Alex Lechler

Chair of Earth Science


Alex Lechler - Assistant Professor

Office Location: Rieke Science Center - 141

Office Hours: (On Campus) Mon: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (On Campus) Tue: 8:30 am - 9:45 am (On Campus) Thu: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (On Campus) Mon - Fri: By Appointment

  • Professional
  • Biography

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Associate Professor of Earth Science


  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Michigan, 2011
  • B.A., Physics (Geophysics concentration), Cum Laude, Denison University, 2006

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Sedimentology
  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry
  • Tectonics
  • Paleoclimate

Selected Presentations

  • 2014 GSA Annual Meeting, Systematic variability in clumped isotope temperatures of loess carbonates during Late Pleistocene climate change, Palouse loess, USA, Vancouver, BC (2014)
  • 2014 GSA Annual Meeting, Impact of carbonate depositional setting and seasonality on clumped isotope records of topography and climate, Vancouver, BC (2014)
  • 2014 Goldschmidt Conference, Clumped isotope paleothermometry in soil carbonate, Sacramento, CA (2014)
  • 2013 Fall Meeting, AGU, Paleoclimate of the last glacial maximum revealed by fossil groundwaters, San Francisco, CA (2013)
  • 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, Improving stable isotope-based reconstructions of Sierra Nevada paleotopography using insights from regional air parcel trajectories, San Francisco, CA (2012)

Selected Articles

  • Lechler, A. R., Niemi, N. A., Hren, M. T., and Lohmann, K. C.. "Paleoelevation estimates for the northern and central proto-Basin and Range from carbonate clumped isotope thermometry." Tectonics Vol. 32, 2013: p. 1-22.
  • Lechler, A. R., and Galewsky, J.. "Refining paleoaltimetry reconstructions of the Sierra Nevada, California using air parcel trajectories." Geology Vol. 41, 2013: p. 259-262.
  • Lechler, A. R., and Niemi, N. A.. "The influence of snow sublimation on the isotopic composition of spring and surface waters in the southwestern United States: Implications for stable isotope-based paleoaltimetry and hydrologic studies." GSA Bulletin no. 3/4 Vol. 124, 2012: p. 318-334.
  • Lechler, A. R., and Niemi, N. A.. "Controls on the spatial variability of modern meteoric d18O: empirical constraints from the western US and east Asia and implications for stable isotope studies." American Journal of Science no. 8 Vol. 311, 2011: p. 664-700.
  • Lechler, A. R., and Niemi, N. A.. "Sedimentologic and isotopic constraints on the Paleogene paleogeography and paleotopography of the southern Sierra Nevada, California." Geology no. 4 Vol. 39, 2011: p. 379-382.


  • Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of Michigan (April 2011)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, University of Michigan (February 2011)
  • Scott Turner Award in Earth Science, University of Michigan Geological Sciences (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Class Salutatorian, Denison University (2006)
  • American Undergraduate Mineralogist Award, awarded by Mineralogical Society of America (2005)

Professional Memberships/Organizations


My research centers on mountain building processes and regional climate change and the associated influences of each on atmospheric dynamics. Specifically, I use stable isotope geochemistry, clumped isotope thermometry, detrital provenance techniques, and climate modeling to study the tectonic, topographic and climatic evolution of orogenic systems as recorded in proxies preserved in sedimentary basins.

As a teacher, I implement hands-on and field-based teaching strategies to engage students both inside and outside the classroom. I encourage students to be active learners who collaborate with classmates rather than compete, and I challenge them to apply the knowledge learned to their everyday lives so that they can be environmentally-conscious and scientifically-literate members of society.