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About Haakon Fossen

Professor of geology, University of Bergen


• Department of Earth Science and the University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen.
• Structural geologist
• Norwegian
• Member of the Geological Society of America (GSA Fellow), American Geophysical Union, AAPG, and the Geological Society of Norway (Norsk Geologisk Forening).


- PhD in structural geology, 1992, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.
- Cand.scient. in structural geology/tectonics, 1986, University of Bergen, Norway.
- Cand.mag. 1984, University of Bergen, Norway.

Editorial commitments

- Brazilian Journal of Geology, Associate editor.
- Journal of the Geological Society of London, Advisory editor
- Journal of Structural Geology, Editorial Board.
- Subject editor, encyclopedia (Store norske leksikon).


picture- University of Bergen (1996 - , full professor from 1997).
- Statoil (1986 - 1996, on leave from 1987-88 and 1989-92).
- NAVF research PhD stipend recipient (1989 - 1992), University of Minnesota.
- Geological Survey of Norway (1987-1988, national service).
- University of Oslo (1986), research assistant (vit.ass.)
- Internships with Sydvaranger AS (1982), Sulfidmalm/Falconbridge (1983), and Statoil (1984 and 1985).



- Utah State University (2009-2010).
- University of Utah (2002-2003).
- University of Sao Paulo ( 2016-2017).

PhD Students

-Jonny Hesthammer: Analysis of fault geometry and internal fault block deformation in the Gullfaks region, northern North Sea. Dr. scient. (PhD) 1999.
-Øystein Larsen: Kinematics and timing of late- to post-Caledonian deformation in the hinterland region of the Scandinavian Caledonides, with emphasis on the extensional history in SW Norway. Dr. scient (PhD) 2001.
-Atle Rotevatn: Tectonic deformation and fault interaction in porous silisiclastic rocks, with particular emphasis on relay ramps. PhD 2007.
-Vegard V. Vetti: Structural development of the Håsteinen Devonian Massic, its Caledonian substrate and the subjacent Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone. Dr. scient. 2008.
-Anita Torabi: Deformation bands in porous sandstones, their microstructure and petrophysical properties. PhD 2008.
-Tord Erlend Skeie Johansen: Extensional deformation of sandstone reservoirs.
-Anna Ksienzyk (co-adviser): From mountains to basins: geochronological case studies from southwestern Norway, Western Australia and East Antarctica. PhD 2012.
-Vaneeda Allken (co-adviser). Styles of rift interaction: a three-dimensional numerical study. PhD 2002.
-Elin Skurtveit (co-adviser): Deformation of sandstone reservoirs. Insight from experiments and field studies. PhD 2014.
-Luisa Fernanda Zuluaga Valencia: Contractional deformation of porous sandstones. Laramide and Sevier deformation of the Navajo and Aztec sandstones in western USA. PhD 2014.
-Zlotan Erdős (co-adviser): Coupled surface process and tectonic modelling of extension-inversion tectonics in the Pyrenees. PhD 2014.
-Anette Tvedt (co-adviser): The Geometry and Evolution of Supra-Salt Normal Fault Arrays. PhD 2016
-Antje Lenhart (co-adviser): Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of multiphase rift basins.
-Rosa Polanco-Ferrer: Northern North Sea rift system, with emphasis on the Tampen area.
-Chao Deng: North Sea Rift, modeling. PhD expected 2017
-Claudio Mora (co-adviser). South Atlantic margin modeling.
-Sven Philit (U of Montpellier) (co-adviser). Strain localization in porous rocks.


-Gregory Ballas (3 month period)
-Anna Ksienzyk (with J. Jacobs)
- Hamed Fazani (with R. Gawthorpe)
-Thilo Wrona (with R. Gawthorpe)
-Johannes Wiest (With J. Jacobs)


- Nordic Geoscientist Award 2012, received at the 30th Nordic Winter Meeting in Reykjavik 9-12 Jan 2012.
- Outstanding Paper Award 2011, Structural Geology and Tectonics Division of the Geological Society of America (with Basil Tikoff) for papers 17 and 18 (see Publications).
- GSA Fellow (elected 2011).
- EAGE Distinguished Lecturer Award1997 (Jonny Hesthammer and Haakon Fossen)

The importance of field geology

What is a better place to be for a geologist than in the field? Rocks are our friends, and we should never stop visiting them and learning from them in their natural environment. Models and ideas may seem very clean and convincing in the office. Testing them against real field observations usually brings us down to earth when so needed. Field work keeps you humble.

What I like about structural geology and tectonics

I always found the idea that rock can be crushed or squeezed to be very intriguing, particularly large volumes of rocks. Extreme cases, such as ultrahigh pressure rocks in continental subdiction zones, extreme detachment faults, highest mountains in the world, etc. are particularly fascinating, but the beauty of many outcrop-scale structures also trigger my passion for structural geology.

Structures are beautiful in their own right, but it is when we aquire enough insight and experience to envision the underlying geologic transformation or process that things get really interesting.