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Paul Fitzgerald

Paul Fitzgerald

Paul Fitzgerald

Professor Emeritus: Thermochronology & Tectonics


Earth and Environmental Sciences
207 Heroy Geology Laboratory
Office: 315.443.2619



Social/Academic Links

Courses Taught

  • Dynamic Earth (EAR 101)
  • Earth Sciences (EAR 105)
  • Structural Geology (EAR 333)
  • Plate Tectonics (EAR 431/631)
  • Thermochronology (EAR 444/644)
  • Research seminars on tectonics, thermochronology, (U-Th)/He dating, Active tectonics of New Zealand, Tectonic evolution of Antarctica, Continental extensional tectonics, Active Tectonics
  • Earth sciences, exploration and extreme environments (HNR 100 Honors seminar)
  • First Year Forum (CAS 101)
Research and Teaching Interests

My research interests lie in understanding the tectonic evolution of the crust and the geologic processes that form orogens (mountain belts) and shape landscapes on Earth. In essence, much of my research involves determining when, how and why orogenic belts form. I presently work in a variety of tectonic environments including extensional (West Antarctic rift system/Transantarctic Mountains, Basin and Range Province, Papua New Guinea) and convergent (Pyrenees, central Alaska Range) systems.

The main tool used in my research has been low temperature thermochronology, typically apatite fission track thermochronology, but now also apatite (U-Th)/He dating. These methods are used to determine exhumation histories across orogens or in extensional terranes that allows one to determine the timing, amount and rate of exhumation and to use that information to better understand fundamental geologic processes. These studies are undertaken with the collaboration of colleagues, often other thermochronologists, structural geologists and geophysicists, and of course students.

Rock-Solid Data: Friendship Helps Lead to Discovery of Tectonic History of Subglacial Antarctica

(Jan. 23, 2023)

Paul Fitzgerald and a longtime friend-turned-scientific-collaborator published the study in Nature Communications.

Earth Scientists Awarded Fellowship to Teach, Study in New Zealand

(Jan. 20, 2016)

Suzanne Baldwin, Paul Fitzgerald to lecture, facilitate new study abroad program at University of Canterbury

Current and Past Students

Rosenthal, Jacob (PhD)


Fission track laboratory
Includes a number of research microscopes, including an automated stage system for fission track analyses, digital camera systems, picking microscope, Macintosh computers, PC's and a ARC-GIS dedicated PC. Grinding and polishing equipment.

Syracuse University Noble Gas Isotopic Research Laboratory

Mineral separation lab with LB-1 Frantz magnetic separator, heavy liquids, fume hoods etc.

Selected Publications

Ana C. Lossada, Julieta Suriano, Laura Giambiagi, Paul G. Fitzgerald, Greg Hoke, José Mescua, Ana Tedesco, Guadalupe Arzadún, Sofía Bordese, (2020), Cenozoic exhumation history at the core of the Andes at 31.5°S revealed by apatite fission track thermochronology, Journal of South American Earth Sciences, Volume 103,

Joseph P. Gonzalez, Suzanne L. Baldwin, Jay B. Thomas, William O. Nachlas, Paul G. Fitzgerald, (2020) Evidence for ultrahigh-pressure metamorphism discovered in the Appalachian orogen. Geology doi:

Lossada, A., L. Giambiagi, G. Hoke, P.G. Fitzgerald, J. Mescua, J. Suriano, A. Aguilar, 2020. Detrital thermochronology reveals major middle Miocene exhumation of the eastern flank of the Andes predates the Pampean flat-slab (33º-33.5ºS) Tectonics.

Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2020. The geologic interpretation of the detrital thermochronology record within a stratigraphic framework, with examples from the European Alps, Taiwan and the Himalayas. Earth Science Reviews v. 201, 103074.

Trop, J., J.A. Benowitz, D. Koepp, D. Sunderlin, M. Brueseke, P. Layer, and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2020, Stitch in the Ditch: Nutzotin Mountains (Alaska) fluvial strata and a dike record ~117-114 Ma suturing of the Wrangellia terrane with western North America and initiation of the Totschunda Fault. Geosphere, v. 16, 82–110,

Baldwin S.L., Fitzgerald P.G., Malusà M.G. (2019) Crustal Exhumation of Plutonic and Metamorphic Rocks: Constraints from Fission-Track Thermochronology. In: Malusà M., Fitzgerald P. (eds) Fission-Track Thermochronology and its Application to Geology. Springer Textbooks in Earth Sciences, Geography and Environment. Springer,

Shorten C.M. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2019. Postorogenic thermal history and exhumation of the northern Appalachian Basin: Lowtemperature thermochronologic constraints. Basin Research, 00:1–23.

Gillis, R.J., Fitzgerald, P.G., Ridgway, K.D., Keough, B.M., Benowitz, J.A., and Allen, W.K., 2019, Overview of the new 1:25,000-scale geologic mapping of the McCallum-Slate Creek fault system, Eastern Alaska Range, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Preliminary Interpretive Report 2018-3, 10 p.

Fitzgerald, P.G., M.G. Malusà and J.A. Munoz, 2019. Detrital thermochronology using conglomerates and cobbles. Chapter 17 in Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald (eds.), Fission track thermochronology and its application to geology, p. 295-314, Springer,

Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2019. Application of thermochronology to geologic problems: Approaches and conceptual models. Chapter 10 in Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald (eds.), Fission track thermochronology and its application to geology, p. 191-209, Springer,

Fitzgerald, P.G. and M.G. Malusà, 2019. Concept of the exhumed partial annealing (retention) zone and age-elevation profiles in thermochronology. Chapter 9 in Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald (eds.), Fission track thermochronology and its application to geology, p. 165-189, Springer,

Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald 2019. From cooling to exhumation: setting the reference frame for the interpretation of thermochronologic data. Chapter 8, in Malusà, M.G. and P.G. Fitzgerald (eds.), Fission track thermochronology and its application to geology, p. 147-164, Springer,

Lossada, A., L. Giambiagi, G. Hoke, P.G. Fitzgerald, C. Creixell, I. Murillo, D. Mardonez, R. Velásquez and J. Suriano, 2017. The late Eocene constructional phase in the Andes at 30°S: evidence from thermochronology, Tectonics, 36.

Lossada, A. C., Giambiagi, L., Hoke, G. D., Fitzgerald, P. G., Creixell, C., Murillo, I., Diego Mardonez, Ricardo Velásquez Suriano, J. (2017). Thermochronologic evidence for late Eocene Andean mountain building at 30°S. Tectonics, 36, 2693– 2713.

Craddock, J.P., P.G. Fitzgerald, A. Konstantinou, A. Nereson and R.J. Thomas, 2016, Detrital Zircon Provenance of Upper Cambrian-Permian Strata and Tectonic Evolution of the Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica, Gondwana Research, doi:10.1016/

Selected papers from earlier years

Malusà, M.G., C. Faccenna, S.L. Baldwin, P.G. Fitzgerald, F. Rossetti, M.L. Balestrieri, M. Danišík, A. Ellero, G. Ottria, and C. Piromallo, in press 2015, Contrasting styles of (U) HP rock exhumation along the Cenozoic Adria‐Europe plate boundary (Western Alps, Calabria, Corsica), Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

*Riccio, S.J., P.G. Fitzgerald, J.A. Benowitz, and S.M. Roeske, 2014. The role of thrust faulting in the formation of the eastern Alaska Range: Thermochronological constraints from the Susitna Glacier Thrust Fault region of the intracontinental strike‐slip Denali Fault system Tectonics, 33 (11),2195-2217.

Fitzgerald, P.G., S.M. Roeske, J. A. Benowitz, S. J. *Riccio, S. E. *Perry, and P. A. Armstrong, 2014. Alternating asymmetric topography of the Alaska Range along the strike-slip Denali Fault: Strain partitioning and lithospheric control across a terrane suture zone, Tectonics, 33, doi:10.1002/2013TC003432.

Webb, L.E., S.L. Baldwin and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2014. The Early‐Middle Miocene subduction complex of the Louisiade Archipelago, southern margin of the Woodlark Rift, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, doi:10.1002/2014GC005500.

Hoke, G.D., N.R. *Graber, J.F. Mescua, L.B. Giambiagi, P.G. Fitzgerald, and J.R. Metcalf, 2013.Near pure surface uplift of the Argentine Frontal Cordillera: insights from (U–Th)/He thermochronometry and geomorphic analysis, edited by Sepulveda, S. A., L. B. Giambiagi, S. M. Moreiras, L. Pinto, M. Tunik, G. D. Hoke, and M. Farıas. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 399,SP399.4

Brown, R., R. Beucher, S. Roper, C. Persano, F. Stuart, and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2013. Natural age dispersion arising from the analysis of broken crystals. Part I: Theoretical basis and implications for the apatite (U–Th)/He thermochronometer, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 122,478-497.

Baldwin, S.L., P.G. Fitzgerald and L.E. Webb, 2012. Tectonics of the New Guinea region. Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 40; 495-520.

Miller, S.R., S.L. Baldwin and P.G. Fitzgerald, P.G. 2011. Transient Fluvial Incision and Surface Uplift of Active Metamorphic Core Complexes in the D’Entrecasteaux Islands and Suckling-Dayman Massif, Papua New Guinea, Lithosphere, doi:10.1130/L135.1.

Little, T.A., B.R. Hacker, S.M. Gordon, S.L. Baldwin, P.G. Fitzgerald; S.E. Ellis and M. Korchinski, 2011. Diapiric Exhumation of Earth’s youngest (UHP) eclogites in the gneiss domes of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tectonophysics, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2011.06.006

Benowitz, J.A., P.W. Layer, P.A. Armstrong, S.E. Perry, P.J. Haeussler, P.G. Fitzgerald and S. Vanlaningham, 2011, Spatial Variations in Focused Exhumation Along a Continental-Scale Strike-Slip Fault: the Denali Fault of the Eastern Alaska Range, Geosphere. v. 7; no. 2; p. 455–467; doi: 10.1130/GES00589.1.

Beamud, E., J.A. Munoz, P.G. Fitzgerald, S.L. Baldwin, M. Garcés, L. Cabrera and J.R. Metcalf, 2010. Magnetostratigraphy and detrital apatite fission track thermochronology in syntectonic conglomerates: constraints on the exhumation of the South-Central Pyrenees. Basin Research. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2117.2010.00492.x

Taylor, J.A. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2010, Post-Jurassic thermal history and exhumation of the Eastern Adirondack Mountains associated with movement over the Great Meteor Hotspot: Constraints from low-temperature thermochronology. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 123, p. 412-426, doi: 10.1130/B30138.1.

Swaney, Z.A., Duebendorfer, E.M., Fitzgerald, P.G., and W.C. McIntosh, 2010. New core complex model for the South Virgin-White Hills detachment and extension in the eastern Lake Mead Area, southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. In Umhoefer, P.J., L.S. Beard and M.A. Lambs, eds., Miocene tectonics of the Lake Mead region, central Basin and Range. Geological Society of America Special Paper 463, p. 353-370, doi: 10.1130/2010.2463(16).

Miller, S.R., Fitzgerald, P.G., and Baldwin, S.L., 2010. Cenozoic range-front faulting and development of the Transantarctic Mountains near Cape Surprise, Antarctica: Thermochronologic and geomorphic constraints. Tectonics, 29, TC1003, doi:10.1029/2009TC002457.

Metcalf, J.R., Fitzgerald, P.G., Baldwin, S. and J.A. Muñoz, 2009, Thermochronology in a convergent orogen: Constraints on thrust faulting and exhumation from the Maladeta Pluton in the Axial Zone of the Central Pyrenees. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 287, 488-503.

Fitzgerald, P. G., E. M. Duebendorfer, J. E Faulds, and P. O'Sullivan, 2009, South Virgin–White Hills detachment fault system of SE Nevada and NW Arizona: Applying apatite fission track thermochronology to constrain the tectonic evolution of a major continental detachment fault, Tectonics, 28, TC2001, doi:10.1029/2007TC002194.

Webb, L.E., S.L. Baldwin, T.A. Little and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2008. A microplate rotation model for subduction eversion. Geology. 36(10), p. 823–826; doi: 10.1130/G25134A.1.

Redfield, T.F., D.W. Scholl, P.G. Fitzgerald and M.E. Beck, 2007. The extrusion of Alaska, past, present and future. Geology 35(11), 1039-1042; doi: 10.1130/G23799A.1.

Fitzgerald, P.G. and S.L. Baldwin, 2007. Thermochronologic constraints on Jurassic rift flank denudation in the Thiel Mountains, Antarctica, in Antarctica: A keystone in a Changing World - Online Proceedings of the 10th ISAES, edited by A. K. Cooper and C. R. Raymond et al., USGS Open-File Report 2007-1047, Short Research Paper 044, 4 p.; doi10.3133/of2007-1047.srp044.

Bialas, R.W., W.R. Buck, M. Studinger and P.G. Fitzgerald,, 2007. Plateau Collapse Model for the Transantarctic Mountains / West Antarctic Rift System: Insights from Numerical Experiments. Geology 35(8), 687-690; doi: 10.1130/G23825A.

Monteleone, B.D., S.L. Baldwin, L.E. Webb, P.G. Fitzgerald, M. Grove and A.K. Schmitt, 2007. Late Miocene-Pliocene eclogite-facies metamorphism, D'Entrecastreaux Islands, SE Papua New Guinea. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 25, 245-265.

Little, T.A., S.L. Baldwin, P.G. Fitzgerald and B. Monteleone, 2007. A young metamorphic core complex on Normanby Island, D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea: Continental rifting processes near the Woodlark spreading ridge. Tectonics, 26, TC1002, doi: 10.1029/2005TC001911.