Dr. Stuart N. Thomson
Research Scientist
Department of Geosciences
University of Arizona


10/88 - 1/93
Ph.D. Geology (January 1993), University College London, U.K.

10/85 - 7/88
B.Sc. (Hons.) Geology, Class: Second (Division 1), University of Durham, U.K.
Includes the John W. Most Fieldwork Award.


  • 7/08 - present: Research Scientist, Adjunct Lectiurer, University of Arizona, USA

  • 7/07 - 6/08: Associate Research Scientist, Yale University, USA

  • 5/03 - 6/07: Postdoctoral Associate, Yale University, USA

  • 1/02 - 4/03: Geological Consultant (low temperature thermochronologic analysis), Bochum, Germany.

  • 9/98 - 12/01: Research Fellow (German Research Foundation Scholarship), Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

  • 11/93 - 8/98: Research Assistant, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

  • 1/93 - 11/93: Research Assistant, University College London, U.K.

  • 8/19-7/22: NSF Office of Polar Programs (PLR#1917009): Collaborative Research: Ice sheet erosional interaction with hot geotherm in West Antarctica: Proposing Institutions: Colorado College (PI: C. Siddoway), University of Arizona (PI: S. Thomson), University of Minnesota (PI: C. Teyssier)

  • 8/17-7/21: NSF Integrated Earth Systems (EAR#1713893): Collaborative Research: Subduction below extreme sedimentation: A multidisciplinary transect from the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to the IndoBurma Backarc: Proposing Institutions: Columbia University (Lead Institution), University of Arizona (PI: S. Thomson), Louisiana State University, University of Missouri

  • 9/16-8/20: NSF Antarctic Earth Sciences (PLR #1443556): Collaborative Research: East Antarctic Glacial Landscape Evolution (EAGLE): A study using combined thermochronology, geochronology and provenance analysis. Lead PIs: S. Thomson, P. Reiners, (University of Arizona), S. Hemming (Columbia), K. Licht (IUPUI), D. Shuster (UC Berkeley).

  • 11/11-10/17: NSF Continental Dynamics (EAR #1109336): Collaborative Research: Central Anatolian Tectonics (CD-CAT): Surface to mantle dynamics during collision to escape: Proposing Institutions: University of Minnesota (Lead Institution), University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Missouri.

  • 7/09 - 6/11: NSF EAR Instrumentation & Facilities (EAR #0929922): Acquisition of microscope and automated stage system for fission-track analysis, Lead PI: S. Thomson (University of Arizona).

  • 6/09 - 5/12: NSF Antarctic Earth Sciences (ANT #0838722): Collaborative Research: Erosion History and Sediment Provenance of East Antarctica from Multi-method Detrital Geo- and Thermochronology, Lead PIs: P. Reiners, S. Thomson (University of Arizona), S. Hemming (Columbia).

  • 2/08 - 1/09: NSF Antarctic Earth Sciences (ANT #0816934): Collaborative Research: SGER: Triple-dating (Pb-FT-He) of Antarctic Detritus and the Origin of the Gamburtsev Mountains, Lead PIs: P. Reiners (University of Arizona), S. Thomson (Yale).

  • 9/07 - 8/09: NSF Tectonics (EAR #0635923): Collaborative Research: Lithospheric weakening, deep crustal flow and the initiation of orogenesis at a noncollisional convergent margin in the Andes, Lead PIs: Keith Klepeis (University of Vermont - lead institution), Stuart Thomson (Yale), thermochronology.

  • 7/06 - 6/07: NSF Continental Dynamics (EAR #0607605): Collaborative Research: Uplift and faulting at the transition from subduction to collision - a field and modeling study of the Calabrian Arc (Lead PI Thermochronology Section). Proposing Institutions: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Yale University, University of Washington, University of California - Berkeley.

  • 8/05 - 7/07: NSF Geomorphology & Land Use Dynamics, Tectonics (EAR #447140): Collaborative Research: Glacial erosion in the Patagonian Andes: Testing the buzzsaw. Lead PIs: Jonathan Tomkin (LSU) and Stuart Thomson (Yale) together with co-PIs Profs. M. Brandon and P. Reiners (Yale).

  • 9/98 - 8/01: German Research Foundation Habilitation Scholarship (Th 573/2-1 and Th 573/2-2). Denudation history of the overriding plate in response to the subduction of an active mid-ocean ridge in the region of the Chile Triple Junction (Aysén Province, Chile).

  • 3/98 - 2/01: German Research Foundation (Sto 196/11-1,2): Fission-track investigations of the denudation and cooling history in the region of the Chile triple junction and the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault (southern Chile). Co-PI with Prof. B. Stöckhert and Dr. M. Brix (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany).

    University of Arizona
    Multichron Workshop, June 2014: Instructor
    GEOS 218 Natural Disasters and Society (Fall 2012)
    Antarctichron Workshop, June 2011: Instructor
    Helium Dating Workshop (HeDWaAZ), June 2007: Instructor

    Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (in German)
    Neotectonics (Lecture Course); An introduction to geological maps (Lecture Course and Practical); Field course in structural geology (Germany); Supervision of masters degree geological mapping (Moine Thrust, Scotland); Supervision of student fieldwork (Geological mapping, Crete, European Alps; Introductory course for geography students, Germany).

    University College London, U.K.
    Geodynamics (Lecture course as stand-in); Supervision of final year mapping projects (Moine Thrust, Scotland); Practical and fieldwork supervision (Neotectonics; Geological mapping, Cyprus).


    Over 25 years of experience in all aspects of fission track analysis. Establishment of fission-track facilities at the University of Arizona and Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, manager of facilities at Yale University. Over 13 years’ experience in methods, application, and interpretation of (U-Th)/He thermochronometry. 8 years’ experience in application of U-Pb laser ablation MC-ICPMS dating (detrital zircon, development of routine apatite dating). Development of single-grain triple-dating (fission-track, (U-Th)/He, U-Pb) in detrital zircon and apatite.

    Interaction between Erosion, Tectonics, Climate and Landscape Evolution:
    The influence and response times of long-term erosion processes in shaping landscapes, with emphasis on the role of glacial processes in active mountain belts, and subglacial Antarctic landscape evolution.

    Regional Tectonics, Tectonic Geomorphology, Structural Geology, and Geodynamics:
    Syn- and post-orogenic cooling and exhumation in subduction, collisional, and extensional tectonic settings. The nature, rates and timing of propagation and shortening in fold-thrust belts, and footwall unroofing of large extensional detachment faults.

    Sedimentary Provenance Studies:
    Combining multiple geochronological techniques on detrital minerals to establish provenance, stratigraphic, and metamorphic ages in sedimentary rocks. Using detrital thermochronology to constrain long-term landscape evolution, and the thermal and exhumational history of mountain belts.


  • Cited 3451 times; h-index of 32 (26 since 2014); i10-index of 56 (47 since 2014) (Google Scholar, August 2019)
  • 79 first author and co-authored peer-reviewed publications in internationally recognized journals including: Nature; Nature Geoscience; Geophysical Research Letters; Geology; Tectonics; Geological Society of America Bulletin; Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface; Journal of the Geological Society London; Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems; Lithosphere; Tectonophysics; Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Gondwana Research; Precambrian Research; Earth Science Reviews; Basin Research; Terra Nova; Journal of Petrology; Mineralogy and Petrology; International Journal of Earth Science; Geological Magazine; Revista Geológica de Chile.
  • Reviewer of grants for the NSF, ESF (Europe), NSERC (Canada), DFG (Germany), NWO (Netherlands), SNF (Switzerland) and FONDECYT (Chile).
  • Reviewer for international geoscience journals including: Nature, Nature Geoscience, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geology, Geophysical Research Letters, PLOS ONE, Tectonics, Tectonophysics, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Geological Society of America Bulletin, Journal of Geology, Geosphere, Journal of the Geological Society London, American Journal of Science, Terra Nova, Geological Magazine, Basin Research, Sedimentary Geology, Journal of South American Earth Sciences, European Journal of Mineralogy, Quaternary International, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Ore Geology Reviews, Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicos.
  • Field and mapping experience includes: Andes (southern Chile), Crete (Greece), Turkey, Apennines (Italy), SW United States, Cyprus, South Shetland Islands (Antarctica), Alps, Caledonides (NW Scotland), Central Europe.

  • Approved onshore collaborator IODP Expedition 379 "Amundsen Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet History".
  • Participant Laboratory in the NSF Awards for Geochronology Student Research (AGeS and AGeS2) Programs.
  • Participant Laboratory in the NSF EarthScope Awards for Geochronology Student Research (AGeS and AGeS2) Programs.
  • Invited Speaker at the NSF Interdisciplinary Antarctic Earth Sciences Meeting and Shackleton Camp Planning Workshop, Loveland, Colorado (September 2015).
  • Invited speaker at Thermochronology and Orogenic Systems workshop held at UNAM Instituto de Geología, Hermosillo, Mexico (January 2015).
  • Featured contributor on National Public Radio's “The Academic Minute”, April 22nd, 2013.
  • Fulbright Visiting Scholar Faculty Host (University of Arizona, Fall 2014) for Dr. Florencia Bechis (Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Argentina)
  • Media news articles on research on glaciation and mountain building published at MSNBC, wired.com, New Scientist, Scientific American, US News, Christian Science Monitor, Austrian National Radio, Der Spiegel, Illustrated Science (Denmark) and many others.
  • Invited Speaker at Fall 2014 AGU session EP1483 “To see the world in a grain of sand: novel applications and important limitations of detrital analyses in sedimentology, tectonics and geomorphology”.
  • Invited Participant at the NSF EarthCube geochronology end-user workshop, Madison, Wisconsin, October, 2013.
  • Convener of Fall 2013 AGU session EP003 “Climatic and glaciological significance of glacial landforms and landscape evolution”
  • Convener of Fall 2012 AGU session EP012 “Coevolution of Glaciation and Glaciated Mountains”.
  • Scientific committee, FT2008, The 11th International Conference on Thermochronometry, Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Scientific committee, Geosur 2007 International Geological Congress on the Southern Hemisphere, Santiago, Chile.
  • Instructor, Helium Dating Workshop at Arizona (HeDWaAZ) together with Peter Reiners, June 2007.
  • Co-convener of the NSF Continental Dynamics joint CAT/SCAN and RETREAT workshop and field trip, Calabria, Italy, June-July 2004.
  • Co-convener of session “Tectonic Geomorphology” at DMG-GV-DGG “GEO2003” Joint Annual Meeting, Bochum, Germany, September 2003.
  • Participant in UNESCO International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) Project No. 436 - Tectonic Evolution of the Pacific Gondwana Margin - Structure, Assembly and Break-up Events (1999-2003).
  • Participant in the Instituto Antarctico Chileno (INACH) January 2000 summer field season, King George Island, Antarctica.
  • Keynote speaker at 17th Latin-America Geoscience Colloquium, Stuttgart, Germany, October 2000 and at the winter meeting of the SFB 267 - Deformation Processes in the Andes, Berlin, Germany, December 1999. Other Invited Presentations: Mainz University, Germany, July 1998; Würzburg University, Germany, January 1999; Potsdam University, Germany, December 1999; University of Glasgow, UK, November 2000; Universidad de Chile, Santiago, December 2000; Giessen University, Germany, September 2001; University of Geneva, Switzerland, November 2002.

    Fellow of the Geological Society of London (since 1993)
    Member of the Geological Society of America (since 1994)
    Member of the American Geophysical Union (since 1994)


    (Inevitably some of these links will become obsolete before I have the chance to update them!)

  • Will Amidon (Middlebury College)
  • Alexis Ault (Utah State University)
  • Maria Laura Balestrieri (University of Florence)
  • Florencia Bechis (Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Argentina)
  • Mark Brandon (Yale University)
  • Julie Fosdick (University of Connecticut)
  • William Guenthner (University of Illinois)
  • Sidney Hemming (Columbia University)
  • Francisco Hervé (Universidad Andrés Bello)
  • Keith Klepeis (University of Vermont)
  • Sean Long (Washington State University)
  • Robert Pankhurst (British Geological Survey)
  • Peter Reiners (University of Arizona)
  • Uwe Ring (Stockholm University, Sweden)
  • Chrsitine Siddoway (Colorado College)
  • Lynn Soreghan (University of Oklahoma)
  • Michael Steckler (Lamont_Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University)
  • Arne Willner (Ruhr-University Bochum)
  • Roman Veselovskiy (Moscow State University)
  • Donna Whitney (University of Minnesota)
  • Max Zattin (University of Padua).

  • Last Modified: January 24th, 2021