, professor and chair of the earth and environmental sciences
department, was recently awarded the CAS Iacocca Professorship. The academic honor is awarded for excellence in research, teaching, and service to a faculty member with a demonstrated ability to support and enhance the mission of the Iacocca Institute to develop global leadership.
“Peter’s distinguished record of research provides international visibility not only because of its excellence within the discipline of earth and environmental sciences, but also because it's taken Peter and his students to so many different locations around the world and back again,” says Anne Meltzer, the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
“In addition, Peter has also demonstrated a long-standing commitment to bringing science to a lay audience reflecting the need for scientifically literate global citizens. His fresh, insightful perspectives will no doubt benefit the Iacocca Institute’s activities in a variety of ways.”
Zeitler’s most recent research has focused on regional-scale tectonics and geodynamics, with particular emphasis on the influence surface processes can have on tectonic processes and evolution. A trained geochronologist, Zeitler conducts studies utilizing the full range of noble-gas geochronology
techniques, with particular expertise in the application of lower-temperature thermochronology to tectonics. An additional interest is refinement of the techniques of thermochronology.
Recent and current projects include:
• the recently completed Nanga Parbat Continental Dynamics Project
, an integrated multidisciplinary study of the Nanga Parbat massif in the Pakistan Himalayas, aimed at understanding the processes which rework and overprint the continental lithosphere during orogeny (the project involved coordinated contributions from geochronology, seismology and geophysics, structural geology, petrology, geomorphology, and isotope geochemistry).
• a U-Th/He study of the low-temperature thermal evolution and erosion history of the Kohistan block in northern Pakistan, in collaboration with Dr. M. Asif Khan of the University of Peshawar.
• a post-orogenic erosion history of the Appalachians, using U-Th/He dating of apatite, in collaboration with Frank Pazzaglia, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Bruce Idleman, research scientist in earth and environmental sciences at Lehigh.
• evolution of the indentor corner
at the eastern end of the Himalaya-Tibet collision zone. This integrated multidisciplinary study, funded by NSF's Continental Dynamics Program and started in 2000, looks at the complex 4D deformation near a plate edge during collision.
Zeitler joined the Lehigh faculty as assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences in 1988 and was promoted to associate professor in 1991. He was promoted to full professor in 1996. Prior to his appointment at Lehigh, he served as research fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences at Australian National University.