Patrice is a tectonicist interested in (1) the evolution of the continental lithosphere through tectonic processes, and (2) the evolution of tectonic processes through time. His research activities are therefore problem-driven and process-oriented. They are supported by research strategies involving quantitative multidisciplinary approaches, based on field work, numerical modelling and physical modelling. In the past Patrice has been working on the seismic structure of the continental crust and its relation to mountain building processes. He has produced work on the seismic reflectivity of ductile shear zones in the crust. In Europe he has worked on the evolution of the Variscan belt and its tectonic relationships with the Caledonides. In the last decade he has been investigating the tectonics processes that have shaped the surface of the early Earth in the Archaean era (4.03 to 2.5 Ga).
Recently, Patrice proposed a self-consistent geological model explaining the formation of precious opal in central Australia, and in the process has proposed that central Australia could well be one of best terrestrial analogues for the surface of Mars. He is also the co-director of the Basin Genesis Hub, an ARC-Industry supported initiative to understand the formation of continental margins and sedimentary basins.
Fellow of the Geological Society of America