Satellite image of the Point Reyes region north of San Francisco

I have been primarily interested in unraveling the tectonic evolution of an area by studying sediments and geomorphic features. Since 1992, with the assistance of numerous undergraduate and graduate students, I have investigated the Quaternary history of the Point Reyes region, located about an hour north of San Francisco. In the San Andreas fault (SAF) valley we have used stratigraphic studies of estuarine and alluvial sediments, structural analyses and geologic mapping, data from subsurface oil and water wells, and a high-precision gravity survey to reconstruct the paleogeography of the SAF zone and to better understand the evolution of the fault system.

On the Point Reyes Peninsula, located west of the SAF, we have used marine terraces and analyses of geomorphic attributes to evaluate the role of contractional deformation and uplift in the region. We also used seismic data from the offshore zone to connect the on-land deformation with responsible faults, and to clarify the timing of Neogene deposition and deformation (see Brian Stozek's thesis below). We have also investigated the Merced Formation and its subsurface extensive in the southwestern region of San Francisco. We used lithologic logs, electric logs, well cuttings, and outcrop analyses to correlate stratigraphic units in the context of clarifying the role of the Serra (thrust) fault and the continuity of geologic units that act of subsurface aquifers and aquicludes.

Some of the research we have published, and some of my students' theses, are available below.


Grove et al., 2010, Accelerating and spatially-varying crustal uplift and its geomorphic expression, San Andreas Fault zone north of San Francisco, California: Tectonophysics 495, 256-268. (PDF)


Grove and Niemi, 2005, Late Quaternary deformation and slip rates in the northern San Andreas fault zone at Olema Valley, Marin County, California: Tectonophysics 401, 231-250. (PDF)


Grove and Niemi, 1999, The San Andreas fault zone near Point Reyes: late Quaternary deposition, deformation, and paleoseismology: California Division of Mines and Geology Special Publication 118, p. 100–110. (PDF)


Sojourner and Grove, 1997, Analysis of fault and fracture data from the San Andreas fault, Toms Point, Point Reyes, California, in Girty, G., Hanson, and Cooper, J.D., eds., Geology of the western Cordillera: perspectives from undergraduate research: Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) Pacific Section Book 82, p. 57-64. (PDF)


Grove et al., 1995, , Stratigraphy and structure of the Late Pleistocene Olema Creek Formation, San Andreas fault zone north of San Francisco, California, in Sangines, E., Andersen, D., Buising, A., eds., Recent Geologic Studies in the San Francisco Bay Area: Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) Pacific Section Book 76, p. 55-77. (PDF)


Grove, K., 1993, Latest Cretaceous basin formation within the Salinian terrane of west-central California: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 105, p. 447-463. (PDF)




Our work on the Colma Formation—MS thesis of Chimi Yi.

Yi, Chimi, 2005, Depositional and deformational history of the uppermost Merced and Colma Formations, southwest San Francisco: MS thesis, San Francisco State University. PDF of Yi thesis available here:


Our work on the subsurface hydrology of the Pleistocene Merced Formation—MS thesis of Kristen Wood.

Wood, Kristen, 2008, Hydrologic characterization of the northern Westside Basin, San Francisco, California: MS thesis, San Francisco State University. PDF of Wood thesis with appendices is available here:


Our work on the Pleistocene Merced Formation—MS thesis of Terence McGuire.

McGuire, Terence, 2009, Stratigraphic investigation of the North Westside Basin of San Francisco and Northern San Mateo County: MS thesis, San Francisco State University.  PDF of McGuire thesis, with plates and appendices, is available here:


Our work on the offshore geology west of the Point Reyes Peninsula—MS thesis of Brian Stozek.

Stozek, Brian, 2012, Geophysical evidence for Quaternary deformation within the offshore San Andreas fault system, Northern California: MS thesis, San Francisco State University. PDF of Stozek thesis is available here:




2004 article (by Jeff Scattini) in the College of Science & Engineering Intersci magazine: Beach front property: the make-up of Point Reyes. (PDF)


2013 article (by Sara Kotcher) in the College of Science & Engineering Intersci magazine: Point Reyes fault: changing our Bay Area earthquake watch. (PDF)


Annie Scherer and Jerry Davis on the marine terrace flight - Point Reyes

Anne Marie Scherer (with GPS receiver) and Jerry Davis (professor in the SF State Geography Department) at Point Reyes where Annie was investigating marine terraces for her MS thesis.