Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry

What We Do

Those of us in Lehigh University's solid-Earth group work to understand the evolution and dynamics of our planet. Using a blend of field and laboratory-based studies, we aim to understand geological processes operating in the lithosphere and on the earth's surface. We are especially interested in coupled systems linking deep earth and surface processes.  Using approaches in seismology, paleomagnetism, geochemistry, structural geology, geomorphology, and geochronology, our research takes us to field sites across North America and the world.

Our current research includes studies of mountain building and crustal evolution, epeirogenesis and intraplate processes, faulting and deformation, landscape evolution, and mass flux and geochemical cycling in convergent margin systems. To learn more, visit the faculty/staff and collaborative web pages listed on this page.

If you're interested in graduate work at Lehigh, start here for links to the research we do, and then learn more about our graduate curriculum and our admissions procedures. More than anything, we encourage you to contact the person or persons you're interested in working with.

Recent Solid Earth Publications

Ancuta, L.D., Zeitler, P.K., Idleman, B.D., and Jordan, B.T., 2018. Whole-rock 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, geochemistry, and stratigraphy of intraplate Cenozoic volcanic rocks, central Mongolia.. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 130, 1397-1408.
Bebout, G. E., Scholl, D. W., Stern, R. J., Wallace, L. M., Agard, P., 2018. Twenty years of subduction zone science: Subduction Top to Bottom 2 (ST2B-2). GSA Today, v. 28.
Gunderson, K. L., Anastasio, D. J., Pazzaglia, F. J., and Kodama, K. P., 2018. Intrinsically variable blind thrust faulting. Tectonics, 37, 1454-1471..
Idleman, B.D., Zeitler, P.K., and McDannell, K.T., 2018. Characterization of helium release from apatite by continuous ramped heating. Chemical Geology, 476, 223-232.
McDannell, K.T., Zeitler, P.K., and Idleman, B.D., 2018. Relict topography within the Hangay Mountains in central Mongolia: Quantifying long-term exhumation and relief change in an old landscape.. Tectonics 37, 1-28, DOI:
McDannell, K.T., Zeitler, P.K., and Idleman, B.D., 2018. Relict topography within the Hangay Mountains in central Mongolia: Quantifying long-term exhumation and relief change in an old landscape.. Tectonics 37, 1-28..
McDannell, K.T., Zeitler, P.K., and Scheider, D.A., 2018. Instability of the southern Canadian Shield during the late Proterozoic.. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 490, 100-109.
McDannell, K.T., Zeitler, P.K., Janes, D.G., Idleman, B.D., and Fayon, A.K., 2018. Screening apatites for (U-Th)/He thermochronometry via continuous ramped heating: He age components and implications for age dispersion. . Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 223, 90-106.
Parés, J.M., Anastasio, D. , 2018. The extent of penetrative strain in the Ebro Foreland Basin: Magnetic fabric data from the eastern sector. Geologia Acta Hispañica, in press..
Gong, Z., K.P.Kodama, and Y.-X. Li, 2017. Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy of the Doushantuo Formation, South China and its implications for the duration of the Shuram carbon isotope excursion. Precambrian Research, 289, 62-74.
Minguez, D. and K.P. Kodama, 2017. Rock magnetic chronostratigraphy of the Shuram carbon isotope excursion: Wonoka Formation, Australia. Geology, 45, 567-570.
Moodie, A. J., Pazzaglia, F. J., and Berti, C., 2017. Exogenic forcing and autogenic processes on continental divide location and mobility. Basin Research, 30, 344-369.
Zeitler, P.K., Enkelmann, E., Thomas, J., Watson, B., and Ancuta, L.D., 2017. Solubility and trapping of helium in apatite.. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 209, 1-8.
Carrigan, J.H., Anastasio, D.J., Kodama, K.P., 2016. Fault-related fold kinematics recorded by terrestrial growth strata, Sant Llorenç de Morunys, Pyrenees Mountains, NE Spain.. Journal of Structural Geology, 91, 161-176..
Pavano, F., Pazzaglia, F.J., and Catalano, S., 2016. Knickpoints as geomorphic markers of active tectonics: a case study from northeastern Sicily (southern Italy). Lithosphere, 8, 633-648..
Sahagian, D., A. Proussevitch, L. Ancuta, B. Idleman, and P. Zeitler, 2016. Uplift of Central Mongolia Recorded in Vesicular Basalts. J. Geol., 124, 435-445.
Sahagian, D., Proussevitch, A., Ancuta, L.D., Idleman, B.D., and Zeitler, P.K., 2016. Uplift of central Mongolia recorded in vesicular basalts.. Journal of Geology, 124, 435-445, DOI: 10.1086/686272..
Sembroni, A., Molin, P., Pazzaglia, F.J., Faccenna, C., and Abebe, B., 2016. Evolution of continental-scale drainage in response to mantle dynamics and surface processes: An example from the Ethiopian Highlands. Geomorphology, 261, 12-29..
Bebout, G. E. and Penniston-Dorland, S. C., 2015. Fluid and mass transfer at subduction interfaces—The field metamorphic record (Invited Review Article). Lithos, DOI: 10.1016/j.lithos.2015.10.007..
Berti, C., Pazzaglia, F.J., Meltzer, A.S., 2015. Geomorphic evidence for persistent, cumulative deformation of the Virginia Piedmont in the vicinity of the 23 August 2011 Mineral earthquake, in Horton, J.W., Jr., Chapman, M.C., and Green, R.A., eds.. The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, and Its Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America: Geological Society of America Special Paper 509.
Gallen, S.F., Pazzaglia, F.J., Wegmann, K.W., Pederson J.L., and Gardner, T.W., 2015. The dynamic reference frame of rivers and apparent transience in incision rates. Geology, doi: 10.1130/G36692.1..
Kodama, K.P. and L.A. Hinnov, 2015. Rock Magnetic Cyclostratigraphy. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 165 pp..
Pazzaglia, F.J., Carter, M., Berti, C., Counts, R., Hancock, G., Harbor, D., Harrison, R., Heller, M., Mahan, S., Malenda, H., Mckeon, R., Nelson, M., Prince, P., Rittenour, T., Spotila, J., and Whittecar, R., 2015. Geomorphology, active tectonics, and landscape evolution in the mid-Atlantic region, in Brezinski, D. K., Halka, J. P., and Ortt, R. A., Jr., eds., Tripping from the Fall Line: Field Excursions for the GSA Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 2015. Geological Society of America Field Guide 40, p. 109-169, doi:10.1130/2015.0040(06)..
Schmidt, J.L., Zeitler, P.K., Pazzaglia, F.J., Tremblay, M.M., Shuster, D.L., and Fox, M., 2015. Knickpoint evolution on the Yarlung River: Evidence for late Cenozoic uplift of the southeastern Tibetan plateau margin. . Earth and Planetary Science Letters,
Tremblay, M.M., Fox, M. Schnidt, J.L., Tripathy-Lang, A., Wielicki, M.M., Harrison, T.M., Zeitler, P.K., and Shuster, D.L., 2015. Erosion in southern Tibet shut down a ~10 Ma due to enhanced rock uplift within the Himalaya. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(39), 12030-12035, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1515652112.
Zeitler, P.K., Koons, P.O., Hallet, B., and Meltzer, A.S., 2015. Comment on “Tectonic control of Yarlung Tsangpo Gorge revealed by a buried canyon in Southern Tibet.” . Science, 349(6250):799.

Graduate Theses

Adrienne Scott (M.S.), 2018. “Illuminating the Crustal Structure of Khövsgöl, Mongolia Using Passive Source Seismicity”.
Advisor: Anne Meltzer
Candace Wygel (M.S.), 2018. Bubbles and Dust: Volcanic Ash Dissolution Rates of Nutrients and Contaminants as a Function of Surface Area and Composition.
Advisor: Dork Sahagian
Jennifer Schmidt (Ph.D.), 2018. “Revealing a Cenozoic History of Landscape Change and Differential Unroofing in the Southeastern Lhasa Block: Applications of Thermochronometry Along the Tibetan Plateau Margin”.
Advisor: Peter Zeitler
Kalin McDannell (Ph.D.), 2017. “Methods and applications of deep-time thermochronology: Insights from slowly-cooled terranes of Mongolia and the North American craton”.
Advisor: Peter Zeitler
Darwin Janes (M.S.), 2017. “Characterizing defects and dislocations in apatite using scanning electron microscopy: implications for U-Th-Sm/He dating”.
Advisor: Peter Zeitler
Kathleen Jaeckel (M.S.), 2017. “Deformation-Enhanced Fluid and Mass Transfer Along Western Alps Paleo-Subduction Interfaces: Significance for Carbon Cycling Models”.
Advisor: Gray Bebout
Leonard Ancuta (Ph.D.), 2017. Toward an Improved Understanding of Intraplate Uplift and Volcanism: Geochronology and Geochemistry of Intraplate Volcanic Rocks and Lower-Crustal Xenoliths .
Advisor: Peter Zeitler
Matthew McGavick (M.S.), 2017. “Extrinsic vs. intrinsic terrace formation processes and tectonically driven river incision along the South Anna River, Virginia.”.
Megan Clark (M.S.), 2017. “Morphological and Geochemical Characteristics of Volcanic Ash: Insights into Eruption Energetics”.
Advisor: Dork Sahagian
Carrigan, J. (M.S), 2016. Fault-related fold kinematics using terrestrial syntectonic strata, Sant Llorenc de Mournys, Pyrenees Mountains, NE Spain..
Janelle Thumma (M.S.), 2016. Assessing the timing of intercontinental uplift of the Gobi Altai, Mongolia using low-temperature themochronology..
Advisor: Peter Zeitler
Zheng Gong (M.S.), 2016. Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy of the Doushantuo Formation, South China and its implications for the duration of the Shuram-Wonoka excursion..
Advisor: Ken Kodama
Daniel Minguez (Ph.D.)., 2015. Chronostratigraphic applications of paleomagnetism and rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy: Case studies from the Ediacaran and Devonian Periods.
Advisor: Ken Kodama
Helen Malenda (M.S.)., 2015. New Quaternary geochronometric constraints on river incision in the Virginia Piedmont: Relative contributions of climate, base-level fall, knickpoint retreat, and active tectonics..
Stephanie Souza (M.S.), 2015. Upper mantle structure beneath the Hangay Dome, central Mongolia and implications for high topography and magmatism..
Advisor: Anne Meltzer