Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Prof Paul Tapponnier


Asian School of the Environment
College of Science

Phone: (+65)6592 1715
Office: N2-01a-09b

  • Doctorat d'Etat Universite des Sc et Tech du Languedoc 1978
  • MS (Geology) Ecole Natl Sup des Mines de Paris 1970
Professional Experience

2009 to Present

 Full Professor and Head of Tectonics and Earthquake Research, Earth Observatory of Singapore (an institute of Nanyang Technological

1991 to 2009
 Director of the Tectonics Department, Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris
 Full Professor with tenure (Physicien, classe exceptionnelle), Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (since 1991)
 Director (1984-1996, 2001-2004) of Unité Mixte de Recherche 7578, "Tectonique, Mécanique de la Lithosphère" (one of the research
Laboratory of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
 Distinguished visiting scientist, JPL
 January - July 2000 : invited professor, Caltech, USA
 February 2008 - April 2009 : invited professor, Schlumberger/Saudi Aramco, KSA

1986 to 1990
Full Professor, (Physicien Titulaire, 2nd then 1st class), Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, tenured.

1980 to 1985
Associate Professor (Physicien Adjoint), Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, with tenure.

National and International Awards

 Silver Medal of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, 1984

 "Alfred Wegener" Medal of European Union of Geosciences, 1985

 Grand Prix Scientifique de la ville de Paris, 1990

 Knight of National Order of Legion of Honour, France, 1991

 Best Paper award, Geological Society of America, 1994

 Fellow of American Geophysical Union, 1994

 Honorary Fellow of Geological Society of America, 1996

 Friendship Medal, China, 1998

 Francis Birch Lecturer, American Geophysical Union, 1999

 Lyell Medal, Geological Society, London, 2001

 Foreign associate Member of the National Academy of Science (USA), 2005

 Member of the French Academy of sciences, 2005 (Corresponding member since 1994)

 Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London, 2008


M.S. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 1970
Major: Geology - Geophysics
Ingénieur Civil des Mines de Paris
Doctorat d'Etat: Université des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc, Montpellier, 1978 ("Intracontinental Tectonics in Alpine Europe and Asia", with honours).

I have headed several research cruises on oceanographic ships and numerous field projects in many countries of the Mediterranean, central, eastern and Himalayan Asia (including thirty five trips to Tibet), and north and east Africa, concerning subjects ranging from Plate Tectonics to rock deformation, seismotectonics to structural geology, remote sensing to morphotectonics and climate change, Tertiary metamorphism to Paleomagnetism.
Research Interests
1. Continental Dynamics and Tectonics, with particular emphasis on collision zones, plateaux and mountain belts,
particularly in Asian-Mediterranean regions.
2. Active faulting and seismotectonics, earthquake hazard assessment.
3.Quantitative Geomorphology, state-of-the-art determination of current rates of active deformation processes.
4.Rock mechanics and rock deformation physics.
Current Projects
  • Altyn Tagh Fault China
  • Asian Collision Modeling
  • Bengal Assam
  • Discrete Element Modelling
  • Funding to Support Research
  • Funding to Support Research
  • HRS Imagery
  • MIRAGE: Imaging Intraplate Faulting In The Indian Ocean
  • Nepal Earthquakes
  • Nepal Seismic Hazard
Selected Publications
  • Yu Wang, Shengji Wei, Xin Wang, Eric O. Lindsey, Felix Tongkul, Paul Tapponnier, Kyle Bradley, Chung-Han Chan, Emma M. Hill, Kerry Sieh. (2017). The 2015 Mw 6.0 Mt. Kinabalu earthquake: an infrequent fault rupture within the Crocker fault system of East Malaysia. Geoscience Letters, 4(6).
  • Singh SC, Hananto N, Qin Y, Leclerc F, Avianto P, Tapponnier PE, Carton H, Wei S, Nugroho AB, Gemilang WA, Sieh K, Barbot S. (2017). The discovery of a conjugate system of faults in the Wharton Basin intraplate deformation zone. Science Advances, 3(1).
  • Q. Qiu, E.M. Hill, S. Barbot, J. Hubbard, W. Feng, E.O. Lindsey, L. Feng, K. Dai, S.V. Samsonov, P. Tapponnier. (2016). The mechanism of partial rupture of a locked megathrust: The role of fault morphology. Geology, 44(10), 875-878.
  • Daout S, Jolivet R, Lasserre C, Doin M-P, Barbot S, Tapponnier P, Peltzer G, Socquet A, Sun J. (2016). Along-strike variations of the partitioning of convergence across the Haiyuan fault system detected by InSAR. Geophysical Journal International, 205(1), 536-547.
  • Li, Linlin; Switzer, Adam D.; Wang, Yu; Weiss, Robert; Qiu, Qiang; Chan, Chung-Han; Tapponnier, Paul. (2015). What caused the mysterious eighteenth century tsunami that struck the southwest Taiwan coast?. Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 8498-8506.

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