Queen's University

Dr. Laurent Godin

Professor, Department of Geology
LinkedIn profile for Dr. Laurent Godin


I obtained my BSc and MSc degrees in Geology from Université du Québec à Montréal. Following my PhD in Himalayan tectonics at Carleton University in Ottawa, I moved to Oxford University (UK) to pursue a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship. I was appointed as an Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University (BC) in 2000 before moving to Queen's University in 2003. I am a Professor in the Department of Geology at Queen’s, and currently hold Adjunct Professorship status at both Dalhousie University and Simon Fraser University. I specialize in structural geology and continental tectonics, with a special focus on the evolution of mountain belts, namely the Himalayan-Tibet system. I am particularly interested in field-oriented studies dealing with ductile deformation processes, evolution of crustal-scale shear zones and associated microstructural fabric development, fold/fault relationships, and active tectonics and seismicity.

Queen’s Tectonics Research Laboratory (QTRL)

My research group, the Queen’s Tectonics Research Laboratory, works on the application of centrifuge analogue modelling, U-Pb geochronology, and 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology to continental tectonics. In addition to mountain belt research, we conduct research on seismicity and stress partitioning in continental interiors, investigation of Early Archean geology, and application of structural geology to mineral exploration programs.  Our objective is to further our understanding of dynamic deformation processes affecting the continental lithosphere. Our research is principally focused on continent-continent collision zones such as the Himalaya, specifically, how the roots of mountain belts (metamorphic core zones) evolve from initial collision and thickening, to eventual exhumation and erosion. Within this theme are first-order questions pertaining to the tectonic evolution of the middle crust, structural influence of inherited faults, and the rates at which processes such as thickening, crustal extrusion, and exhumation may take place in old or active mountain belts. We have also recently developed new research directions that utilize structural geology techniques to solve Precambrian tectonics and active tectonics (neotectonics) problems.

Most Recent Project

Himalayan Research

Continental collision zones form extensive mountain ranges and high plateaus. They are associated with significant crustal recycling through magmatic, metamorphic, and erosional processes. The dramatic rise of mountain belts also influences global climate and ocean geochemistry, leading to long-term environmental changes and faunal extinctions. To understand these agents of global change, it is therefore important to constrain the timing and mechanisms of major mountain-growth episodes.

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Other Projects

  • Seismotectonics Research

    Our group conducts research aimed at understanding how ancient faults re-activate under current stress field, and how they can influence the seismicity pattern in intraplate settings (away from plate boundaries). This research involves the study of microseismicity, detailed fault mapping, low-temperature thermochronological dating, tectonic geomorphology, and finite element numerical modelling.

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  • Centrifuge modelling

    We have begun to investigate mid-crustal ductile flow (infrastructure), and its effect on upper crustal (superstructure) deformation style, through centrifuge modelling. Analogue centrifuge models are used to investigate contrasting deformation styles in the superstructure and infrastructure observed in continental collision zones. Models are designed to simulate the structural evolution of horizontal shortening in a superstructure/infrastructure package, followed by vertical thinning and horizontal stretching and ductile flow of the melt-weakened infrastructure due to focused erosion and a lithostatic pressure gradient in a manner akin to channel flow.

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