Paul Fitzgerald

Professor, Earth Sciences and Associate Dean


1988    Ph.D., Geology, University of Melbourne, Australia.
1983    B. Sc. (Hons., First Class) Geology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

1982    Transitional Certificate in Geology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

1981    B.Sc., Zoology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

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.


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)


Shorten, Chilisa  (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
Helium extraction line for (U-Th)/He Thermochronology

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

Selected Publications

Publications last 5 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.

Selected papers from earlier years

Baldwin, S.L., T. Rawling and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2006. Thermochronology of the New Caledonia high pressure terrane: Implications of mid-Tertiary plate boundary in processes in the southwest Pacific, in Convergent Margin Terranes and Associated Regions: A Tribute to W.G. Ernst, Geological of America Special Paper 419, Editors M. Cloos, W. D. Carlson, M. C. Gilbert, J. G. Liou, and S. S. Sorensen, p. 117-134.

Studinger, M., R.E. Bell, P.G. Fitzgerald and W.R. Buck, 2006. Crustal architecture of the Transantarctic Mountains between the Scott and Reedy Glacier region and South Pole from aerogeophysical data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 250, 182-199, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.07.035.

Fitzgerald, P.G., S.L. Baldwin, L.E. Webb and P.B. O'Sullivan, 2006. Interpretation of (U-Th)/He single grain ages from slowly cooled crustal terranes: A case study from the Transantarctic Mountains of southern Victoria Land. Chemical Geology, 225, 91-120.

Gallagher, K., J. Stephenson, R, Brown, C. Holmes and P.G. Fitzgerald, 2005. Low temperature thermochronology and modeling strategies for multiple samples 1: Vertical profiles. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 237, p. 193-208.

Baldwin, S.L. B. Monteleone, L.E. Webb, P.G. Fitzgerald, M. Grove and E.J. Hill, 2004. Pliocene eclogite exhumation at plate tectonic rates in eastern Papua New Guinea, Nature. 431, 263-267.

Batt, G.E., S.L. Baldwin, Cottam, P.G. Fitzgerald and M. Brandon, 2004. Cenozoic plate boundary evolution in the South Island of New Zealand: New thermochronological constraints, Tectonics, 23(4), TC4001, 10.1029/2003TC001527.

Siddoway, C.S., S.L. Baldwin, P.G. Fitzgerald, C.M. Fanning and B.P. Luyendyk, 2004. Ross Sea mylonites and the timing of intracontinental extension within the West Antarctic rift system: Geology, 32(1), 57-60.

Fitzgerald, P.G., 2002. Tectonics and landscape evolution of the Antarctic plate since Gondwana breakup, with an emphasis on the West Antarctic rift system and the Transantarctic Mountains. In: Gamble, J.A.; Skinner, D.N.B.; Henrys, S. Eds., Antarctica at the close of a Millennium. Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science. The Royal Society of New Zealand Bulletin 35: p. 453-469.

Fitzgerald, P.G., J.A. Muñoz, P.J. Coney and S.L. Baldwin, 1999. Asymmetric exhumation across the Pyrenean orogen: implications for the tectonic evolution of collisional orogens, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 173, 157-170.

Fitzgerald, P. G., and E. Stump, 1997. Cretaceous and Cenozoic episodic denudation of the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica: New Constraints from apatite fission track thermochronology in the Scott Glacier region, Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 7747-7765.

Fitzgerald P.G. and S.L. Baldwin, 1997. Detachment Fault Model for the Evolution of the Ross Embayment. In: Ricci C.A. (ed.), The Antarctic Region: Geological Evolution and Processes, Terra Antartica Publication, Siena, 555-564.

Fitzgerald, P.G., R.B. Sorkhabi, T.F. Redfield and E. Stump, 1995. Uplift and denudation of the central Alaska Range: A case study in the use of apatite fission-track thermochronology to determine absolute uplift parameters, Journal of Geophysical Research, 100, 20175-20191.

Fitzgerald, P.G, 1994. Thermochronologic constraints on post-Paleozoic tectonic evolution of the central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica, Tectonics, 13, 818-836.

Fitzgerald, P.G., S.J. Reynolds, E. Stump, D.A. Foster and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1994. Thermochronologic evidence for timing of denudation and rate of crustal extension of the South Mountains metamorphic core complex and Sierra Estrella, Arizona, Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements, 21, 555-563.

Redfield, T.F. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 1993. The Denali fault system of southern Alaska: An interior strike-slip structure responding to opposing inter-plate relative motions Tectonics, 12, 1195-1208.

Fitzgerald, P.G., E. Stump and T.F. *Redfield, 1993. Late Cenozoic uplift of Denali and its relation to relative plate motion and fault morphology. Science, 259, 497-499.

Fitzgerald, P.G., and E. Stump, 1992. Early Cretaceous uplift in the southern Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica. in Recent Progress in Antarctic Earth Science, Y. Yoshida, K. Kaminuma and K. Shiraishi (Editors), pp. 331-340, TERRAPUB, Tokyo.

Fitzgerald, P.G., 1992. The Transantarctic Mountains in southern Victoria Land: The application of apatite fission track analysis to a rift-shoulder uplift. Tectonics, 11, 634-662.

Paul, T. A., and P.G. Fitzgerald, 1992. Transmission electron microscopy investigation of fission tracks in fluorapatite: American Mineralogist, 77, 336-344.

Stump, E., and P.G. Fitzgerald, 1992. Episodic uplift of the Transantarctic Mountains. Geology, 20, 161-164.

Fitzgerald, P.G., and E. Stump, 1991. Early Cretaceous uplift in the Ellsworth Mountains of West Antarctica. Science 254, 92-94.

Fitzgerald, P.G., J.E. Fryxell and B.P. Wernicke, 1991. Miocene crustal extension and uplift in southeastern Nevada: Constraints from apatite fission track analysis. Geology, 19, 1013-1016.

Fitzgerald, P.G. and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1990. New approaches in fission track geochronology as a tectonic tool: Examples from the Transantarctic Mountains. Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements, 17, 351-357.

Fitzgerald, P.G. and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1988. Fission track geochronology, tectonics and structure of the Transantarctic Mountains in Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, Isotope Geoscience, 73, 169-198. Gleadow, A.J.W. and P.G. Fitzgerald, 1987. Tectonic history and structure of the Transantarctic Mountains: New evidence from fission track dating in the Dry Valleys area of southern Victoria Land, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 82, 1-14.

Fitzgerald, P.G., M. Sandiford, P.J. Barrett and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1986. Asymmetric extension in the Transantarctic Mountains and Ross Embayment, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 81, 67-78.