Lee J. Suttner

Lee J. Suttner

Professor Emeritus, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1966
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin, 1963
  • B.S., Notre Dame University, 1961

Research interests

My primary research interest is interpreting tectonic and climatic controls on the composition and architecture of nonmarine deposits in sedimentary basins. For the past decade, my students and I have focused on examination of Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous rocks in the Cordilleran foreland basin of Wyoming, Montana, and far western South Dakota. Traditional models of foreland-basin evolution emphasize the importance of fold-thrust belt tectonics along the basin margin in controlling stratigraphic patterns within the basin. However, our integrated surface and subsurface studies have shown that the paleohydraulics of the rivers which transported sediment into the Cordilleran basin, as well as the geometry of the alluvial deposits themselves, were more affected by local intra-basinal, syndepositional, basement-rooted faults than by basin-margin tectonics. Our most recent publications quantitatively document these effects, and compare and contrast the relative importance of intra- and extra-basinal tectonic controls on basin-filling processes.


Currently I am the chief fund-raising and development officer for the department, after serving nearly eight years as department chairperson, and three years as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. I am also chairman of the Board of Trustees for the GSA Foundation. In the past I have served as associate editor for the Journal of Sedimentary Research and have had membership on a number of committees and been an officer in SEPM, GSA, and NAGT. I am also active in grant proposal reviewing and have been a panelist for NSF.