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Dr Frances Cooper

Dr Frances Cooper

Dr Frances Cooper
MSci(Lond.), PhD(USC)

Senior Lecturer

Area of research

Mechanics of large-scale continental deformation, evolution of orogenic systems, formation of ore deposits

Office L124
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5428


My research is focused on understanding the mechanics of large-scale continental deformation and the evolution of orogenic systems. I use a multidisciplinary approach that includes structural geology, isotope geochemistry, metamorphic and igneous petrology, geothermobarometry, U-Th-Pb geochronology, (U-Th)/He and 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology, paleomagnetism, satellite remote sensing, and thermal modelling.

I have studied active normal faulting in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece, the evolution of metamorphic core complexes in the Basin and Range province, and the role of extension in the Bhutan Himalaya.

At Bristol I am involved in a multidisciplinary project funded by BHP that integrates volcanology, structural geology, geomorphology, experimental petrology, and geochronology to understand the formation of porphyry copper deposits in the Central Andes (


Frances in Chile

I obtained an MSci in Geology from University College London in 2003, where I worked on active normal faulting in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece. After moving to the USA, I continued my stuides at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and received my PhD in 2008, with a thesis on exhumation of the Snake Range metamorphic core complex, Nevada.

In 2008 I took up a postdoctoral position at Arizona State University, Phoenix, where I worked on a diverse range of research projects, including extensional faulting in the Bhutanese Himalaya, mineralogical mapping of remote mountainous regions using infrared satellite data, and dating young basaltic lava flows with (U-Th)/He thermochronology.

I have been at Bristol since 2012 and am currently involved in a large project funded by the mining company, BHP, to understand the formation of porphyry copper deposits.


I teach 2nd year Structural Geology, 3rd year Economic Geology, and 4th year Advanced Fieldwork.

Teaching in Coniston

Naxos 2016



  • continental tectonics
  • structural geology
  • economic geology
  • geochronology
  • thermochronology
  • isotope geochemistry
  • igneous petrology
  • metamorphic petrology
  • field geology
  • remote sensing

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Dr Cooper currently teaches 4 courses:

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