Indiana University Bloomington

Lee J. Suttner

Lee J. Suttner

Professor Emeritus

Sedimentary Petrology, Basin Analysis, and Sedimentology

Office:   GY525
Phone:   812-855-4957

Educational Background

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

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.

Representative Publications

Zaleha, M.J., Nolan, C.E., and Suttner, L.J. (in review) Evolution of Early Cretaceous fluvial systems and their responses to small-scale syndepositional structures versus large-scale basin subsidence (Cloverly and Lakota Fms., Wyoming, USA): Bull. of the Geological Soc. of America, 41 ms. p., 16 figs.

Elliott, W.S., Douglas, B.J., and Suttner, L.J. (in review) Structural control on Quaternary and Tertiary sedimentation in the Harrison Basin, Madison County, Montana: Rocky Mountain Geologist, 24 ms. p, 16 figs.

Zaleha, M.J., Way, J.N., and Suttner, L.J. (2001) Effects of syndepositional faulting and folding on Early Cretaceous rivers and alluvial architecture (Lakota and Cloverly Fms, Wyoming): Journal of Sedimentary Research, V. 71, p. 880-894.

Elliot, W.S., Suttner, L.J., and Pratt, L.M, (2001) Orographic control on the areal distribution and abundance of nodular micrite in the Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Fm of Wyoming: Absts. with Program, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Boston).

Wiesmann, S.A., Zaleha, M., Elliott, W. and Suttner, L. J. (2000) Tectonic significance and depositional processes of diamictites within the upper Cloverly Fm in Wyoming: Absts. with Program, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Reno)

Elliot, W.S., Pratt, L.M., Wiesmann, S.A., Zaleha, M.J., and Suttner, L.J., (2000) Environmental control of clay mineral content in mudstones of the Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Fm. of central Wyoming: Absts. with Program, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Reno).

Wiesemann, S. A. and Suttner, L.J. (1999) Origin and distribution of exotic clasts in the lower Creataceous Cloverly Fm, western Wyoming: Absts. with Program, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver)

Elliott, W.S., Pratt, L. M., and Suttner, L.J. (1999) Carbon isotope composition of terrestrial organic matter from the Lower Cretaceous Cloverly Fm., central Wyoming: Absts. with Program, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver)

Way, J. N., O'Malley, P.J., Suttner, L.J., and Furer, L.C. (1998) Tectonic controls on alluvial systems in a distal foreland setting: the Lakota/Cloverly Fms. in Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota: in Relative Role of Eustasy, Climate, and Tectonism in Continental Rocks, K. W. Shanley and P. J. McCabe (eds), SEPM Spec Pub. #59, p. 133-150.


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.