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Research

The Thermochronology and Tectonics Research Group is involved in a variety of projects on planet Earth and beyond.


Evolution of the Woodlark Rift, Papua New Guinea

This project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation Continental Dynamics Program, seeks to understand how the Woodlark-Australia plate boundary has rapidly transitioned from subduction to rifting to seafloor spreading in eastern Papua New Guinea.


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topical map pf Paupa

Eastern Papua New Guinea Region


Orogenesis in the Pyrenees

This project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation Tectonics Program, constrains the across strike and along strike variation in the denudation history of the Pyrenean orogen.


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Pyrenees landscape

Spanish side of the Pyrenees mountains


Evolution of the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica

Thermochronologic research in Antarctica seeks to understand the formation of the Transantarctic Mountains, and West Antarctic rift system, including the collapse of the West Antarctic plateau.


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Antarctica landscape with small engine plane

Fieldwork in the Transantarctic mountains


New York Center for Astrobiology

The New York Center for Astrobiology is devoted to investigating the origins of life on Earth and the conditions that lead to formation of habitable planets in our own and other solar systems. Supported by NASA, the Center is a member of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute (NAI), and is a partnership between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany, Syracuse University, the University of Arizona, and the University of North Dakota.


Researchers and students within the Center seek to understand the chemical, physical, and geological conditions of early Earth that set the stage for life on our planet. They also look beyond our home planet to investigate whether the processes that prepared the Earth for life could be replicated elsewhere — on Mars and other bodies in our solar system, for example, and on planets orbiting other stars.


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Tectonic Evolution of the Basin and Range Province

We are applying thermochronology to determine the tectonic evolution of metamorphic core complexes and to assess the role of magmatism in the exhumation history of this extensional province.


Landscape image


Tectonic Evolution of the Aegean Metamorphic Core Complexes

Research in the Aegean utilizes methods to extract P-T-t-deformation from mineral assemblages to reveal 1) the tectonic evolution of exhumed blueschists and eclogites, and 2) to assess the role of magmatism in the evolution of the Aegean metamorphic core complexes.


Aegean rock outcrop
Blueschists and eclogites, Syros Island


Plate boundary processes in the southwest Pacific

Ongoing research in the SW Pacific focuses on understanding how the Pacific- Australia plate boundary has evolved over geologic time. Field areas include the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the HP terrane of New Caledonia, as well as, active metamorphic core complexes in the Woodlark Rift of Papua New Guinea (see link above).


South West Pacific topical map
SW Pacific


How did the Adirondack Mountains form?

Closer to home, our research interests in the Adirondack Mountains of New York aim to understand when and how these mountains formed, and why they still form regions of high topography.


Rock formation
Garnet amphibolite from Gore Mountain


Orogenesis in Alaska

This project seeks to understand the exhumation history and formation of the central and eastern Alaska Range along the Denali Fault system.


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Alaska landscape
View of Denali from the eastern Alaska Range