Dr. Dixon was born and raised in Montreal. He earned a BSc (Hons.) in geological sciences at McGill University in Montreal (1970) and MS and PhD degrees (1972, 1974) in structural geology at the University of Connecticut, USA. He was a visiting doctoral student at Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1973. Dr. Dixon joined Queen’s University as an Assistant Professor in 1974 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1979 and Professor in 1986. He has enjoyed sabbatical leaves at Stanford University (California) in 1980-81 and the University of Otago (New Zealand) in 1991-92.
Dr. Dixon served as Head of the Department of Geological Sciences at Queen’s from 1986 to 1993 and was an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts & Science from 1993 to 2000. He served in the university’s senior administration as Associate Vice-Principal (Academic & International) from April 2000 to June 2010, and as Vice-Provost (International) from July 2010 until June 2012. In this latter role he represents the University in matters relating to its international partnerships and initiatives, including establishment of academic and exchange agreements with overseas universities in order to expand the University’s international profile and opportunities for Queen’s students and faculty. He initiated and oversees the operation of Queen’s China Liaison Office, which is located in Shanghai on the campus of Fudan University.
Following the completion of his term as Vice-Provost (International), Dr. Dixon will be returning to the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering where he will be on administrative leave and engaged in research and writing in his field of experimental modeling in structural geology and tectonics.
Dr. Dixon has supervised or co-supervised 27 MSc and PhD theses. Six of his graduate students have won the Best Structural Geology and Tectonics Thesis prize that is awarded annually by the Geological Association of Canada. Thesis projects have involved field-based studies in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Canadian Shield, and modelling studies of the structural evolution of thrust-fold belts (e.g., the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Himalayan foreland of Pakistan), and intrusive processes such as diapirism and laccolith intrusion.
Dr. Dixon’s research involves the study of deformation of rocks in the earth’s crust by the use of scaled physical models that are deformed in a unique 20,000-g centrifuge in the Experimental Tectonics Laboratory. The focus is on the evolution of structures and structural relationships in fold-thrust belts. The modeling technique is used to investigate a range of topics, including the influence of stratigraphic features, such as competent strata and lateral facies changes, and structural heterogeneities, such as basement topography and basement structures and early normal (growth) faults, on the nucleation and propagation of folds and thrusts; the relationships between strike-length and displacement of thrusts; the influence of thrust ramp geometry on hanging-wall folds; and the distribution of strain within displacement-transfer zones.
Dr. Dixon has authored/co-authored about 90 research papers and reports as well as approximately 140 conference presentations.
List/link to publications: in prep.