Kamil Ustaszewski

Group leader, field work enthusiast with a weakness for mountains. Telemark skier and former bike messenger.
Kamil Ustaszewski Kamil Ustaszewski Image: Kamil Ustaszewski

Research interests

I am fascinated by the sight of mountains and consider tectonic processes that continuously modify the appearance of our Earth as outstanding landscape gardeners. My research interests hence focus on the tectonics and related sedimentary, magmatic, metamorphic, but also geomorphological processes along converging plate margins. In order to understand the deformation occurring there and its role in mountain building, I study geological faults and shear zones in terms of their geometry and kinematics over several spatial scales and at all crustal levels. Detailed field work, ideally complemented by geological mapping, forms an indispensable backbone of my projects. Additionally, I rely on geophysical data to constrain the deeper subsurface, as well as various geochronological approaches to record geological processes over time.

My external research profiles

Curation of scientific collections

Initiator and curator of the tectonic collection de of the University Jena

Curator of the collection of geological maps de of the University Jena

Selected non-profit activities and community services

03/2018 - 06/2022

President of TSK division (Fachsektion Tektonik-Strukturgeologie-Kristallingeologie) of the German Geological Society (DGGV)


Since 2015

Executive chairman of Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Geowissenschaften Jena e.V de. ("Promoting geosciences in Jena")


Selected administrative tasks at the University Jena

Since 2022

Member of the study committee of the University Senate de

Since 2020

Member of the study committee at faculty level de

Since 2019

Chairman of examination board for BSc & MSc curriculum Geowissenschaften de

Member of the selection committee for the MSc curriculum Geosciences

Since 2017

Erasmus coordinator for Geosciences in Jena de


Current research grants

Since 2020:

Identifying fossil fault activity along the eastern Periadriatic Fault system by means of combined OSL- and ESR-dating of fault gouges (NE Italy, S Austria and N Slovenia). Collaborative project with Sumiko Tsukamoto (LIAG Hannover), sub-project within the 2nd phase of SPP 2017 "Mountain Building in Four Dimensions".

Mountain building in the Eastern and Southern Alps - large earthquakes and active faults. Collaborative project with Christoph Grützner de and Klaus Reicherter (RWTH Aachen), sub-project within the 2nd phase of SPP 2017 "Mountain Building in Four Dimensions".

Since 2019:

The metamorphic Yuli Belt in Taiwan - Key to the tectonics of arc-continent collision and high-pressure rock exhumation (collaborative project with Niko Froitzheim (Bonn) and Chin-Ho Tsai (Donghua University Taiwan), jointly funded by DFG and MoST.



Cross section balancing across the Taiwan fold-and-thrust belt (DFG), in collaboration with Niko Froitzheim (Bonn).

Determining long-term slip rates in the Northern Zagros Fold-and-Thrust Belt (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) from tectonic geomorphology, structural modeling and OSL-dating (DFG).

ALMOND - Albania and Montenegro Neotectonic Deformation (DFG), in collaboration with Klaus Reicherter (RWTH Aachen).                   

KAPMED - Kinematic reconstructions of the Adriatic plate as a key to understanding subduction processes in the Western Mediterranean (DFG), in collaboration with Eline Le Breton & Mark R. Handy (FU Berlin).


See also the following link to the DFG's GEPRIS database.



In review, in revision, pending acceptance or accepted:

Diercks, M., Grützner, C., Welte, J. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Challenges and limits of Remote Sensing of Active Tectonics in the slowly deforming Karst landscape of W Slovenia and NE Italy. Geomorphology, in review.

Balling, P., Tomljenović, B., Herak, M., Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Inversion of passive margin faults in the Velebit Mountain of the external Dinarides fold-and-thrust-belt and implications for seismotectonics. Swiss J. Geosci., in revision.

Thieme, M., Jähne-Klingberg, F., Fügenschuh, B., Malz, A., Linnemann, U., Ustaszewski, K. (2023): The Late Mesozoic to Paleogene cooling history of the Thuringian Forest and its southern periphery (central Germany) revealed by combined fission-track and U-Pb LA-ICP-MS dating, ZDGG, pending acceptance.

Published (in inverse chronological order):

Zhang, Y., He, D., Ustaszewski, K., Zhao, L., Ji, Z., and Wang, Z. (2023): Thermal evolution of the metamorphism in the eastern Taiwan Central Range : Implications for Yuli Belt exhumation. Chinese Journal of Geology, 58, 289-304, doi: 10.12017/dzkx.2023.020.

Diercks, M., Grützner, C., Vrabec, M., & Ustaszewski, K. (2022): Addendum to Diercks et al., 2021: A model for the formation of the Pradol (Pradolino) dry valley in W Slovenia and NE Italy. Geologija, 65(1), 93-99. doi:10.5474/geologija.2022.006.

Biermanns, P., Schmitz, B., Mechernich, S., Weismüller, C., Onuzi, K., Ustaszewski, K., Reicherter, K. (2022): Aegean-style extensional deformation in the contractional southern Dinarides: incipient normal fault scarps in Montenegro. Solid Earth 13, 957-974, doi: 10.5194/se-13-957-2022.

Grützner, C., Aschenbrenner, S., Jamšek Rupnik, P., Reicherter, K., Saifelislam, N., Vičič, B., Vrabec, M., Welte, J., & Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Holocene surface-rupturing earthquakes on the Dinaric Fault System, western Slovenia. Solid Earth, 12, 2211–2234, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-12-2211-2021.

Zebari, M., Preusser, F., Grützner, C., Navabpour, P., Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Late Pleistocene-Holocene Slip Rates in the Northwestern Zagros Mountains Derived from Luminescence Dating of River Terraces and Structural Modeling. Tectonics, 40, e2020TC006565, doi: 10.1029/2020TC006565.

Balling, P., Tomljenović, B., Schmid, S.M., Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Contrasting along-strike deformation styles in the external Dinarides: implications for the tectonic evolution of its Paleogene flexural foreland basin system. Global and Planetary Change, 205, 103587, 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103587.

Diercks, M., Grützner, C., Vrabec, M., Ustaszewski, K. (2021): A model for the formation of the Pradol (Pradolino) dry valley in W Slovenia and NE Italy, Geologija, 64/1, 21-33, doi: 10.5474/geologija.2021.002.

Löwe, G., Schneider, S., Sperner, B., Balling, P., Pfänder, J., Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Torn between two plates: exhumation of the Cer Massif (internal Dinarides) as a far-field effect of Carpathian slab rollback inferred from 40Ar/39Ar dating and cross section balancing. Tectonics, 40, e2021TC006699, doi: 10.1029/2021TC006699.

Le Breton, E., Brune, S., Ustaszewski, K., Zahirovic, S., Seton, M., & Müller, R. D. (2021): Kinematics and extent of the Piemont-Liguria Basin – implications for subduction processes in the Alps: Solid Earth, 12, 885-913, doi: 10.5194/se-12-885-2021.

Balling, P., Grützner, C., Tomljenović, B., Spakman, W., Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Post-collisional mantle delamination in the Dinarides implied from staircases of Oligo-Miocene uplifted marine terraces. Scientific Reports, 11, doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-81561-5.

Zebari, M., Balling, P., Grützner, C., Navabpour, P., Witte, J., & Ustaszewski, K. (2020). Structural style of the NW Zagros Mountains and the role of basement thrusting for its Mountain Front Flexure, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Journal of Structural Geology, 141, 104206, doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2020.104206.

Schmitz, B., Biermanns, P., Hinsch, R., Ðaković, M., Onuzi, K., Reicherter, K., & Ustaszewski, K. (2020). Ongoing shortening in the Dinarides fold-and-thrust belt: A new structural model of the 1979 (Mw 7.1) Montenegro earthquake epicentral region. Journal of Structural Geology, 141, 104192, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2020.104192.

Zhang, Y., Tsai, C.-H., Froitzheim, N., Ustaszewski, K. (2020). The Yuli Belt in Taiwan: part of the suture zone separating Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates. Terrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, 31, 415-435, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2020.06.28.01.

Viscolani, A., Grützner, C., Diercks, M., Reicherter, K., & Ustaszewski, K. (2020). Late Quaternary Tectonic Activity of the Udine-Buttrio Thrust, Friulian Plain, NE Italy. Geosciences 10(2), 84, doi:10.3390/geosciences10020084.

Schmid, S.M., Fügenschuh, B., Georgiev, N., Kounov A., Matenco, L., Nievergelt, P., Oberhänsli, R., Pleuger, J., Schefer, S., Schuster, R., Tomljenović, B., Ustaszewski, K., van Hinsbergen, D. (2020): Tectonic units of the Alpine collision zone between Eastern Alps and western Turkey, Gondwana Research, 78, 308-374, doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2019.07.005.

Handy, M.R., Giese, J., Pleuger, J., Schmid, S.M., Spakman, W., Onuzi, K., Ustaszewski, K. (2019): Coupled Crust‐Mantle Response to Slab Tearing, Bending, and Rollback Along the Dinaride‐Hellenide Orogen, Tectonics, 38, 2803-2828, doi.org/10.1029/2019TC005524.

Zebari, M., Grützner, C., Navabpour, P., Ustaszewski, K. (2019): Relative Timing of Uplift along the Zagros Mountain Front Flexure Constrained by Geomorphic Indices and Landscape Modelling, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Solid Earth, 10, 663-682, https://doi.org/10.5194/se-10-663-2019.

Biermanns, P., Schmitz, B., Ustaszewski, K., Reicherter, K. (2019): Tectonic geomorphology and Quaternary landscape development in the Albania - Montenegro border region: An inventory. Geomorphology, 326, 116-131, doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.09.014.

Le Breton, E., Handy, M.R., Molli, G., Ustaszewski, K. (2017): Post-20 Ma motion and rotation of the Adriatic microplate – new constraints from surrounding orogens and implications for crust-mantle decoupling. Tectonics, 36, doi: 10.1002/2016TC004443.

Dhansay, T., Navabpour, P., de Wit, M., Ustaszewski, K. (2017): Assessing the reactivation potential of pre-existing fractures in the southern Karoo, South Africa: evaluating the potential for sustainable exploration across its Critical Zone. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 134, 504-515.

Navabpour, P., Malz, A., Kley, J., Siegburg, M., Kasch, N., Ustaszewski, K. (2017): Intraplate brittle deformation and states of paleostress constrained by fault kinematics in central German platform. Tectonophysics, 694, 146-163, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2016.11.033.

Sandmann, S., Nagel, T.J., Froitzheim, N., Ustaszewski, K., Münker, C. (2015): Late Miocene to Early Pliocene blueschist from Taiwan and its exhumation via forearc extraction. Terra Nova, 27, 285-291.

Handy, M.R., Ustaszewski, K., Kissling, E. (2015): Reconstructing the Alps-Carpathians-Dinarides as a key to understanding switches in subduction polarity, slab gaps and surface motion. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 104, 1-26.

Ustaszewski, K., Herak, M., Herak, D., Tomljenović, B., Matej, S. (2014): Neotectonics of the Dinarides–Pannonian Basin Transition Area and possible earthquake sources in the Banja Luka epicentral area. Journal of Geodynamics, 82, 52-68.

Ustaszewski, K., Wu, Y.-M., Suppe, J., Huang, H.-H., C.-H. Chang (2012): Crust-mantle boundaries in the Taiwan–Luzon arc-continent collision system determined from local earthquake tomography and 1D models. Tectonophysics, 578, 31–49.

Ustaszewski, K., Kounov, A., Schmid, S.M., Schaltegger, U., Krenn, E., Frank, W., Fügenschuh, B. (2010): Evolution of the Adria–Europe plate boundary in the northern Dinarides: From continent-continent collision to back-arc extension. Tectonics, 29, TC6017, doi:10.1029/2010TC002668.

Ustaszewski, K., S. M. Schmid, B. Lugović, R. Schuster, U. Schaltegger, D. Bernoulli, L. Hottinger, A. Kounov, B. Fügenschuh, and S. Schefer (2009): Late Cretaceous intra-oceanic magmatism in the internal Dinarides (northern Bosnia and Herzegovina): Implications for the collision of the Adriatic and European plates. Lithos, 108, 106-125.

Ustaszewski, K., S. M. Schmid, B. Fügenschuh, M. Tischler, E. Kissling, and W. Spakman (2008): A map-view restoration of the Alpine-Carpathian-Dinaridic system for the Early Miocene. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 101 (Supplement Issue 1), 273-294.

Krenn, E., Ustaszewski, K., Finger, F. (2008): Detrital and newly formed metamorphic monazite in amphibolite-facies metapelites from the Motajica Massif. North Bosnia. Chemical Geology 254, 164-174.

Schmid, S. M., Bernoulli, D., Fügenschuh, B., Matenco, L., Schefer, S., Schuster, R., Tischler, M. & Ustaszewski, K. (2008): The Alpine-Carpathian-Dinaridic orogenic system: correlation and evolution of tectonic units. Swiss Journal of Geosciences 101, 139-183.

Hinsken, S., Ustaszewski, K., Wetzel, A. (2007): Graben-width controls synrift sedimentation: the Palaeogene Upper Rhine Graben as an example. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 96, 979-1002.

Ustaszewski, K., Schmid, S.M. (2007): Latest Pliocene to recent thick-skinned tectonics at the Upper Rhine Graben - Jura Mountains junction. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 100, 293-312.

Cloetingh, S., Ziegler, P.A., Cornu, T., Ustaszewski, K., Schmid, S.M., Dèzes, P., Hinsch, R., Decker, K., Lopes Cardozo, G., Granet, M., Bertrand, G., Behrmann, J., Michon, L., Pagnier, H., Rozsa, S., Heck, B., Kahle, H.G., Winter, T., Dewez, T., Tesauro, M. (2006): Neotectonics and intraplate continental topography of the northern Alpine Foreland. Earth-Science Reviews, 74, 127-196.

Ustaszewski K., Schmid, S.M. (2006): Control of pre-existing faults on geometry and kinematics in the northernmost part of the Jura fold-and-thrust belt, Tectonics, 25, TC5003, doi:10.1029/2005TC001915.

Picot, L., Becker, D., Lapaire, F., Ustaszewski, K., Hug, W.A., Berger, J.P. (2005): Sédimentologie, paléontologie et reconstruction des paléo-environnements côtiers de la bordure sud-rhénane (Groupe des Gompholites et Conglomérats, Paléogène, Jura, Suisse). Eclog. Geol. Helv., 98, 281-296.

Ustaszewski, K., Schumacher, M.E., Schmid, S.M., Nieuwland, D. (2005): Erratum to ‘‘Fault reactivation in brittle-viscous wrench systems – Dynamically scaled analogue models and application to the Rhine–Bresse transfer zone’’. Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 2303.

Ustaszewski, K., Schumacher, M.E., Schmid, S.M. (2005): Simultaneous normal faulting and extensional flexuring during rifting – an example from the southernmost Upper Rhine Graben. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 94, 680-696.

Ustaszewski, K., Schumacher, M.E., Schmid, S.M., Nieuwland, D. (2005): Fault reactivation in brittle-viscous wrench systems – dynamically scaled analogue models and application to the Rhine-Bresse Transfer Zone. Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 365-382.

Giamboni, M., Ustaszewski, K., Schmid, S.M., Schumacher, M.E., Wetzel, A. (2004) Plio-Pleistocene Transpressional Reactivation of Paleozoic and Paleogene Structures in the Rhine-Bresse transform Zone (northern Switzerland and eastern France). International Journal of Earth Sciences 93, 207–223.

Cloetingh, S., Ziegler, P.A., Cornu, T., Ustaszewski, K., Schmid, S.M., Dèzes, P., Hinsch, R., Decker, K., Lopes Cardozo, G., Granet, M., Bertrand, G., Behrmann, J., Michon, L., Pagnier, H., van Wees, J.-D., Rozsa, S., Heck, B., Verdun, J., Kahle, H.-G., Fracassi, U., Winter, T., Burov, E. (2003): Investigating Environmental Tectonics in Northern Alpine Foreland of Europe. Eos 84(36), 356–357.


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