Description of Opportunity

Researchers Involved

Student Objectives

Requirements for Participation


Research Opportunities in Extensional Dynamics for US Undergraduate and Graduate Geosciences Students in Western Turkey


Description of the opportunity

The US National Science Foundation
has a program called: Developing Global Scientists and Engineers: International Research Experiences for Students (IRES).  According to this program, the United States needs to educate a globally-engaged science and engineering workforce capable of performing in an international research environment in order to remain at the forefront of world science and technology.

To support this aim, the IRES program provides financial support for groups of US undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research abroad in collaboration with foreign investigators.

IRES aims to provide high quality educational experiences for small groups of US undergraduate and/or graduate students through active research participation in collaboration with foreign researchers at an international site.

IRES helps prepare a globally-engaged science and technology workforce by providing students with international collaborative research training and a personal network on which to build future collaborations.

This opportunity provides paid research and training opportunities for US undergraduate and graduate students to conduct fieldwork in western Turkey.

US students who participate in the award must be traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Over three years, these students will partner with peers at Middle East Technical University or Pamukkale University  to conduct field-based research within a multidisciplinary framework focused on investigating the dynamics of extension within the Earth's lithosphere.

The goal is to provide talented and motivated US students with hands-on field experience in geophysical surveying, field mapping, GPS mapping, sampling, as well as the tools necessary to make geochemical and petrologic observations.

The scientific focus of the grant is to develop a better understanding of the creation and evolution of the planet's largest metamorphic core complex, the Menderes Massif. The mechanism(s) that created this mountain range, and, consequently, how the Menderes Massif relates to other domains in the Aegean Region is unclear. The tectonic history of this large and fundamental component of the Aegean is important, as it lends considerable insight into the large-scale processes that control and facilitate extension of the Earth's crust.

Proposed models for the creation of the massif include subduction roll-back, orogenic collapse, and extrusion tectonics. These concepts are often discussed in a variety of geosciences courses. The topic of lithospheric extension is also a subject of current investigation and active discussion by numerous geologic researchers in the field and laboratory.


This project integrates field, remote sensing, and geochemical research activities into the education of Turkish and US undergraduate and graduate students. The experience is geared towards US students who are underrepresented in the Physical Sciences. Students will be supported to present the results of their research at professional meetings, including those geared towards advancing minority participation.

The Middle East is one of the most crucial regional arenas for U.S. foreign policy in the coming years. Turkey singled out as a key country where the training pipeline should be expanded at every level. This project provides benefits by developing international partnerships and improving the Turkish language skills of US students and the English language skills of Turkish students.

Funding is provided by the NSFs Office of International Science and Engineering and the Division of Earth Sciences.