Thomas R. Paradise

Thomas R. Paradise

University Professor

Certified Gemologist, Registered Jeweler

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences


Phone: 479-575-4359

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Reared in Millbrae and San Francisco's North Beach (the City's Italian neighborhood), Paradise attended the Mackay School of Mines in Reno, Nevada (BS), and both Georgia (MS) and Arizona (PhD) State Universities where he studied earth and environmental sciences, climatology, cartography & GIS, and Middle East & Mediterranean geography.

He also studied materials and stone conservation, art and architectural history, and cultural resource management as well in Italy (Bologna, Ravenna, Venice, Rome), and Jordan (Amman).  In addition to his undergraduate and graduate education and research in the environmental fields, Paradise has also earned top honors in the study of Gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in Los Angeles (GG), and the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in London at Goldsmith's Hall (FGA), with the International Society of Appraisers, American Society of Appraisers, and the American Gem Society.

He continues to maintain his certification in gemology and expertise in materials and mosaic studies that support his extensive background in cultural and natural heritage management and conservation. In addition to his extensive geomological training in Great Britain and the US, he has studied Classical-Byzantine hardstone, gem, and glass mosaic techniques in Rome and Ravenna

Professor Paradise has been interviewed for segments on CNN, Good Morning America (ABC), CBS, Smithsonian (US), National Geographic Society, Ra'i (Jordan), Fremantle-Discovery, MSNBC and various media organizations, and has appeared on-air on the Discovery Channel, NatGeo, Smithsonian Channel, and PBS' award-winning Nova special 'PETRA: Lost City of Stone' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CowfQRzYoI).

Dr. Paradise works mostly in the Middle East, North Africa or Italy; he has worked in Petra, Jordan, a large ruined city carved out of the beautiful red sandstone of Southern Jordan since 1990.  The University of Arkansas Geosciences team led by Paradise, has been identifying and assessing the impacts of nature and tourists on the famous Valley of the Crescent Moon. By carefully identifying and measuring the influences of climate (i.e. sunlight, moisture), lithology (i.e. density, matrix constituents) biota (i.e. lichen, goats), and visitor populations in the Valley and the region, Paradise has been able to estimate the rates of surface recession and rank these influences affecting rock decay – a significant contribution to weathering and conservation studies.  In addition, recent research and publications regarding a possible catastrophic flood in Petra, in the 4-5th Century have been widely recognized.  His work in Petra has been widely televised on the Discovery, NatGeo, PBD-Nova, and Fremantle television worldwide.

New research directions in Petra include tomb interior microclimatology (i.e. temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide), tafoni development in Petra sandstones, and an extensive assessment and inventory of Nabatean Architecture and its relationships to solar pathways, especially on the solstices and equinoxes. The University of Arkansas' PETRA PROJECT is one of Petra's oldest, ongoing research programs of its kind.

Dr. Paradise has taught classes and seminars in hazards and risk, geomorphology, cartography, cultural & natural resource management, gemology, Islamic architecture and art, physical geography, and regional geography including the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and North Africa.  While teaching at the University of Hawai'i, his classes included geomorphology, environmental studies, cartography and GIS, natural hazard studies, field mapping and research methods.  He was also the Chief Cartographer for the best-seller Atlas of Hawai'i and a co-author of the English and Hawaiian language versions of the Student Atlas of Hawai'i. The Atlas received the 1999 Book of the Year Award by the Pacific & Hawaiian Booksellers Association -- a rare honor. Tom Paradise's extensive cartographic repertoire includes more than 3,000 published maps including work with numerous publishers (including McGraw-Hill, Cambridge, Prentice-Hall, Wiley, University Presses), national agencies (ie US State Department, USIS-USIA, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia), and various corporations.

Professor Paradise is active with student advising and mentorship, research coordination, outreach and related teaching.  His expertise in Middle East and Mediterranean resources, architecture and related issues has been requested by agencies and firms that include the US State Department, CNN, USGS, UNESCO, US NSF, NPR, National Geographic Society, and Natural and Cultural Resource Agencies in Morocco, Egypt, Italy, Tunisia, and Jordan. His work has been supported by various international agencies including National Science Foundation, USAID, USIA-USIS, NMERTP, US State Department, CIES-Fulbright, and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities. In addition to the Department of Geosciences, Professor Paradise is a research scholar affiliated with the University of Arkansas’ King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies -- an informational and educational resource on the Middle East and North Africa for the state, region, and nation.

  • Geographic Field & Research Methods
  • Geography of the Middle East & North Africa
  • Urban Planning, Morphology & History
  • Islamic Art & Architecture (history, techniques, materials)
  • Geology of Gemstones & Gem Materials
  • U.S Federal Public Lands & Policy
  • Natural Hazards: assessment, mitigation, policy
  • Geomorphology: Applied and Coastal Geomorphology
  • Historic Preservation Materials Workshop & Laboratory
  • Introduction to the Natural Environment
  • Computer Cartography & Visualization
  • Advanced Cartographic Techniques, Animation, and GIS

Directed Readings & Graduate Seminars include: Stone Conservation Theory & Practice, Hazards Studies & Risk Perception, Cultural Heritage Management, Roman through Islamic Building Materials and Techniques, Traditional Mosaic Techniques, Conservation and Restoration, Islamic Caliigraphy

  • PhD Arizona State University. Geomorphology and Cultural Heritage Management, 1993
  • MS Georgia State University, Physical Geography and Cartography, 1990
  • FGA Graduate Gemmologist, Gemmological Institute, London, UK, 1983
  • GG Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America, LA (in residence) 1980
  • CG-RJ Certified Gemologist, Registered Jeweler, American Gem Society
  • BS University of Nevada Reno, Geosciences and Mining, 1979

Paradise, T.R. 2018. " Petra's Great Flood -- distal sediment analysis as new evidence", Archaeology in Jordan issue - American Journal of Archaeology, Jordan-ACOR edition (accepted for Winter 2018-2019).

Paradise, T.R. 2018. From Science to Screen in Petra, Jordan, chapter in The Explorers' Log (editor L. Langan), published Winter 2018-2019.

Paradise, T.R. 2018. 'A preservation of technologies: a re-creation of a Nabataean sandstone tomb façade." In Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), Spring 2019: 13pp.

Paradise, T.R. 2018. Petra's Great Flood: Assessing Evidence for a 4th-5thAD Century Catastrophic Flood, chapter in Archaeology & Tourism of Jordan (editor Z. al-Salameen), from the UNESCO Conference at Petra College for Archaeology & Tourism, 3-4 October 2017 (18 pages).

Paradise, T.R. 2017. “The Great Flood of Petra: analysis of a catastrophic flood in the 5th-6th Century”, in The Archaeology & Tourism of Jordan (Ma'an) (Zeyad al-Salameen, ed). Published by UNESCO with the Al-Hussein bin Talal College for Archaeology & Tourism: 18pp.

Wilson, B. S. and Paradise, T.R. 2017. 'Refugee Inclusion in Earthquake Casualty Estimation: A Case Study in South-East Turkey' in Migrants in Disaster Risk Reduction: Practices for Inclusion, Published by the United Nations International Organization for Migration: pp 19-23

Wilson, B. S. and Paradise, T.R. 2017. 'Assessing the impact of Syrian refugees on earthquake casualty estimations in southeast Turkey'. Natural Hazards & Earth Systems Sciences. (March, doi:10.5194)

Paradise, T.R. 2016. ‘Earth-Sun Relationship and Architecture in Petra, Jordan”, American Journal of Archaeology (AJA): October 2016.

Paradise, T. R. 2016. "Earth-Sun relationships and Architectural orientation in Petra, Jordan: An analysis of the principal tombs and structures." In Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), Fall 2016.

Davidson, F.M. and Paradise, T.R. 2015. "Landscape, Environment, and Geography of the Mississippi River Delta Region", chapter in Defining the Delta (editor: J. Collins). University of Arkansas Press.

Paradise, T.R. 2015. “Analysis of sandstone deterioration on petroglyphs, architecture, inscriptions, and dressed surfaces in Wadi Rum, Jordan”, chapter in Desert & Man II, (editor S. Fares). University of Lorraine Publications (Nancy, France): 21pp.

Groom, K., Allen, C., Paradise, T., Mol, L. and Hall, K. 2015 "Defining Tafoni: nomenclature for a globally diverse rock decay phenomena".  Progress in Physical Geography (in press).

Paradise, T.R. and Angel, C.C., Winter 2015. ‘Petra, Architecture, GIS, and the Sun: a landmark discovery in the Valley of the Crescent Moon”, ArcUser (ESRI).

Paradise, T.R. 2014. “Nabataean Stone Dressing and Lithology in Petra, Jordan.” American Journal of Archaeology v.118:4.

Paradise, T.R. 2013. “Rock Weathering Assessment of tafoni distribution and environmental factors on a sandstone djinn block above Petra, Jordan”. Applied Geography 42: 176-185

Paradise, T.R. 2013. “Sandstone Deterioration, Nature, and Tourism: Lessons learned from Petra, Jordan” chapter in Desert and Man (editor S. Fares, G. Chatelard).  University of Lorraine Publications (Nancy, France): 372-397.

Paradise, T.R. 2013. “Rock Weathering and Stone Conservation” chapter in the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (Melanie Kingsley, editor). Chapter 291, Springer Publishing: 1-9pp

Dorn, R., Gordon, S., Allen, C., Cerveny, N., Dixon, J., Groom, K., Hall, K., Harrison, E., Mol, L., Paradise, T.R., Sumner, P., Thompson, T., Turkington, A. (2103). The role of fieldwork in rock decay research: Case studies from the fringe. Geomorphology 1-16.

Paradise, T.R. 2012. “Sandstone deterioration and development of tafoni on an isolated Djinn Block high above Petra, Jordan”. American Journal of Archaeology (AJA) v.116 (7).

Paradise, T.R. and Comer, D. 2012. “Assisting Cultural Heritage Management with GIS in Petra, Jordan”. ESRI ArcNews v.34 (2-Summer).

Paradise, T.R. 2011. “Petra’s Great Flood: evidence for a catastrophic flood in the 5th-6th Century”.  Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), 55: 18pp.

Paradise, T.R. 2011. “Architecture and Deterioration in Petra: Issues, trends and warnings“ in Archaeological Heritage at Petra: Drive to Development or Destruction?” (Doug Comer, editor) for UNESCO-ICOMOS-ICAHM, Springer-Verlag NYC: 87-119.

Paradise, T.R. 2011.  “Conservation in Petra: Successes and Failures“ in Archaeological Heritage at Petra: Drive to Development or Destruction?” (Doug Comer, editor) for UNESCO-ICOMOS-ICAHM Publications through Springer-Verlag NYC: 120-123.

Paradise, T.R. 2011. “Tafoni and weathered stone basins” in Geomorphology (editor G. Pope, J. Shroder), Reed-Elsevier Geosciences Reference Series MORP v.4: 28pp

Paradise, T.R. 2011. “Assessment of tomb humidity, tourism policies, and surface recession in Petra, Jordan”. Annals of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ) v.54: 151-174.

Paradise, T. R. 2011. "Middle East and North Africa" writer/editor/cartographer, ALL of EARTH, Millennium House Press, Sydney, Australia.

Paradise, T.R. 2011. Arkansas: an Illustrated Atlas. Butler Center Publishing with the Institute of Arkansas Studies, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas’ Diane Blair Center (Winter 2010): 70pp

Paradise, T.R. 2010. “Tourism and Chamber Humidity in Petra, Jordan”. Journal of Architectural Conservation v16.2: 63-79.

Paradise, T. R. 2010. "Middle East and North Africa" writer/editor/cartographer EARTH, Millennium House Press, Sydney, Australia.

Paradise, T.R. 2009. “Earthquakes, Islam and risk perception – a case study from Agadir, Morocco”.  Studies in Disasters & Gender, Northumbria University: 29pp  (www.gdnonline.org/resources/agadir-riskperception.doc)

Paradise, T.R. 2008. “Earthquakes and Islam: case studies from Morocco”. Journal of Islamic Law & Culture, v.10(2): 216-233.

Paradise, T.R. 2006. “Perception of Earthquake Risk in Agadir, Morocco: a case study from a Muslim community”. Environmental Hazards v. 6(3): 167-180

Paradise, T.R. 2006. “Seismic Risk perception in a Muslim community”. Journal of North African Studies v.11(3): 243- 262.

Paradise, T.R. 2006 “Geochemical and petrologic assessment of weathering features, surface recession and deterioration in Petra, Jordan” in ICOMOS International Conference Proceedings, Charleston SC: 21pp.

Paradise, T.R. 2005. “Weathering of sandstone architecture in Petra, Jordan: influences & rates”, GSA Special Paper 390: Stone Decay in the Architectural Environment: 39–49.

Turkington, A, & Paradise, T.R. 2005. “Sandstone Weathering: a Century of Progress & Innovation” Geomorphology v.67:229-253.

Turkington, A, & Paradise, T.R. 2004. “Sandstone Weathering: a Century of Progress & Innovation” International Conclave on Geomorphology and Weathering at New York State University Binghamton – Proceedings: 46pp.

Pope, G.P., Meierding, T.C., Paradise, T.R.,  2002. “Geomorphic Approach to Weathering Studies in Cultural Resource Management (CRM)”, Geomorphology v.47: 211-225.

Paradise, T.R. 2002.  “Sandsteinverwitterung und ausprägung in Petra, Jordanien”, Zeitscrift für Geomorphologie v.46: 1-17.

Paradise, T.R. 2002.  “Sandstone Weathering and Aspect in Petra, Jordan”, Zeitscrift für Geomorphologie v.46: 1-17.                                                                                                                                                        

Pope, G.P., Paradise, T.R., Meierding, T.C. 2001. “Geomorphic Approach to Weathering Studies in Cultural Resource Management (CRM)”, Binghamton Conference Proceedings 1999, 17pp.

Paradise, T.R. 2000.  “Architectural Deterioration and Cultural Management Issues in Petra, Jordan: a decade of research” UNESCO/ICOMOS International Congress on Culture and Monuments Proceedings, Venice, Italy. 19pp.

Paradise, T.R. 2000.  “Architectural Deterioration and Aspect in Petra, Jordan” American Journal of Archaeology  (AJA).

Paradise, T.R. 1999.  “Analysis of the weathering of the 'Roman' Theater of Petra” in Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ), v43. 353-368.

Paradise, T.R. 1998.  "The Natural History and Landscape of Petra" in chapter in Petra's Great Temple (editor Martha Joukowsky) Brown University Press: Providence.

Paradise, T.R. 1998.  "Limestone Variability and Weathering, Great Temple of Amman" in Physical Geography v. 19:134-147

Paradise, T.R. 1997.  "Limestone Weathering Analysis, Great Temple of Amman, Jordan”. American Journal of Archaeology v.101, 493-496.

Paradise, T.R. 1997.  "Sandstone Weathering from Lichen Overgrowth, Red Mountain, Arizona" Geografiska Annaler  (Stockholm) v. 79(3):177-184.

Paradise, T.R. 1997.  "Deterioration of Sandstone Tomb Façades in Petra, Jordan" prepared for the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) and the Petra National Trust, 14pp.

Paradise, T.R. 1997.  "Natural Hazards in the Hawaiian Islands" in The Atlas of Hawaii (editors S. Juvik, J. Juvik), University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu.

Paradise, T.R. 1995.  "Sandstone Weathering Thresholds in Petra, Jordan" in Physical Geography v.16:205-222.

Paradise, T.R. 1995. "Deterioration and Weathering of the Roman Theater, Petra, Jordan" in American Journal of Archaeology v.99: 507-508.

Paradise, T.R. 1994.  "Limestone Weathering Rate Analysis" in Roman Architecture: The Great Temple of Amman. (editor C. Kanellopoulos), National Press of Jordan and ACOR, Jordan.

Paradise, T.R. 1994. "Roman Architectural Deterioration in Petra, Jordan" prepared for the assessment of Middle Eastern World Heritage Site Selection/UNESCO. Director Dr. T. Rifai, University of Jordan, Amman.

Paradise, T.R. 1994. "Weathering of the Roman Theater in Petra, Jordan" in American Journal of Archaeology v.98: 542-544 (July 1994).

Paradise, T.R. and Z.Y. Yin. 1993. "Weathering Pit Characteristics and Topography, Stone Mountain, Georgia", Physical Geography v.14: 68-81.

Paradise, T.R. 1990.  "The Archaeological Style -- Influences of Major European and Asian Excavations on the 19th Century".  HERITAGE: Journal of Antique Jewelry & Metals (November).

Paradise, T.R. 1985.  "California Nephrite Jade Occurrence and Distribution", Journal of Gemmological Sciences, British Gemmological Institute.

Paradise, T.R. 1982. "The Natural Formation and Distribution of Greened Quartz", Gems and Gemology, Gemological Institute of America

Tom Paradise has been a professor of at the University of Arkansas since 2000 before which he was a professor in Environmental Studies and Geography at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (since 1993).  He comes with a varied background in Geography, Cartography, Geology and Architectural/Art History.  This unique combination of knowledge has guided his work in the study of architectural deterioration and rock weathering due to environmental influences like climate, pollution, and human use, in addition to investigating natural hazards and risk assessment.  His research has taken him throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, where his expertise has been requested by agencies in Italy, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, in addition to UNESCO and the U.S. State Department,  USIA-USAID, CIES-Fulbright and NMERTP.  From 1998 to 2000, he was awarded a Fulbright to continue his research on architectural deterioration in Petra, Jordan.

Awards related to his academic career include Fulbright Senior Scholar Award (CIES) to Jordan 1998-2000, Professor of the Year at the University of Arkansas (2009), Regent's Award in Teaching Excellence at the University of Hawaii 1998, University of Hawai'i System Spokesman: Catch the Spirit of Hawai'i Campaign 1997-2000, Fantastic Faculty Awards: 90th Anniversary of University of Hawai'i (system-wide)1997, Regent's Award Teacher of the Year at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 1993, Hammond Academic Scholarship in Earth Sciences at University of Nevada at Reno 1976-1980, University (Distinguished) Professor (2016).

  • University Professor (distinguished service, teaching, and research) University of Arkansas (2016)
  • Teacher of the Year Award, University of Arkansas Alumni Association (2010)
  • Teacher of the Year Award, University of Arkansas Associated Students (2009)
  • Pacific Booksellers Book of the Year for The Atlas of Hawai'i (2000)
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar in Petra and Amman, Jordan (1997-1999)
  • Regent's Award in Teaching Excellence, University of Hawai‘i (1997)
  • Teacher of the Year Award, University of Hawai‘i, (1995)
  • Teacher of the Year Award, Arizona State University, (1993)
  • Dean's List, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, (1990-1993)
  • Dean's List, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia (1988-1990)
  • Hammond Academic Scholarship, University of Nevada at Reno, (1976-1980)