Professor Wakabayashi       John Wakabayashi
Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1989

Associate Professor
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
California State University, Fresno
2576 E. San Ramon Ave., Mail Stop ST-24
Fresno, CA 93740

Tel.  (559) 278-6459
Fax. (559) 278-5980
E-mail: jwakabayashi@csufresno.edu

Office: Science II 127

Teaching Interests and Philosophy

Classes I teach include natural disasters (EES 1), a geologic field trip class (EES 3), a course on the geology of the local National Parks (EES 50), structural geology (EES 106), geomorphology (EES 105), and advanced field methods (EES 107), a graduate level class on active faulting and seismic hazard analysis (EES 210), and a graduate topics class on the tectonics of orogenic belts (EES 250T). I also filled in and taught igneous and metamorphic petrology (EES 101) in Spring 2008. I integrate my 16 years of industry experience as an engineering/environmental geologist, as well as my research, into the teaching of my classes, because the majority of geology graduates will be employed in engineering and/or environmental geology. I have developed lab exercises based on actual professional projects I have done. This helps make the course material more relevant and useful to students. I also integrate research into teaching to enhance classes in several ways including: (1) demonstrating by example the application of the scientific method in geology; (2) letting students know that so much is still not known and left for them to discover, and (3) keeping course material up to date. I strongly believe in the value of field trips and field exercises in teaching geology. In industry, I have found that the most successful geologists are those with strong field skills, and, more often than not these geologists graduated from programs with a strong field emphasis. The geologic curriculum in this department has a very strong field emphasis, so I expect CSU Fresno graduates to be very successful in their careers. I do not know of any fields in which professionals enjoy their work more than geologists do. Perhaps this is due to the uniqueness of work in the geological sciences. What other science requires the use of both the mind and body? In addition to being downright fun, geology is a field of crucial importance to humanity and demand for geologists has never been higher. Fun, fulfilling, and full employment is pretty hard to beat!

Research Interests

My research has spans many subdisciplines in geology with the unifying theme of tectonics. Graduate students and undergraduates are involved in all aspects of my research (see student research page). My active tectonic research includes work on tectonic geomorphology (studies in the Sierra Nevada, California Coast Ranges), and active faulting/seismic hazards of coastal California and the Sierra Nevada regions. I have an interest in the long-term evolution of strike-slip fault systems (including the San Andreas fault system). Much of my research involves studies of basement tectonics, with emphasis of the rock record of subduction processes; the Franciscan Complex has been and will probably always be my favorite geologic unit. Basement tectonic research includes studies of the rock record of subduction initiation, the generation and emplacement of ophiolite complexes, the relationship between metamorphic pressure-temperature (P-T) paths and tectonics, and the exhumation of high-P rocks. I have also conducted research in environmental and engineering geology, particularly in the field of ambient (naturally occurring) metals of environmental concern in rocks and soil, and the engineering significance of melanges. I have tended to focus on process-oriented problems in my research, but my research also has a strong local or regional flavor in that nearly all of my research to date has taken place in the California Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada. A notable exception has been my recent field research in subduction-related metamorphism and tectonic evolution of Calabria (southern Italy). For details on my research activities with undergraduates and masters students, see student research. For a complete list of publications related to my research see the c.v. linked below (that includes pre-1996 publications as well as abstracts, with some citations linked to pdfs).

Student Research

Selected Publications (most unlinked papers available as pdf upon email request):

  • Ghatak, A., Basu, A.R., and Wakabayashi, J., in press, Implications of Franciscan Complex greywacke geochemistry for sediment transport, provenance determination, burial-exposure duration, and exchange with co-subducted metabasites: Tectonics
  • Osozawa, S., Okamoto, T., Su, Z.-H., Oba, Y., Yagi, T., Watanabe, Y., and Wakabayashi, J., 2013, Vicariant speciation due to 1.55 Ma isolation of the islands of Ryukyu, Japan, based on geologic and GenBank data: Entomological Science, v. 16, p. 267-277, doi:10.1111/ens.12037
  • Wakabayashi, J., 2013, Subduction initiation, accretion and non accretion, large-scale material movement, and localization of subduction megaslip, Franciscan Complex and related rocks, California: in Putirka, K., ed. Geological Excursions from Fresno, California, and the Central Valley: A Tour of California's Iconic Geology, Geological Society of America Field Guide 32, p. 129-162, doi: 10.1130/2013.0032(07)
  • Kusky, T.M., Windley, B.F., Safanova, I., Wakita, K., Wakabayashi, J.,  Polat, A., and Santosh, M., 2013, Recognition of oceanic plate stratigraphy in accretionary orogens through Earth history: A record of 3.8 billion years of sea floor spreading, subduction, and accretion: Gondwana Research, doi 10.1016/j.gr.2013.01.004
  • Wakabayashi, J., 2013, Paleochannels, stream incision, erosion, topographic evolution, and alternative explanations of paleoaltimetry, Sierra Nevada, California: Geosphere, v. 9, p. 192-215, doi:10.1130/GES00814.1
  • Shimabukuro*, D.H., Wakabayashi, J., Alvarez, W., and Chang, S.-c., 2012, Cold and old: The rock record of subduction initiation beneath a continental margin, Calabria, southern Italy.  Lithosphere, v. 4, p. 524-532.
  • Osozawa, S., Shinjo, R., Lo, C-H., Jahn, B-m. , Hoang, N., Sasaki, M., Ishikawa, K., Kano, H., Hoshi, H., Xenophontos, C., and Wakabayashi, J.,  2012, Geochemistry and geochronology of the Troodos ophiolite: An SSZ ophiolite generated by subduction initiation and an extended episode of ridge subduction?. Lithosphere, v. 4, p. 497-510.
  • Osozawa, S., Tsai, C-H., and Wakabayashi, J., 2012, Folding of granite and Cretaceous exhumation associated with regional-scale flexural slip folding and ridge subduction, Kitakami zone, northeast Japan: Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, v. 59, p.85-98, doi: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2012.05.023
  • Osozawa, S., and Wakabayashi, J., 2012, Exhumation of Triassic HP-LT rocks by upright extrusional domes and overlying detachment faults, Ishigaki-jima, Ryukyu Islands: Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, v. 59, p. 70-84 doi:10.1016/j.jseaes.2012.04.001.
  • Prohoroff*, R.E., Wakabayashi, J., and Dumitru, T.A., 2012, Sandstone-matrix olistostrome deposited on intra-subduction complex serpentinite, Franciscan Complex, western Marin County, California: Tectonophysics v. 568-569, p. 296-305. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2012.05.018
  • Hitz*, B., and Wakabayashi, J., 2012, Unmetamorphosed sedimentary mélange with high-pressure metamorphic blocks in a nascent forearc basin setting: Tectonophysics. v. 568-569, p. 124-134. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2011.12.006
  • Wakabayashi, J., 2012, Subducted sedimentary serpentinite mélanges: Record of multiple burial-exhumation cycles and subduction erosion: Tectonophysics, v. 568-569, p. 230-247.  doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2011.11.006
  • Osozawa, S., Shinjo, R., Armid, A., Watanabe, Y., Horiguchi, T., and Wakabayashi, J., 2012, Paleogeographic reconstruction of the 1.55 Ma synchronous isolation of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and Taiwan and the inflow of the Kuroshio warm current: International Geology Review, v. 54. p. 1369-1388.. doi: 10.1080/00206814.2011.639954
  • Ghatak, A., Basu, A.R., and Wakabayashi, J., 2012, Element mobility in Subduction metamorphism: Insight from metamorphic rocks of the Franciscan Complex and Feather River ultramafic belt, California: International Geology Review, v. 54, p. 654-685, doi.10.1080/00206814.2011.567087
Complete CV (PDF)