David Rowley


    My current research interests include paleoaltimetry and paleohypsometry, past history of plate production and destruction, age of initiation of the India-Asia collision, modelling of global plate kinematics and links to geodynamics, long-term sea level variation and reconstructing global paleogeographic evolution.

    Field-based research focuses on the evolution of the Himalaya-Tibet Plateau, with a particular emphasis on paleoaltimetric estimates of its elevation history. This work is collaborative with Brian Currie (Miami University). Previously my Chinese colleague  Erchie Wang, Associate Director to the Institute for Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences was been instrumental in the field component of this collaboration, while Dan Schrag at Harvard has provided analytical support, and Ray Pierrehumbert (U of C) modeling and climate collaborations. In addition collaboration with Kate Freeman and Pratigya Polissar is developing new archival records from which to derive paleoaltimetry estimates.  More recently I have been collaborating with Zhao Zidan from China University of Geosciences, Beijing as part of a multi-institutional collaboration within the NSF Continental Dynamic program with Don DePaolo, T. Mark Harrison, Peter Zietler, Ann Meltzer, David Shuster, and An Yin as US collaborators. University of Chicago Chamberlain Fellow- Nadja Insel has recently joined me in the field in southern Tibet trying to obtain records that constrain the pre-collisional paleo-topography of southern Tibet. In addition, Albert Coleman at the University of Chicago, supported by an NSF MRI grant has set up a stable isotope facility at Chicago and is in the process of completing a clumped isotope lab to measure paleo-temperatures of carbonates, including applications to paleoaltimetry.

    I was a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research-Earth System Evolution Program (CIFAR-ESEP) through which I have on-going collaborations with Alessandro Forte (UQAM), Jerry Mitrovica (Harvard). CIFAR-ESEP has supported a number of post-doctoral fellow who have or are collaborating with me. These include - Rob Moucha who is now an assistant professor at Syracuse University, and with Kate Freeman (Penn State) joint CIFAR-Post-doctoral fellow - Pratigya Polissar (Penn State/UC Santa Cruz) now at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory as Research Scientist, and current post-doctoral fellows Chris Rowan (his blog) at Chicago, and Glenn Sterenborg working with Jerry Mitrovica.

    Nadja Insel, now assistant professor Northern Illinois University is working on integrating high resolution global paleogeographic reconstructions with isotope-enabled paleoclimate models to better understand paleoaltimetry retrodictions.

    In addition, I am the Editor of The Journal of Geology, published by The University of Chicago Press.

    I am always looking for good graduate students seeking opportunities to undertake a PhD with me. I have a wide range of interests and have worked with students on a range of research. Students who have worked with me or under my supervision include:

Current    Miquela Ingalls, research area: Multi-proxy approach to paleoaltimetry of pre-collisional southern Tibet with an emphasis on clumped isotopes.

2005    David Sunderlin, Assistant Professor, Lafayette College. Thesis: "Permian phytogeographic patterns on Northern Pangea with new data from the Alaska Range" (Advisors: Ziegler, Rowley)

2004    Andrew J. Cyr, Thesis: “Geochemical and stable isotopic evaluation of Fenghuoshan Group lacustrine carbonates, north-central Tibet: implications for the paleoaltimetry of the mid-Tertiary Tibetan Plateau.” (MS from Miami University, Oxford, OH, Advisors: Brian Currie, Rowley).

2003    Bin Zhu, NYS Dept of Health - Statistics. Thesis: “Sedimentology, petrography, and tectonic significance of Cretaceous to lower Tertiary deposits in the Tingri-Gyantse area, southern Tibet” (PhD from The University at Albany -Advisors: W.S.F. Kidd, Rowley)

2001    Karin Goldberg. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.  Thesis: "Paleoclimatic evolution of the Permian Parana Basin, southern Brazil"  (Advisors:Ziegler, Rowley, & Humayan)

1998    Xue Feng. Petroleum Consultant. Thesis: “Exhumation of an ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic terrain in the Dabie Shan, China” (Advisor: Rowley)

1997    Michael Hulver, Geologist, Saudi Aramco. Thesis: "Post-orogenic evolution of the Appalachian mountain system and its foreland" (Advisor: Rowley)

1996    Paul Markwick, Getech, Leeds, U.K. Thesis:  "Late Cretaceous to Pleistocene climates: nature of the transition from a 'hot-house' to an 'ice-house' world"(Advisor:  Ziegler, Rowley)

1995    Yao JiPing, Software Engineer, Malagan Partners. Thesis: "Approaches to paleoclimatic reconstructions with examples from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic of Eurasia" (Advisor:  Ziegler, Rowley)

1990    Nie ShangYou, Shell International (Den Hague/Beijing). Thesis:  "Constraints on the Paleozoic plate reconstruction of China" (Advisor:  Ziegler, Rowley)

1987    Dork Sahagian, Lehigh University, Professor. Thesis: “Epeirogeny and eustatic sea level changes as inferred from Cretaceous shoreline deposits” (Advisor:  Ziegler, Rowley)

1983    Richard M. Friedman, University of British Columbia. Thesis: “Accretionary history of western North America during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic” (M.Sc. Advisors: Ziegler, Rowley)

Site Last Updated: December 28, 2011


Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany,1983

Faculty member at University of Chicago since 1993

drowley at uchicago.edu

Norian (210 Ma) Paleogeography

Prominent circular feature in the

middle of the image is the

Manacouagan Impact Crater.

Possibly part of multi-impact

sequence. (Want to learn more?)