Emile Pessagno

Emile Pessagno

Professor Emeritus - Geosciences

Professional Preparation

Princeton University - 1960
M.S. - Geology
Cornell University - 1957
B.A. - Geology
Princeton University - 1955

Research Areas

Research Interests
My research during the past three decades has focused on the study of two groups of planktonic microfossils: the Radiolaria and planktonic Foraminifera. Moreover, the fruit of these investigations has been to utilize radiolarian and planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, and paleobiogeographic data to solve complex geologic problems.   In that my research has established that radiolaria can be recovered from chert and limestone exposed to greenschist facies metamorphism to garnet mica-schist metamorphism, it is obvious that the stratigraphic utility of the Radiolaria extends far beyond that of other Mesozoic microfossils. During the past thirty years my students and I have developed a radiolarian zonation for the Mesozoic (Upper Triassic to Upper Cretaceous) which has been well integrated with ammonite-based chronostratigraphic data.   Some of my most recent studies have dealt with the utilization of Radiolaria and other groups of fossils in tectonostratigraphic reconstructions. A colleague and myself were able to establish via physical stratigraphy and radiolarian paleobiogeography that the Caribbean Plate originated in the Pacific during the Late Jurassic.


Pessagno, E. A., Jr. "Faunal evidence for tectonic transport of Nevadan terranes in Western North America" in Geological Society of America Special Paper 410: Geological studies in the Klamath Mountains Province, California and Oregon : A volume in honor of W. P. Irwin, ed. by A.W. Snoke and C.G. Barnes. U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California, in press. In Press - Publication
Hopson, C. A. and Pessagno, E. A., Jr. "Tehama-Colusa Serpentinite Mélange: A remnant of Franciscan Jurassic oceanic lithosphere, Northern California " in Serpentine and serpentinites: Mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, ecology, geophysics, and tectonics, ed. by Robert G. Coleman. Geological Society of America Book Series, vol. 8, p. 301-336, in press. In Press - Publication
Miller, M. L., Bradley, D. C., Bradley, Bundtzen, T. K., Blodgett, R. B., Pessagno, E. A., Jr., Tucker, R. D., and Harris, A. G.  "The restricted Gemuk Group, a Triassic to Early Cretaceous succession in southwest Alaska." Geological Society of America Special Volume, ed. by K. Ridway, in press. In Press - Publication
Pessagno, E. A., Jr., Mattinson, J. M., Montgomery, H., and Hopson, C. A. "Geochronological significance of new biostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, and geochronometric data from La Désirade, Lesser Antilles." In Ophiolites, arcs, and batholiths: A Geological Society of America Special Paper in honor of C. A. Hopson, ed. by J. Wright and J. Shervais. Dept of Geological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, submitted 2006. 2006 - Publication
Cross, E. and Pessagno, E. A., Jr. "Tectonostratigrahy and Depositional Environments within Upper Jurassic Phosphate-Bearing Remnants of the San Pedro del Gallo Terrane Northeastern Mexico." Submitted to Stratigraphy (2005). 2005 - Publication
Pessagno, E. A., Jr., Ghazi, A. M., Kariminia, M., Duncan, R. A., and Hassanipak, A. "A.Tectonostratigraphy of Khoy Complex, Northwestern Iran." Stratigraphy 2 (2005) 1-22 & 49-63. 2005 - Publication
Hopson, C. A. and Pessagno, E. A., Jr. "Tehama-Colusa Serpentinite Mélange: A remnant of Franciscan Jurassic oceanic lithosphere, Northern California." International Geology Review 47 (2005) 65-100. 2005 - Publication
Pessagno, E. A., Jr. and Martin, C. "Tectonostratigraphic evidence for the origin of the Gulf of Mexico." In The Circum-Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean : Hydrocarbon habitats, basin formation, and plate tectonics, ed. by C. Bartolini, R.T. Buffler and Blickwede. AAPG Memoir 79 (2003) 46-74. 2003 - Publication

Additional Information

  • Invited to be plenary speaker at Interrad XI Conference: Radiolarians in stratigraphy and paleoceanography: 11th Meeting of International Association of radiolarian paleontologists and Circum-Pacific Triassic Stratigraphy and Correlation, a symposium hosted by IGCP 467 and STS. Wellington, New Zealand, March 2006.
  • Editor of journal Stratigraphy. Accepted editorship October 2005. January 1, 2006 to present.
  • Co-Founder and Chairman, Editorial Board of new Stratigraphy, Micropaleontology Press, 2003 to present.
  • Voting Member of International Subcommission on Jurassic Stratigraphy (R. Enay, Chairman). One of two U. S. representatives, 1984 to present.
  • Founder and President of North American Micropaleontology Section, S. E. P. M., 1977-1979. Past President 1980-1981.
  • Past President of Councilor North American Micropaleontology Section, S. E. P. M., 1979-1980.
  • Member of Biostratigraphic Panel ( Deep Sea Drilling Project), 1967-1975.
  • Member of Board of Directors of Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research, 1967-present.