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Dr. Peter McPhee

foto pmcphee

Department of Earth Sciences

Institute of Geological Sciences

Tectonics and Sedimentary Systems


Malteserstr. 74-100
Room B 243
12249 Berlin

Education and employment

2021 – Present Postdoctoral Researcher and 4DMB coordinator

2019                 Technical Writer, Sasol Group (Contractor), UK

2014 – 2018     PhD Structural Geology and Tectonics, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

2013 – 2014     Graduate Geoscientist, Ikon Science, UK

2009 – 2013     MSc Geoscience, Durham University, UK

Utrecht University:

  • 1st year Field course in structural geology and sedimentology (Assistant - Iberian Range, Spain)
  • 2nd year Field course in structural geology and sedimentology (Assistant - Pyrenees, Spain)

Present research: Switching Pro and Retro Wedges

I am a structural geologist and tectonicist interested in how crustal and mantle processes shape mountain building and plateau formation. My present research is focused on reconstructing the Cenozoic evolution of the Eastern Alps (and surroundings). In the Neogene, this region experienced a dramatic tectonic reorganisation, including indentation of Adriatic crust, eastward lateral extrusion, as well as a switch from pro- to retro-wedge shortening that was thought to have recorded an incipient subduction polarity reversal.

I aim to integrate map-view and cross-section reconstructions of the Eastern Alps (and surroundings) to test the role of the lower crust in this tectonic reorganisation. My work will incorporate the wealth of existing geological data, new field data, as well as reprocessed TRANSALP seismic profile, and other cutting-edge geophysical datasets from the 4D-MB and AlpArray projects.


Previous research project: Central Anatolian Plateau and Eastern Mediterranean Tectonics

Central Anatolia (Turkey) is a small and nascent example of a high orogenic plateau. Several drivers of plateau rise had been proposed: peeling or dripping delamination of the lithospheric mantle; asthenospheric upwelling through slab gaps created by slab fragmentation or break-off, and; continental underthrusting and crustal shortening below the southern plateau margin. The Neogene history of the plateau was not diagnostic of the causes of plateau rise and so I investigated the older geological evolution of the plateau lithosphere, which formed by orogenesis during subduction since the Cretaceous.

I used balanced cross-sections, palinspastic reconstructions, palaeomagnetism, fault kinematic analysis, and low-temperature thermochronology to investigate the orogenic evolution that preceded plateau rise, and used these, in combination with existing geophysical data, to evaluate proposed drivers of uplift.


Publications (peer-reviewed):


McPhee, P.J., Koç, A, & van Hinsbergen, D.J.J. (2022). Preparing the ground for plateau growth: Late Neogene Central Anatolian uplift in the context of orogenic and geodynamic evolution since the Cretaceous. Tectonophysics, 822. DOI

van Hinsbergen, D. J., Steinberger, B., Guilmette, C., Maffione, M., Gürer, D., Peters, K., Plunder, A., McPhee, P. J., Gaina, C., Advokaat, E. L., & others. (2021). A record of plume-induced plate rotation triggering subduction initiation. Nature Geoscience, 1–5. DOI


Aldanmaz, E., van Hinsbergen, D. J., Yıldız-Yüksekol, Ö., Schmidt, M. W., McPhee, P. J., Meisel, T., Güçtekin, A., & Mason, P. R. (2020). Effects of reactive dissolution of orthopyroxene in producing incompatible element depleted melts and refractory mantle residues during early fore-arc spreading: Constraints from ophiolites in eastern Mediterranean. Lithos, 360, 105438. DOI


McPhee, P. J., Van Hinsbergen, D. J., & Thomson, S. N. (2019). Thermal history of the western Central Taurides fold-thrust belt: Implications for Cenozoic vertical motions of southern Central Anatolia. Geosphere, 15(6), 1927–1942. DOI

McPhee, P. J., & van Hinsbergen, D. J. (2019). Tectonic reconstruction of Cyprus reveals Late Miocene continental collision of Africa and Anatolia. Gondwana Research, 68, 158–173. DOI


McPhee, P. J., Altıner, D., & Van Hinsbergen, D. J. (2018). First Balanced Cross Section Across the Taurides Fold-Thrust Belt: Geological Constraints on the Subduction History of the Antalya Slab in Southern Anatolia. Tectonics, 37(10), 3738–3759. DOI

McPhee, P. J., Van Hinsbergen, D. J., Maffione, M., & Altıner, D. (2018). Palinspastic Reconstruction Versus Cross-Section Balancing: How Complete Is the Central Taurides Fold-Thrust Belt (Turkey)? Tectonics, 37(11), 4285–4310. DOI


Van Hinsbergen, D. J., Maffione, M., Plunder, A., Kaymakcı, N., Ganerød, M., Hendriks, B. W., Corfu, F., Gürer, D., de Gelder, G. I., Peters, K., & others. (2016). Tectonic evolution and paleogeography of the Kırşehir Block and the Central Anatolian Ophiolites, Turkey. Tectonics, 35(4), 983–1014. DOI