Beatrice Magnani Portrait

Maria Beatrice Magnani  

Associate Research Professor

Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI)


CERI - Building 3, office 103


(901) 678- 4830
Fax: (901) 678- 4734




Center for Earthquake Research and Information
The University of Memphis
3876 Central Ave
Memphis, TN 38152

Recent Presentations | Publications | Research | Current Projects | Teaching


My research focuses mainly on the study of continental lithosphere formation and evolution through active source seismic investigation, both on land and marine. Investigating the continental lithosphere poses an exceptional challenge because unlike the oceanic lithosphere, the continental lithosphere does not have a common mode of origin, as it is an assemblage of diverse compositional elements with different thermal and tectonic histories.

During the past years my colleagues and I have been studying the tectonic evolution of several continental areas, including the Apennines (project CROP03), the Rocky Mountains (CD-ROM project) and the SE Caribbean plate boundary (BOLIVAR project), through the analysis of different data sets including reflection and refraction data both acquired as part of the projects and provided by the industry. More recently I begun working on the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an enigmatic portion of the North American mid continent characterized by a surprising seismic activity.


Depth migrated CD-ROM seismic reflection profile across the Jemez Lineament (New Mexico, USA). The data image the buried suture resulting from the collision between the Mazatzal island arc and the Yavapai proto-continent (B and D structures). The double-vergent Paleoproterozoic suture is overprinted by 1.4 Ga granites and mafic sills (C reflectors). The age of these mafic intrusions is still unknown but it could be either 1.1 Ga or associated with the Jemez Lineament Cenozoic volcanic trend, suggesting that the Paleoproterozoic suture still plays a role in localizing the deformation after 1.65 Gyr. (after Magnani et al., 2004)

I recently started applying the reflection and refraction methods to the imaging of much shallower targets, (10 - 500m depth), mostly for environmental (Ogden, Utah), hydrologic (Memphis, Tennessee) and neotectonic purposes (Mississippi Embayment).

Current Projects

Characterizing the geometry and time of deformation of the Meeman-Shelby Fault, Memphis TN. NEW!

Toward an understanding of the long-term Deformation in the Mississippi Embayment Phase II NEW! (first cruise - June 2010). Click HERE for the blog.

Long-term Deformation in the Mississippi Embayment (cruise - June 2008)

Continental Dynamics of Rocky Mountains Project (CD-ROM)

Broadband Offshore-Land Investigation of Venezuela and the Antilles arc Region (BOLIVAR)

Identifying Conduits for Potential Contamination to Enter the Memphis Aquifer
(Testing seismic sources: walkaway test in April-May 2006)
(Seismic reflection data acquisition - July 2006)

(Check out the Workshop on the "Long Term Deformation in the Central U.S." held in Memphis, TN, Sept. 27-28, 2007)


ESCI 6400: Structural Interpretation of Seismic Reflection Profiles

Long CV (probably more than you want to know)

The short and sweet version is here.