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.

Career stages

Since 2013: Professorship in Structural Geology in Jena

2012-2013: Research scientist at Institute of Geosciences, Freie Universität Berlin

2009-2012: Research Scientist at Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam

2008-2009: Postdoctoral scientist, Department Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

2004-2007: Postdoctoral scientist, Department of Geosciences, University Basel, Switzerland

2000-2004: PhD student, Department of Geosciences, University Basel, Switzerland

University education

2004: PhD (Dr. phil. II) in geology, University Basel, Switzerland

2000: Mag. rer. nat. in geology, University Innsbruck, Austria

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-KristallingeologieExternal link) of the German Geological Society (DGGV)External link

Since 2017

Certified company first-aider

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 GeosciencesExternal link

Since 2017

Erasmus coordinator for Geosciences in Jena de


Awards and recognitions

2022: Co-author of three recent, highly cited papers, Top 1% in geosciences acc. to Clarivate Web of ScienceExternal link

2006: Recipient of the Otto-Ampferer AwardExternal link of the Austrian Geological Society 


Current research grants

Since 2023:

09/2023 - 08/2024: EVALBGEO: Evaluation of the Albanian geothermal energy potential. DAAD Leonhard-Euler program 2023-2024, DAAD project ID 57685848. Collaboration with Polytechnical University Tirana, Albania.

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 TsukamotoExternal link (LIAG Hannover), sub-project within the 2nd phase of SPP 2017 "Mountain Building in Four Dimensions"External link.

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

Since 2019:

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


Cross section balancing across the Taiwan fold-and-thrust beltExternal link (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-datingExternal link (DFG).

ALMOND - Albania and Montenegro Neotectonic DeformationExternal link (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 MediterraneanExternal link (DFG), in collaboration with Eline Le Breton & Mark R. Handy (FU Berlin).


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



Peer-reviewed publications

Submitted, in review, in revision, pending acceptance or accepted:

Prince, E., Tsukamoto, S., Grützner, C., Vrabec. M. & Ustaszewski, K. (submitted): Not too old to rock: ESR and OSL dating methods reveal Quaternary activity of the Periadriatic Fault. Earth, Planets and Space, preprint: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3221175/v1External link

Published (in inverse chronological order):

Diercks, M.-L., Grützner, C., Welte, J. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Challenges of geomorphologic analysis of active tectonics in a slowly deforming karst landscape (W Slovenia and NE Italy). Geomorphology, 440, 108894, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2023.108894External link

Löwe, G., Prelević, D. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): A first attempt at a provenance study in the Jadar block, Serbia, by means of U-Pb zircon geochronology. Geološki Anali Balkanskogo Poluostrva, 84(1), 17-31, doi: 10.2298/GABP230303005LExternal link.

Balling, P., Tomljenović, B., Herak, M. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Impact of mechanical stratigraphy on deformation style and distribution of seismicity in the central External Dinarides: a 2D forward kinematic modelling study. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 116, doi: 10.1186/s00015-023-00437-0External link.

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 basement high and its southern periphery (central Germany) revealed by combined fission-track and U-Pb LA-ICP-MS dating, ZDGG, doi: 10.1127/zdgg/2023/0321External link.

Zhang, Y., He, D., Ustaszewski, K., Zhao, L., Ji, Z., and Wang, Z. (2023): 台湾中央山脉东部变质作用及热演化:玉里缝合带的俯冲折返作用 [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.2023.020External link.

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.External link

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-13-957-2022External link.

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-12-2211-2021External link.

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: 10.1029/2020TC006565External link.

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.2021.103587External link.

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. External link

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: 10.1029/2021TC006699External link.

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-12-885-2021External link.

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/s41598-021-81561-5External link.

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.2020.104206External link.

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.2020.104192External link.

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.2020.06.28.01External link.

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/geosciences10020084External link.

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.2019.07.005External link.

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/10.1029/2019TC005524External link.

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-10-663-2019External link.

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.2018.09.014External link.

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: 10.1002/2016TC004443External link.

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.External link

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.2016.11.033External link.

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, 285-291External link.

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, 1-26External link.

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, 52-68External link.

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, 31–49External link.

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:10.1029/2010TC002668External link.

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, 106-125External link.

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), 273-294External link.

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, 164-174External link.

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, 139-183External link.

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.External link

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, 293-312External link.

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, 127-196External link.

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:10.1029/2005TC001915External link.

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, 281-296External link.

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, 2303External link.

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, 680-696External link.

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, 365-382External link.

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.External link

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), 356–357External link.

Non-peer-reviewed publications (in inverse chronological order)

Dichtl, M., Grützner, C. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Genese des Schlangengipses im Thüringer Zechstein. Beitr. Geol. Thür., N.F. 28, 47-90External link.

Ebell, H,. Grützner, C. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Genese der Faltung und der Fasergipse des Salinarröts am Ostrand der Thüringer Mulde. Beitr. Geol. Thür., N.F. 28, 91-125External link.

Zinke, C., Navabpour, P., Ustaszewski, K. (2016). Analyse des Bruchflächeninventars in Grundgebirgs- und Rotliegendaufschlüssen am Nordrand des Thüringer Waldes bei Ilmenau (Thüringen) hinsichtlich der Versagenstendenz im rezenten Spannungsfeld. Beitr. Geol. Thüringen, N.F. 22, 137-152External link.

Zinke, C., Ustaszewski, K. (2015): Geologische Neukartierung am Nordrand des Thüringer Waldes bei Ilmenau. Beitr. Geol. Thüringen, N.F. 22, 127-136External link.

Ustaszewski, K., Schmid, S.M. (2007). Neotectonic activity in the Upper Rhine Graben - Jura Mountains junction (North-Western Switzerland and adjacent France). Bulletin für Angewandte Geologie, 12 (1), 3-19External link.

Supplementary datasets (in inverse chronological order)

Zhang, Y. & Ustaszewski, K. (2023): Thermal evolution of the metamorphism in the eastern Taiwan Central Range: implications for Yuli Belt exhumation [Supplementary data set]. Zenodo. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.7545914External link.

Zebari, M., Preusser, F., Grützner, C., Navabpour, P. and Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Luminescence Dating of River Terraces along the banks of the Greater Zab River in the Northwestern Zagros Mountains in Kurdistan Region of Iraq. PANGAEA, https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.933900External link.

Löwe, G., Schneider, S., Sperner, B., Balling, P., Pfänder, J. A., & Ustaszewski, K. (2021): Supplementary material to: "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", doi: dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4678734External link.

Grützner, C., Aschenbrenner, S., Krämer, A., Reicherter, K., Saifelislam, N., Ustaszewski, K., Viscolani, A., Welte, J. (2020). Geophysical survey (GPR, ERT, magnetic) on active faults in Slovenia and Italy. PANGAEA, https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.922902External link.


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