Fosdick Lab at Indiana University
Basin Analysis & Helium Thermochronology Laboratory


Julie Fosdick

Assistant Professor
Geological Sciences
Indiana University

1001 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-6109


Tectonics            Thermochronology         Sedimentary Basin Analysis

Our research focuses on reconstructing ancient phases of mountain building and erosion to understand how tectonics, surface processes, and climate interact to influence the Earth's dynamic mountain belts. My students and I draw upon numerous methods in our research, including field mapping and stratigraphy, low-temperature thermochronology, provenance analysis, geochronology, and structural reconstructions. Currently, I have ongoing thermochronology and basin analysis projects in the Magallanes (Austral) Basin in the Patagonian Andes, the Argentine Precordillera of the southern Central Andes, and the San Andreas Fault System in California.

Research Questions

(1) How does redistribution of rocks via erosion and sedimentation influence depositional style and tectonic deformation

(2) What are the controls and feedbacks among tectonic activity, sediment supply, global sea level, and climate?

(3) What mechanisms drive basin subsidence and large-scale sedimentation patterns? 

(4) How can we improve provenance analysis methods to better constrain sediment source areas and regional basin paleogeography? 


The  Basin Analysis & Helium Thermochronology Lab (BAHTL) will house a helium gas extraction and measurement system designed for low-temperature (U-Th)/He thermochronology to study thermal and exhumational histories of the Earth's crust and sediments. BAHTL houses a chemistry lab for mineral dissolution, a polarized stereomicroscope for sample preparation, a petrographic microscope and point counting system, and student office space. 

Lab renovation is complete and the helium system build is underway (Santa Cruz Laser Microfurnace custom design).


News from the Fosdick Lab

▪ Congratulations to Louis Wersan for completing his M.S. degree, with thesis research on "Reinvestigating the Mission Creek Fault: Holocene slip rates in the northern Coachella Valley and implications for southern California earthquake hazard."

▪ In August, 2015, M.S. student Ellen Reat conducted a successful field season in the Argentine Precordillera, working on the Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene basin history.

▪ M.S. student Joel Leonard has been accepted to the Mountain Ranges and High Plateaus Summer School at the University of Michigan's Camp Davis in Wyoming, August 16-29, 2015. More info here

▪ Congratulations to M.S. student Louis Wersan for receiving Best Presentation for Master's Research (oral) at the 2015 Crossroads Geology Conference at Indiana University, March 27-28th, 2015.

▪ M.S. student Ellen Reat has accepted a Summer 2015 internship position with ExxonMobil.

NEW! Recently published in Tectonics, our new paper explores the effects of attenuated lithosphere and sediment loading on the Magallanes foreland basin, Patagonian Andes (link).

▪ Dr. Fosdick was awarded the 2014 Basin Research Early Career Award for her work on using detrital thermochronology provenance to understand orogenic evolution. Download the paper here. 


Visit Dr. Fosdick's IU profile for more information.