the Indo-Burman Ranges, Myanmar, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 530, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115948, 2020
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  7. O. Weller, A. Copley, W. Miller, R. Palin, B. Dyck, The relationship between mantle potential temperature and oceanic lithosphere buoyancy, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 518, 86–99, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2019.05.005, 2019
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  9. J.D. Smith, J-P Avouac, R.S. White, A. Copley, A. Gualandi, S. Bourne, Reconciling the Long-Term Relationship Between Reservoir Pore Pressure Depletion and Compaction in the Groningen Region Journal of Geophysical Research, 124, doi:10.1029/2018JB016801, 2019
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  11. T. Ball, C. Penney, J. Neufeld, and A. Copley, Controls on the geometry and evolution of thin-skinned fold-thrust belts, and applications to the Makran accretionary prism and Indo–Burman Ranges Geophysical Journal International, 218, 247–267, doi:10.1093/gji/ggz139, 2019
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  13. R. Lloyd, J. Biggs, and A. Copley, The decade-long Machaze–Zinave aftershock sequence in the slowly straining Mozambique Rift Geophysical Journal International, 217, 504–531, doi:10.1093/gji/ggz033, 2019
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  15. Y. Najman, S.D. Burley, A. Copley, M.J. Kelly, K. Pander, and P. Mishra, The late Eocene-early Miocene unconformities of the NW Indian intraplate basins and Himalayan foreland: a record of tectonics or mantle dynamics? Tectonics, 37, doi:10.1029/2018TC005286, 2018
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  17. S. Wimpenny, A. Copley, C. Benavente, E. Aguirre, Extension and dynamics of the Andes inferred from the 2016 Parina (Huarichancara) earthquake Journal of Geophysical Research, 123, doi:10.1029/2018JB015588, 2018
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  19. A. Copley, C. Grutzner, A. Howell, J. Jackson, C. Penney, and S. Wimpenny, Unexpected earthquake hazard revealed by Holocene rupture on the Kenchreai Fault (central Greece): Implications for weak sub-fault shear zones, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 486, 141-154, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.01.014, 2018
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  21. G. Govin, Y. Najman, A. Copley, I. Millar, P. van der Beek, P. Huyghe, D. Grujic, J. Davenport, Timing and mechanism of the rise of the Shillong Plateau in the Himalayan foreland, Geology, doi:10.1130/G39864.1, 2018
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  23. T.J. Craig and A. Copley, Forearc collapse, plate flexure, and seismicity within the downgoing plate along the Sunda Arc west of Sumatra, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 484, 81-91, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.12.004, 2018
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  25. A. Copley, The strength of earthquake-generating faults, Journal of the Geological Society, doi:10.1144/jgs2017-037, 2018
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  27. E.A. Ainscoe, J.R. Elliott, A. Copley, T.J. Craig, T. Li, B.E. Parsons, and R.T. Walker, Blind thrusting, surface folding, and the development of geological strcuture in the Mw6.3 2015 Pishan (China) earthquake, Journal of Geophysical Research, 122, doi:10.1002/2017JB014268, 2017
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  29. K. Reynolds and A. Copley, Seismological constraints on the down-dip shape of normal faults, Geophysical Journal International, 213, p 534-560, 2017
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  31. A. Howell, J. Jackson, A. Copley, D. McKenzie, and E. Nissen, Subduction and vertical coastal motions in the eastern Mediterranean, Geophysical Journal International, 211, p. 593-620, doi:10.1093/gji/ggx307, 2017
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  33. C. Penney, F. Tavakoli, A. Saadat, H. Nankali, M. Sedighi, F. Khorrami, F. Sobouti, Z. Rafi, A. Copley, J. Jackson, and K. Priestley, Megathrust and accretionary wedge properties and behaviour in the Makran subduction zone, Geophysical Journal International, 209, p 1800-1830, 2017
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  35. S. Wimpenny, A. Copley, and T. Ingleby, Fault mechanics and post-seismic deformation at Bam, SE Iran, Geophysical Journal International, 209, p 1018-1035, 2017
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  37. A. Howell, K. Palamartchouk, X. Papanikolaou, D. Paradissis, C. Raptakis, A. Copley, P. England, and J. Jackson, The 2008 Methoni earthquake sequence: the relationship between the earthquake cycle on the subduction interface and coastal uplift in SW Greece, Geophysical Journal International, 208, p 1592-1610, 2017
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  39. M. Talebian, A. Copley, M. Fattahi, M. Ghorashi, J.A. Jackson, H. Nazari, R.A. Sloan, R.T. Walker, Active faulting within a megacity: the geometry and slip rate of the Pardisan thrust in central Tehran, Iran, Geophysical Journal International, 207, p 1688-1699, 2016
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  41. A. Copley and N. Woodcock, Estimates of fault strength from the Variscan foreland of the northern UK, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 451, p 108-113, 2016
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  43. A. Copley and R. Jolivet, Fault rheology in an aseismic fold-thrust belt (Shahdad, eastern Iran), Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JB012431, 2016
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  45. Y. Najman, L. Bracciali, R.P. Parrish, E. Chisty, A. Copley, Evolving strain partitioning in the Eastern Himalaya: The growth of the Shillong Plateau, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 433, p.1-9, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.10.017, 2016
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  47. J.R. Elliott, E.A. Bergman, A. Copley, A.R. Ghods, E.K. Nissen, B. Oveisi, M. Tatar, R.J. Walters, F. Yamini-Fard, The 2011 Mw 6.2 Khaki-Shonbe (Iran) Earthquake: Insights into seismic and aseismic shortening in the Zagros sedimentary cover, Earth and Space Science, 2, doi:10.1002/2015EA000098, 2015
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  49. A. Copley, E. Karasozen, B. Oveisi, J.R. Elliott, S. Samsonov, E. Nissen, Seismogenic faulting of the sedimentary sequence and laterally variable material properties in the Zagros Mountains (Iran) revealed by the August 2014 Murmuri (E. Dehloran) earthquake sequence, Geophysical Journal International, 203, p.1436-1459, doi:10.1093/gji/ggv365, 2015
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  51. C. Penney, A. Copley, and B. Oveisi, Subduction tractions and vertical axis rotations in the Zagros-Makran transition zone, SE Iran: the 11 May 2013 Mw 6.1 Minab earthquake, Geophysical Journal International, 202, p.1122-1136, doi:10.1093/gji/ggv202, 2015
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  53. K. Reynolds, A. Copley, and E. Hussain, Evolution and dynamics of a fold-thrust belt: the Sulaiman Range of Pakistan, Geophysical Journal International, 201, p.683-710, doi:10.1093/gji/ggv005, 2015
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  55. A. Copley, S. Mitra, R.A. Sloan, S. Gaonkar, and K. Reynolds, Active faulting in apparently stable peninsular India: rift inversion and a Holocene-age great earthquake on the Tapti Fault, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1002/2014JB011294, 2014
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    Link to EOS 'Research Spotlight'
  57. A. Copley and K. Reynolds, Imaging topographic growth by long-lived postseismic afterslip at Sefidabeh, east Iran, Tectonics,DOI: 10.1002/2013TC003462, 2014
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  59. T. Craig and A. Copley, An explanation for the age independence of oceanic elastic thickness estimates from flexural profiles at subduction zones, and implications for continental rheology, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 392, 207-216, 2014
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  61. T. Craig A. Copley, and T. Middleton, Constraining fault friction in oceanic lithosphere using the dip angles of newly-formed faults at outer rises, Earth and Planetary Science Letters,392, 94-99, 2014
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  63. A. Copley, Postseismic afterslip 30 years after the 1978 Tabas-e-Golshan (Iran) earthquake: observations and implications for the geological evolution of thrust belts, Geophysical Journal International,doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu023, 2014
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  65. T. Craig A. Copley, and J. Jackson, A reassessment of outer-rise seismicity and its implications for the mechanics of oceanic lithosphere, Geophysical Journal International,197, 63-89, 2014
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  67. T.A. Middleton and A. Copley, Constraining fault friction by re-examining earthquake nodal plane dips, Geophysical Journal International, 196, 671-680, 2014
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  69. A. Copley, M. Faridi, M. Ghorashi, J. Hollingsworth, J. Jackson,H. Nazari, B. Oveisi, M. Talebian, The 2012 August 11 Ahar earthquakes: consequences for tectonics and earthquake hazard in the Turkish-Iranian Plateau Geophysical Journal International, 196, p. 15-21, 2014
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  71. G.E. Campbell, R.T. Walker, K. Abdrakhmatov, JL. Schwenninger, J. Jackson, J.R. Elliott, and A. Copley, The Dzhungarian fault: Late Quaternary tectonics and slip rate of a major right-lateral strike-slip fault in the northern Tien Shan region, Journal of Geophysical Research,118, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50117, 2013
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  73. Elliott, J.R., A. Copley, R. Holley, K. Scharer, and B. Parsons, The 2011 Mw 7.1 Van (Eastern Turkey) earthquake, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50117, 2013
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  75. Copley, A., The formation of mountain range curvature by gravitational spreading, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 351-352, p.208-214, 2012
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  77. Craig, T., A. Copley, and J. Jackson, Thermal and tectonic consequences of India underthrusting Tibet, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 353-354, p.231-239, 2012
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  79. Copley, A., J. Hollingsworth, and E. Bergman, Constraints on fault and lithosphere rheology from the coseismic slip and postseismic afterslip of the 2006 Mw7.0 Mozambique earthquake Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, doi:10.1029/2011JB008580, 2012
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  81. Copley, A., J-P. Avouac, J. Hollingsworth, and S. Leprince, The 2001 Mw 7.6 Bhuj earthquake, low fault friction, and the crustal support of plate driving forces in India, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, doi:10.1029/2010JB008137, 2011
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  83. Copley, A., J-P. Avouac and B.P. Wernicke, Evidence for mechanical coupling and strong Indian lower crust beneath southern Tibet, Nature, 472, p.79-81, doi:10.1038/nature09926, 2011
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    'News and Views' article
  85. Copley, A., J-P. Avouac and J-Y. Royer, The India-Asia collision and the Cenozoic slowdown of the Indian plate; implications for the forces driving plate motions, Journal of Geophysical Research 115, doi:10.1029/2009JB006634, 2010
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  87. Hollingsworth, J., M. Fattahi, R. Walker, M. Talebian, A. Bahroudi, M.J. Bolourchi, J.Jackson, and A. Copley, Oroclinal bending, distributed thrust and strike-slip faulting, and the accommodation of Arabia-Eurasia convergence in NE Iran since the Oligocene, , Geophysical Journal International, 2010
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  89. Copley, A., F. Boait, J. Hollingsworth, J. Jackson and D. McKenzie, Sub-parallel thrust and normal faulting in Albania and the role of gravitational potential energy and rheology contrasts in mountain belts, Journal of Geophysical Research, 114, doi:10.1029/2008JB005931, 2009
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  91. Copley, A., Kinematics and dynamics of the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, Geophysical Journal International , 174, 1081-1100, 2008
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  93. Copley, A. and D. McKenzie, Models of crustal flow in the India-Asia collision zone, Geophysical Journal International , 169, 683-698, 2007
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  95. Copley, A. and J. Jackson, Active Tectonics of the Turkish-Iranian Plateau, Tectonics , TC6006, doi:10.1029/2005TC001906, 2006
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  97. Talebian M., J. Biggs, M. Bolourchi, A. Copley, A. Ghassemi, M. Ghorashi, J. Hollingsworth, J.A. Jackson, E. Nissen, B. Oveisi, B.E. Parsons, and K. Priestley. The Dahiuyeh (Zarand) earthquake of 2005 February 22 in central Iran: reactivation of an intramountain reverse fault, Geophysical Journal International , 164, 137-148, 2006
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Other Writing