Dr. Randy Cox

Dr. Randel Tom Cox


(901) 678-4361
(901) 678-2178
113 Johnson Hall, Memphis, TN 38152
Office Hours
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Education / Degree

Ph.D.,  University of Missouri,  1995

Research interest (Short)

Primary interests involve the tectonic and climatic geomorphology and active tectonics. Other interests are plate tectonics, structural geology, paleogeography, biogeography, and organic evolution.  Present research involves landscape evolution of the Mississippi Valley and surrounding region, documentation of prehistoric earthquakes in the central US and Central America, and the effects of volcanic hotspots on moving crustal plates.

Courses taught

Quaternary Geology ESCI 7202

An overview of the processes operating during Quaternary that gave rise to the characteristics of Quaternary geologic materials and Quaternary landforms.  Emphasis is on Quaternary climatic instability and its signature on geologic processes globally.

Tectonics ESCI 7311

Current thinking with respect to movement of the Earth's lithosphere.  Ideas discussed include: plate motions and the processes driving them; regional deformational styles associated with different types of plate margins; lithospheric stress regimes; and changes in tectonic style through geologic time.

Structural Geology ESCI 3512

Basic principles and analytical methods of structural geology.  The focus of the course is the geometric description of structures and current ideas as to the processes that produce a given structural style.  These topics are addressed at map scale, outcrop scale, and micro-scale.

Recent Publications

VanArsdale, R.B., Cox, R.T., and Lumsden, D.N., 2019, Quaternary Isostatic Uplift in the Northern Mississippi Embayment, Journal of Geology, v. 127, no. 1, in press.

Cox, R.T., Hatcher, R.D., Jr., Counts, R., Gamble, E., Glasbrenner, J., and Warrell, K., 2018, Quaternary faulting along the Dandridge-Vonore fault zone in the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone, in Engel, A.S., and Hatcher, R.D., Jr., eds., Geology at Every Scale: Field Excursions for the 2018 GSA Southeastern Section Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee: Geological Society of America Field Guide 50, p. 81–94, https://doi.org/10.1130/2018.0050(06).

Paul, J., Larsen, D., and Cox, R., 2018, Spatial analysis of groundwater chloride anomalies, earthquake sand-blows, and surface soils in the Mississippi River Valley alluvium in southeastern Arkansas: Groundwater for Sustainable Development, 6: 101-111, doi.org/10.1016/j.gsd.2017.11.005.

Warrell, K.F., Cox, R.T., Hatcher, R.D., Vaughn, J.D., and Counts, R., 2017, Paleoseismic evidence for multiple Mw ≥ 6 earthquakes in the East Tennessee seismic zone during the late Quaternary: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107: 1610–1624, doi: 10.1785/0120160161.

Lumsden, D.N., Cox, R.T., and VanArsdale, R.B., 2016, Petrology of Pliocene Mississippi River Alluvium: Provenance Implications: The Journal of Geology, 124: 501–517, doi: 10.1086/686997.

Cox, R.T., 2015, A Geologist's Perspective on the Delta, in J.M. Collins (ed.), Defining the Delta: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Lower Mississippi River Delta: University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ch.2, p 11-23.

Cox, R.T., Lowe, C., Hao,Y., and Mahan, S.A., 2014, Use of small-scale liquefaction features to assess paleoseismicity: an example from the Saline River fault zone, Southeast Arkansas, USA.: Frontiers in Earth Science, 2(31): 1-17. doi:10.3389/feart.2014.00031

Cox, R.T., Lumsden, D.N., and Van Arsdale, R.B., 2014, Possible relict meanders of the Pliocene Mississippi River and their implications: Journal of Geology, 122: 609–622, doi: 10.1086/676974.

Powell, C.A., Withers, M.M., Cox, R.T., Vlahovic, G., and Arroucau, P., 2014, Crustal velocity structure associated with the eastern Tennessee seismic zone: Vp and Vs images based upon local earthquake tomography: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 119: 464–489.

Cox, R.T., Hall, J.L., and Gardner, C.S., 2013, Tectonic history and setting of a seismogenic intraplate fault system that lacks microseismicity: the Saline River fault system, southern United States: Tectonophysics, 608: 252-266, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2013.09.031.

Cox, R., VanArsdale, R., Clark, D., Hill, A., and Lumsden, D., 2013, A revised paleo-earthquake chronology on the southeast Reelfoot rift margin near Memphis, Tennessee: Seismological Research Letters, 84: 402-408, doi: 10.1785/0220120142.

Cox, R.T., Harris, J., Forman, S., Brezina, T., Gordon, J., Gardner, C., and Machin, S., 2012, Holocene faulting on the Saline River fault zone, Arkansas, along the Alabama-Oklahoma transform, in Cox, R.T., Tuttle, M.P., Boyd, O.S., and Locat, J., eds., Recent Advances in North American Paleoseismology and Neotectonics East of the Rockies: Geological Society of America Special Paper 493, p. 143–164, doi:10.1130/2012.2493(07).

Cox, R.T., Gordon, J.,  Forman, S., Brezina, T., Negrau, M., Hill, A., Gardner, C., and Machin, S., 2010, Paleoseismic sand blows in north Louisiana & south Arkansas: Seismological Research Letters, 81: 1032-1047.

Tavakoli, B., Pezeshk, S., and Cox, R.T., 2010, Seismicity of the New Madrid Seismic Zone derived from a deep-seated strike-slip fault: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 100: 1646–1658, doi: 10.1785/0120090220.

Cox, R.T., 2009, Ouachita, Appalachian, and Ancestral Rockies deformations recorded in mesoscale structures on the foreland Ozark plateau: Tectonophysics, 474: 674–683.

Seifert, C.S., Cox, R.T., Forman, S.L., Foti, T.L., Wasklewicz, T.A., and McColgan, A.T., 2009. Relict nebkhas (pimple mounds) record prolonged late Holocene drought in the forested region of south-central United States. Quaternary Research, 71: 329-339.