Stephen Johnston, PhD, MSc, BSc

Professor, Faculty of Science - Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Admin
Chair, Faculty of Science - Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Admin


Professor, Faculty of Science - Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Admin
(780) 492-5249
1-30A Earth Sciences Building
11223 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E3

Chair, Faculty of Science - Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Admin



Recent Publications

  • Li., J., Zhang, Y., Dong, S., Zhao, G., Cui, J., and Johnston, S.T., 2016.  New insights into the Phanerozoic tectonics of South China: Part 1, polyphase deformation in the central Jiangnan Orogen.  Tectonics, in press.
  • Del Greco, K., Johnston, S.T., & Shaw, J., 2016.  Tectonic setting of the North Gondwana margin during the Early Ordovician: a comparison of the Ollo de Sapo and Famatina magmatic events.  Tectonophysics, in press.
  • Murphy, J.B., Queseda, C., Gutiérrez-Alonso, G., Johnston, S.T., and Weil, A., 2016.  Reconciling competing models for the tectono-stratigraphic zonation of the Variscan Orogen in Western Europe.  Tectonophysics, in press.
  • Shaw, J., & Johnston, S.T., 2016.  Terrane Wrecks, Coupled Oroclines, and Paleomagnetic Inclination Anomalies.  Earth Science Reviews, 154, 191-209.
  • Shaw, J., Johnston S.T., and Gutiérrez-Alonso, G., 2015.  Orocline formation at the core of Pangea: A structural study of the Cantabrian Orocline, NW Iberian Massif.  Lithosphere 7, 653-669.
  • Canil, D., Johnston S.T., D’Souza, R.J., and Heaman, L.M., 2015.  Protolith of ultramafic rocks in the Kluane Schist, Yukon, and implications for arc collisions in the northern Cordillera.  Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 10.1139/cjes-2014-0138
  • Gutierrez-Alonso, G., Collins, A., Fernandez-Suarez, J., Pastor-Galan, D., Gonzalez-Clavijo, E., Jourdan, F., Weil, A.B., and  Johnston, S.T., 2015.  Dating of lithospheric buckling: 40Ar/39Ar ages of syn-orocline strike-slip shear zones in northwestern Iberia.  Tectonophysics, 643, 44-54.
  • Gutierrez-Alonso, G., Fernandez-Suarez, J., Pastor-Galan, D., Johnston, S.T., Linnemann, U., Hofmann, M., Shaw, J., Ramón Colmenero, J., and Hernandez, P., 2015.  Significance of detrital zircons in Siluro-Devonian rocks from Iberia.  J. Geological Society, 172, 309-322.
  • Li, J., Zhang, Y, Dong, S., and Johnston, S.T., 2014.  Cretaceous tectonic evolution of South China: a preliminary synthesis.  Earth Science Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.03.008.
  • Lahtinen, R., Johnston, S.T., and Nironen, M., 2014.  The Bothnian coupled oroclines of the Svecofennian Orogen: A Paleoproterozoic terrane wreck.  Terra Nova.  doi: 10.1111/ter.12107.
  • Shaw, J., Gutiérrez-Alonso, G., Johnston S.T., and Pastor-Galan, D., 2014.  Provenance variability along the Lower Ordovician north Gondwana margin: Paleogeographic and tectonic implications of U-Pb detrital zircon ages from the Armorican Quartzite of the Iberian Variscan Belt. Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi:10.1130/B30935.1,  19 pp.
  • Johnston S.T., Weil, A.B., and Gutiérrez‐Alonso, G., 2013.  Oroclines: Thick & Thin.  Geological Society of American Bulletin: 125th Anniversary Invited Review article, 125, 643-663.
  • Weil, A.B., Gutiérrez‐Alonso, G., Johnston S.T., and Pastor-Galan, D., 2013.  Kinematic constraints on buckling a lithospheric-scale orocline along the northern margin of Gondwana: a geologic synthesis.  Tectonophysics 582, 25-49.

Research Area

Plate Tectonics, Paleogeography, Convergent Margins, Structural Geology, Paleomagnetism, Oroclines, Orogenesis

visit my ResearchGate web page

Research Interest

My research is focused is on understanding how Earth’s geography has changed over geological time, and determining the significance of Earth’s changing geography for the evolution of the biosphere and atmosphere. I study current and ancient mountain belts, as mountain systems develop along plate margins and provide a record the long-term movements and plate interactions of continents.   Outreach is central to my science, for a public ignorant of the basic workings of the Earth and of the depth of Earth history, will never be able to imagine or comprehend the substantial challenge that ongoing climate change presents for humanity.

Research Opportunities

Current research projects include:

1) Tectonics and Paleogeographic evolution of the Cordilleran Orogen of Western North America
2) Vancouver Island: Tectonic Processes within a long-lived convergent margin
3) Variscan Orogenesis: The construction of Pangea
4) Oroclines and their implications for Plate Tectonics

Interested students should send along a CV, and a short statement of their research interests.


University of Alberta, 1993


EAS 110 - Earth Science Field School

This excursion through the mountains and prairies of Alberta introduces students to the diverse geology and geomorphology of the region. The structure of rocks will be observed, fossils identified, and glacial deposits studied, in order to understand the geological processes that have occurred here over geologic time. Requires payment of additional student instructional support fees. Refer to the Tuition and Fees page in the University Regulations section of the Calendar. Intended for students in their first or second year. Not available to students with previous credit in an EAS field school (EAS 234, 354, or 333). Prerequisite: One of EAS 100, 101, 201, 210 or SCI 100. [Faculty of Science]

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