, the Iacocca Professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences
(EES), has been named a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)—an honor bestowed upon AGU members by their peers.
Zeitler was cited for his pioneering contributions to thermochronology (determination of the temperature history of rocks) and its application to a new understanding of orogeny (mountain building). His research focuses on two areas: regional-scale tectonics and geodynamics, largely in the Himalaya and Asia, and refinement of techniques in thermochronology.
With funding from the National Science Foundation's Continental Dynamics Program, Zeitler and his colleagues are currently examining the deformation of crust and mantle lithosphere during continental collision in eastern Tibet. He is also part of an integrated effort to use a wide range of techniques to understand the timing and origin of the Hangay Mountains in Mongolia.
David Anastasio, department chair and professor of EES, says the novel techniques developed by Zeitler are now widely used by scientists globally. The recognition of Zeitler as an AGU Fellow acknowledges his transformational discoveries and insights into tectonic processes.
Zeitler has been a member of the Lehigh faculty since 1988. Previously, he was a research scientist at the Australian National University. He served as EES department chair for eight years and was inaugural director of the South Mountain College
program. He currently teaches an introductory course on energy, a departmental core course on earth systems, and several graduate offerings.
With more than 60,000 members internationally, the AGU was established in 1919 by the National Research Council and operated for more than 50 years as an unincorporated affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences. It is now a nonprofit corporation with a mission dedicated to promoting discovery in earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. AGU is a member society of the American Institute of Physics.
Nominated fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the earth and space sciences. Primary criteria for evaluation of scientific eminence are major breakthroughs/discoveries and changes to accepted models. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1 percent of all AGU members in any given year. New Fellows are chosen by a committee of fellows.