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tectonicr is a free and open-source R package for modeling and analyzing the direction of the maximum horizontal stress (SHmax) based on the empirical link between the direction of intraplate stress and the direction of the relative motion of neighboring plates. The following methods are available:

  • Theoretical direction of SHmax: The predicted stress field adjacent to a plate boundary is calculated using the relative plate motion of the neighboring plates using the function model_shmax(). The deviation or misfit of the prediction to the observation can be obtained from the function misfit_shmax() and statistically evaluated by applying norm_chisq().
  • Distance to plate boundary: distance_from_pb() gives the distance between the stress data point and the plate boundary measured along the stress trajectories.
  • Visualization of the trajectories of the theoretical stress field in terms of small circles, great circles, and lines of constant bearing. The eulerpole_paths() functions generates an sf object containing spatial information that is suitable to plot with, for instance, ggplot().
  • Relative rotations from a given set of plate motion parameters: equivalent_rotation() transfers a set of plate motion parameters into the relative plate motions among the given plates.
  • Average direction of a set of SHmax data using the (weighted) mean or median for pi-directional data.
  • Spatial interpolation of of SHmax: stress2grid() uses distance, method, and quality-weighted mean direction of stress data


You must have R installed on your system (see To install tectonicr from Github, you also need the remotes package. This can be installed by typing the following code at the R command line prompt:



The most recent development version of tectonicr is available from Github and can be installed on your system as follows:



Tobias Stephan

How to cite

When referencing this package, please cite the package DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7042082.

Useful References

  • Wdowinski, S. (1998). A theory of intraplate tectonics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 103(3), 5037–5059.
  • Heidbach, O., Reinecker, J., Tingay, M., Müller, B., Sperner, B., Fuchs, K., & Wenzel, F. (2007). Plate boundary forces are not enough: Second- and third-order stress patterns highlighted in the World Stress Map database. Tectonics, 26(6), n/a-n/a.
  • Heidbach, O., Rajabi, M., Reiter, K., Ziegler, M., & Team, W. (2016). World Stress Map Database Release 2016. V. 1.1. GFZ Data Services.
  • Zoback, M. Lou, Zoback, M. D., Adams, J., Assumpção, M., Bell, S., Bergman, E. A., Blümling, P., Brereton, N. R., Denham, D., Ding, J., Fuchs, K., Gay, N., Gregersen, S., Gupta, H. K., Gvishiani, A., Jacob, K., Klein, R., Knoll, P., Magee, M., … Zhizhin, M. (1989). Global patterns of tectonic stress. Nature, 341(6240), 291–298.


GPL-3.0 License