solid earth

solid-earth research

geology, geophysics, and geochemistry

solid earth scene

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.

Faculty & staff


Recent publications by group members

• 2016

Bebout, G. E. and Penniston-Dorland, S. C., 2016. Fluid and mass transfer at subduction interfaces—The field metamorphic record (Invited Review Article), Lithos, DOI: 10.1016/j.lithos.2015.10.007.

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., 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.

• 2015

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.

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, doi:10.1126/science.aaa9380.

• 2014

Berti, C., Pazzaglia, F. J., Meltzer, A.S., and Harrison, R.J., 2014. Geomorphic evidence for persistent, cumulative deformation of the Virginia Piedmont in the vicinity of the 23 August, 2011 Mineral earthquake: Geological Society of America Special Paper, 509, doi:10.1130/2015.2509(21).

McKeon, R.E., Zeitler, P.K., Pazzaglia, F.J., Idleman, B.D., and Enkelmann, E., 2014. Decay of an old orogen: Inferences about Appalachian landscape evolution from low-temperature thermochronology. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 126, 31-46 , first published on November 6, 2013, doi:10.1130/B30808.1.

Zeitler, P.K. 2014. U-Th:He Dating. In Rink, W.J. and Thompson, J. eds., Encyclopedia of Dating Methods, Springer, 1-14. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_131-1.

Zeitler, P.K., Meltzer, A.S., Brown, L., Kidd, W.S.F., Lim, C., and Enkelmann, E., 2014. Tectonics and topographic evolution of Namche Barwa and the easternmost Lhasa Block, in Nie, J., Hoke, G.D., and Horton, B., eds., Towards an improved understanding of uplift mechanisms and the elevation history of the Tibetan Plateau. Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 507, doi: 10.1130/2014.2507(02).

• 2013

Bebout, G. E., 2013. 4.20. Chemical and isotopic cycling in subduction zones. Invited chapter in Rudnick, R. L., ed., 2nd Ed. Volume 3, Treatise on Geochemistry: The Crust, Elsevier, pp. 703-747.

Koons, P.O., Zeitler, P.K., Hallet, B., 2013. 5.14 Tectonic aneurysms and mountain building. In: Shroder, J. (Editor in Chief), Treatise on Geomorphology. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, vol. 5, pp. 318-349, doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-374739-6.00094-4.

MacFadden, B.J., Zeitler, P.K., Anaya, F., and Cottle, J.M., 2013. Middle Pleistocene age of the fossiliferous sedimentary sequence from Tarija, Bolivia. Quaternary Research, 79, 268-273, doi: 10.1016/j.yqres.2012.12.009.

• 2012

Ferraris, F., Firpo, M., and Pazzaglia, F. J., 2012, DEM analyses and morphotectonic interpretation: the Plio-Quaternary evolution of the eastern Ligurian Alps, Italy: Geomorphology, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.01.009.

Genareau, K., G., Mulukutla, A. Proussevitch and D. Sahagian, 2012. Sizing up the bubbles that result in very fine ash production during explosive volcanic eruptions, Geophys. Res. Lett,. 39, DOI: 10.1029/2012GL052471.

Gunderson, K. L.,Anastasio, D. J., Kodama, K. P., and Pazzaglia, F. J., 2012, Rock-magnetic cyclostratigraphy for the late Pleistocene Stirone section, northern Apennine mountain front, Italy in Jovane, L., Housen, B., Herrero-Berrera, E., and Hinnov, L., eds., Temporal variation of geological processes revealed by magnetic methods: Geological Society of London, doi: 10.1144/SP373.8.

Kodama, K.P., 2012. Paleomagnetism of Sedimentary Rocks: Process and Interpretation, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 157 pp.

Wolin, E., Stein, S., Pazzaglia, F. J., Meltzer, A.S., Kafka, A., and Berti, C., 2012. Mineral, Virginia earthquake illustrates seismicity of a passive-aggressive margin, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L02305, doi:10.1029/2011GL050310.

Recent solid-Earth theses

Carrigan, J. (M.S.) 2016. Fault-related fold kinematics using terrestrial syntectonic strata, Sant Llorenc de Mournys, Pyrenees Mountains, NE Spain. (advisor: Anastasio)

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: Kodama)

Janelle Thumma (M.S.) 2016 Assessing the timing of intercontinental uplift of the Gobi Altai, Mongolia using low-temperature themochronology. (advisor: Zeitler)

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. (advisor: Pazzaglia).

Daniel Minguez (Ph.D.). 2015. Chronostratigraphic applications of paleomagnetism and rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy: Case studies from the Ediacaran and Devonian Periods. (advisor: Kodama).

Stephanie Souza (M.S.). 2015. Upper mantle structure beneath the Hangay Dome, central Mongolia and implications for high topography and magmatism. (advisor: Meltzer).

Johanna Blake (Ph.D.). 2014. Geologic, tectonic, and geochemical signatures leading to arsenic in groundwater in the Gettysburg Basin. (advisor: Peters).

Jennie Cook-Kollars (M.S.). 2013. Carbon retention in deeply subducted sedimentary rocks: Evidence from HP/UHP metamorphic suites in the Italian Alps. (advisor: Bebout).

Kellen Gunderson (Ph.D.). 2013. Spatial and temporal variability of deformation in the Northern Apennines, Italy. (advisor: Anastasio).

Ryan McKeon (Ph.D.). 2012. Apatite U-Th/He thermochronometry in slowly eroding landscapes: Addressing age dispersion to understand Appalachian topographic development. (advisors: Pazzaglia, Zeitler).

Allison Teletzke (M.S.). 2012. Unsteady deformation of the Spanish Pyrenean mountain front. (advisor: Anastasio).

Kristen Lazzeri (M.S.). 2012. Storage of nitrogen in silicate minerals and glasses. (advisor: Bebout).

Tsering Dhundup (M.S.). 2012. Morpho-tectonic analysis of the Tsona-Chusum Rift, Tibet. (advisor: Meltzer).

Zachary Spahn (M.S.). 2011. Resolving the Latemar Controversy: A new magnetostratigraphy at the Latemar correlated section of Rio Sacuz. (advisor: Kodama).

Lauren Anderson (M.S.) 2010. Late Archean Subaqueous Volcanic Eruption, Hydrothermal Alteration, and Microbial Colonization: Evidence from the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. (advisor: Bebout).

Dario Bilardello (Ph.D.) 2009. A new technique for measuring the magnetic fabric of hematite-bearing sedimentary rocks, hf-AIR: Inclination correction case studies from carboniferous red beds from the maritime provinces of Canada. (advisor: Kodama).

Annie Palya (M.S.) 2009. Storage and mobility of organic nitrogen and carbon in the continental crust: evidence from partially melted metasedimentary rocks, Mt. Stafford, Australia. (advisor: Bebout).

Joanna Troy (M.S.) 2008. Synsedimentary tectonic strain and fold kinematics recorded by AMS in Pyrenean Flysch. (advisor: Anastasio).

Karl Wegmann (Ph.D) 2008. Tectonic geomorphology above Mediterranean subduction zones: northeastern Apennines of Italy and Crete, Greece. (advisor: Pazzaglia).

Brian Zurek (Ph.D.) 2008. The evolution and modification of continental lithosphere dynamics of the 'Indentor Corners' and imaging the llithosphere across the eastern syntaxis of Tibet. (advisor: Meltzer).

Christina Majerowicz (M.S.) 2007. Quaternary rupture history of the Lima Reservoir fault, SW Montana. (advisor: Anastasio).

Luke Wilson (M.S.) 2007. A fluvial record of active fault-propagation folding, Salsomaggiore anticline, northern Apennines, Italy. (advisor: Anastasio).

solid earth scene
ees page-end glyph


Current Students

  • James Carrigan, Ph.D., sedimentation and tectonics (advisor: Anastasio)
  • Mariah Chambers, Ph.D., seismology (advisor: Meltzer)
  • Megan Clark, M.S. volcanology (advisor: Sahagian)
  • Zhongxiong Cui, Ph.D., seismology (advisor: Meltzer)
  • Gabe Epstein, Ph.D., stable-isotope geochemistry (advisor: Bebout)
  • Katie Jaeckel, M.S., stable-isotope geochemistry (advisor: Bebout)
  • Darwin Janes, M.S., thermochronology (advisor: Zeitler)
  • Kalin McDanell, Ph.D., thermochronology, geodynamics of cratons (advisor: Zeitler)
  • Matt McGavick, M.S., landscape evolution (advisor: Pazzaglia)
  • Jennifer Schmidt, Ph.D., tectonics, thermochronology, landscape evolution (advisor: Zeitler)
  • Adrienne Scott, M.S., structural geology (advisor: Anastasio)
  • Anne Sirait, Ph.D., seismology (advisor: Meltzer)
  • Lillian Soto-Cordero, Ph.D., seismology (advisor: Meltzer)
  • Candace Wygel, M.S. geochemical signatures of volcanic-ash dissolution (advisor: Sahagian)

We Work With...

rotating sidebar image