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

Bebout, G. E., 2020. Insights into subduction zone dynamics. Encyclopedia of Geology, 2nd edition, Elsevier..
Epstein, G. S., Bebout, G. E., and Angiboust, S., 2020. Scales of fluid-rock interaction and carbon mobility in the deeply underplated and HP-metamorphosed Schistes Lustres, Western Alps. Lithos.
Hoskins, M., Meltzer, A. Font, Y., Agurto-Detzel, H., Vaca, S., Rolandone, F., Nocquet, J.M., Soto-Cordero, L., Stachnik, J., Beck, S., Lynner, C., Ruiz, M., Alvarado, A., Hernandez, S., Charvis, P., Regnier, M., Leon-Rios, S., Rietbrock, A. , 2020. Triggered Crustal Earthqauke Swarm Across Subduction Segment Boundary After the 2016 Pedernales, Ecuador Megathrust Earthquake. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Koch, C., Lynner, C., Delph, J., Beck, S., Meltzer, A., Soto-Cordero, L., Hoskins, M., Stachnik, J., Ruiz, M., Alvarado, A., Font, Y., Agurto-Detzel, H., Charvis, P., Regnier, M., Rietbrock, A., 2020. Structure of the Ecuadorian Forearc from the Joint Inversion of Receiver Functions and Ambient Noise Surface Waves. Geophys. J. Int..
Lynner, C., Koch, C., Beck, S., Meltzer, A., Soto-Cordero, L., Hoskins, M., Stachnik, J., Ruiz, M., Alvarado, A., Charvis, P., Font, Y., Regnier, M., Agurto-Detzel, H., Rietbrock, A., Porritt, R. , 2020. Upper-plate structure in Ecuador coincident with the subduction of the Carnegie Ridge and the southern extent of large mega-thrust earthquakes. Geophys. J. Int. .
Sirait, A., Meltzer, A., Waldhauser, F., Stachnik, J., Daryono, D., Fatchurochman, I., Jatnika, J., Sembiring, A., 2020. Analysis of the Mw 6.5 December 15, 2017 and the Mw 5.9 January 23, 2018 Java Earthquakes. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. .
Soto‐Cordero, L., Meltzer, A., Bergman, E., Hoskins, M., Stachnik, J. C., Agurto‐ Detzel, H., Alvarado, A., Beck, S., Charvis, P., Font, Y., Hayes, G., Hernandez, S., Leon-Rios, S., Lynner, C., Nocquet, J.M., Regnier, M., Rietbrock, A., Rolandone, F., Rui, 2020. Structural control on megathrust rupture and slip behavior: Insights from the 2016 Mw 7.8 Pedernales Ecuador earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.
Bruno, P. P., Berti, C., and Pazzaglia, F. J., 2019. Accommodation, slip inversion, and fault segmentation in a province-scale shear zone from high-resolution, densely spaced wide-aperture seismic profiling, Centennial Valley, MT, USA. Scientific Reports.
Agurto-Detzel, H., Y. Font, P. Charvis, M. Régnier, A. Rietbrock, D. Ambrois, M. Paulatto, A. Alvarado, S. Beck, M.J. Hernandez, S. Hernandez, M. Hoskins, S. León-Ríos, C. Lynner, A. Meltzer, D. Mercerat, F. Michaud, J.M. Nocquet, F. Rolandone, M. Ruiz, L, 2019. Ridge Subduction and Afterslip Control Aftershock Distribution of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Ecuador Earthquake. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 520, 63–76. .
Burton, W.C., Harrison, R.W., Malenda, H.F., Pazzaglia, F.J., and Crider, E.A., Jr., 2019. Geologic map of the Ferncliff and Louisa quadrangles, Louisa, Fluvanna, and Goochland Counties, Virginia: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3429, 1 sheet, scale 1:24,000. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3429.
House, B. M., Bebout, G. E., and Hilton, D. R., 2019. Carbon cycling at the Sunda margin, Indonesia: A regional study with global implications. Geology.
Kodama, K.P., 2019. Rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy of the Carboniferous Mauch Chunk Formation, Pottsville, PA, United States. Frontiers Earth Sci., 12 November 2019.
Kodama, K.P., Carnes, L.K., Tarduno, J.A. and C. Berti, 2019. Palaeointensity of the 1.3 billion-year-old Gardar basalts, southern Greenland revisited: no evidence for onset of inner core growth. Geophys. J. Int., 217, 1974-1987.
Meltzer, Anne, Josh Stachnik, Demberel Sodnomsambuu, Ulziibat Munkhuu, Baasanbat Tsagaan, Mungunsren Dashdondog, and Raymond Russo, 2019. The Central Mongolia Seismic Experiment: Multiple Applications of Temporary Broadband Seismic Arrays, Seismological Research Letters. Seismological Research Letters, 90 (3): 1364-1376.
Meltzer, Anne, Susan Beck, Mario Ruiz, Mariah Hoskins, Lillian Soto-Cordero, Joshua C. Stachnik, Colton Lynner, Rob Porritt, Daniel Portner, Alexandra Alvarado, Stephen Hernandez, Hugo Yepes, , Philippe Charvis, Yvonne Font, Marc Regnier, Hans Agurto-Detz, 2019. The 2016 Mw 7.8 Pedernales Earthquake, Ecuador: RAPID Response Deployment. Seismological Research Letters, 90 (3): 1346-1354.
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.
Soto-Cordero, L., A. Meltzer, J. C. Stachnik, 2017. Crustal Structure, Intraplate Seismicity, and Seismic Hazard in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Seismological Research Letters, 89 (1): 241-252.
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.
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

Jessica Welkey (Ph.D.), 2019. Intracontinental Deformation and Crustal Structure: Hangay Dome, Central Mongolia.
Advisor: Anne Meltzer
Joshua Gonzales (M.S.), 2019. Using knickpoints as geomorphic markers of crustal deformation in Appalachian Piedmont seismic cluster.
Katrina Gelwick (M.S.), 2019. Decoupled lithostratigraphy, orbitally-driven climate, and tectonics for a middle Pleistocene stratigraphic section.
Leslie Tintle (M.S.), 2019. Geochemical Controls on Volcanic Ash Morphology: Insights from the 2016-2017 Multi-Phase Eruption of Turrialba, Costa Rica .
Advisor: Dork Sahagian
Lillian Soto-Cordero (Ph.D.), 2019. Earthquake and Tectonic Processes in the Mid-Atlantic US Passive Margin and the Ecuador Subduction Zone.
Advisor: Anne Meltzer
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
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
Kaylee Kraft (M.S.), 2018. Fate of Subducting Organic Carbon: Evidence from Western Alps HP/UHP Metasedimentary Suites.
Advisor: Gray Bebout
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