Sack Receives 2014 Norman L. Bowen Award

Richard O. Sack received 2014 Norman L. Bowen Awards at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.


Sack_Richard-Norman-Bowen-Award_SIZEDI am very pleased and honored to introduce Richard Sack, the corecipient of this year’s Norman L. Bowen Award of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology. Richard Sack is certainly one of those unique scientists.

His work on the thermochemistry of sulfides proved that experiment and theory have relevance to studying ore deposits. After a decade of sulfide work, Richard returned to solid solutions found in meteorites, most recently, to those relevant to the petrogenesis of calcium-aluminum inclusions in carbonaceous chondrites, defect spinels, and now fassaites. In addition, Richard Sack’s and Mark Ghiorso’s publications on thermodynamics of multicomponent pyroxenes have provided new understanding of the phase relations of these complicated but extremely important mineral systems.

Richard has been an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences of the University of Washington since 1993, and he founded the not-for-profit OFM Research Corporation with Mark Ghiorso in 2005. Richard provided experimental data and constructed solution models for minerals to calibrate the SILCAL model, predecessor of MELTS. Mark and Richard collaborated to produce thermodynamically viable models for minerals, which led to the calibration of the original MELTS software. Mark Ghiorso and his coworkers afterward produced many variants and improvements in models for silicate melts in the code.  This is truly a significant scientific contribution to a quantitative understanding of mineral-melt systems. More than a quarter of a million visits in 2014 alone show the global interest in this software. Norman Bowen would doubtless have loved to check his experimental results against the output of the MELTS.

It is my great pleasure and honor to present to you my friend and colleague, the 2014 Norman Bowen Award corecipient, Dr. Richard Sack.

—Attila Kilinc, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio



Thank you, Attila! I am pleased to accept this Norman Bowen Award on behalf of all the individuals who helped me achieve this recognition. My parents, Bernhard and Mary, and brother, John, are high on this list, as are Ron Brown and Leo Matthew Hall, who introduced me to chemistry and mineralogy, and Philip R. Whitney, who introduced me to coronas in Adirondack mafic granulites and persuaded me to continue my studies in metamorphic petrology with James B. Thompson Jr. During these studies I met many interesting characters, including Tim Grove, Mike Mottl, Barbara Luedtke, Nicolas DarBois, Steve Bushnell, Ed Stolper, and Dave Walker. I am forever in the debt of Dave, Ian Carmichael, and Jim Thompson for arranging for the postdoc that enabled me to meet Hal Helgeson, Peter Lichtner, and the MELTS architect, my colleague at OFM Research and long-term collaborator, Mark Ghiorso.

I also thank Attila Kilinc, Atilla Aydin, Cliff Kubiak, Dave Gaskell, Arvid Johnson, Tom Tharp, Mark Ghiorso, Marc Hirschmann, Bruce Nelson, Nick Hayman, John Fitzpatrick, and Bill and Betty Clinkenbeard, Scott Kuehner, Carl Hager, Dave McDougall, Ed Mulligan, Jamie Allan, and Victor Kress for their sage advice, friendship, assistance, and collaboration. I am grateful to Phil Goodell and Lisa Hardy for introducing me to practical mining geology, Peter Lichtner for helping me keep my signs straight, and my former graduate students Ken Raabe, Roy Hill, Mike O’Leary, Lauren Gee Carroll, William Azeredo, Denton Ebel, Daniel Harlov, Shuvo Ghosal, Irfan Yolcubal, Alexey Balabin, and Nathan Chutas for doing the hard work that makes all this possible. I thank my family, Odee, Filo, Milo, and O’Win, and their predecessors Olde, Fidelity, and Morgan, for always racing to my side. And, finally, I want to thank the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology section of the AGU for this honor.

—Richard O. Sack, OFM Research, Redmond, Wash.

Ghiorso Receives 2014 Norman L. Bowen Award

Mark Ghiorso received 2014 Norman L. Bowen Awards at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.


Ghiorso_Mark-Bowen_Award_SIZEDMs. President, thank you. First of all, Mark, thanks for inviting me to be part of this night when we celebrate your career and the use of quantitative thermodynamic models to understand magmatic processes. It is a great pleasure to be here.

Mark is part of a generation of petrologists who worked with Ian Carmichael at Berkeley. From that amazing nursery of talent, Mark emerged as the leading force in the development of thermodynamic models of magmas and coexisting minerals. Mark proceeded to develop a comprehensive description of the phase relations between minerals and melt in magmas, an effort that took some 15 years to yield its first version. That Mark pursued this is a testament to his vision and perseverance. Albeit imperfect, MELTS allows us to rigorously model the evolution of magmas and the associated mineral and volatile assemblages. The 1995 paper alone has drawn more than 1500 citations, and altogether, Mark’s work has drawn more than 6000 citations. These are not empty metrics; they are a clear demonstration that MELTS has become part of the modus operandi of petrology and geochemistry and of the tremendous influence of his work.

But Mark is much bigger than MELTS. Mark is an incredible teacher, as you could see this morning in full display. Mark is a fabulous mentor. I cannot overstate his influence in my own career. His students include two former Bowen awardees and a Macelwane awardee, one of whom is about to also receive the Mineralogical Society of America’s Dana Medal. Such a track record of mentorship is worthy of an award by itself.

Mark has always had the clarity and vision to understand that computational thermodynamics is just a tool to address important scientific questions. From partial melting in the mid-ocean ridges, to the phase relations in the deep mantle, to the evolution of silicic magmas in the shallowest crust, Mark has been involved in work that has greatly influenced our thinking.

It could not be more fitting for Mark to receive the Bowen Award. First, Mark’s work builds directly on the legacy of experimental petrology mastered by Bowen. Secondly, Mark has been a fundamental contributor to the effort of putting such experimental work onto solid theoretical footing. Finally, Mark has managed to create the tools that allow every petrologist to perform calculations that are unfathomable to most of us. And he has done so while addressing fundamental problems in petrology and geochemistry.

I wish Mark had dedicated some of his time to the cloning business because we could use a few more copies of him. But he is not looking back at his career; he’s looking forward, creating unbelievably clever and powerful methods to address petrologic problems, as he says, at the speed of thought. We have been incredibly fortunate to have Mark devote his time and energy to petrology and geochemistry, and we can be assured of many more productive years in his career.

Members of the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (VGP) section, it fills me with tremendous joy to call all of you to join me in congratulating Master Ghiorso as he receives a 2014 Norman L. Bowen Award.


—Guilherme A. R. Gualda, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN



It is both exhilarating and humbling to be awarded an honor named after Norman L. Bowen.  I can’t help but ask, “What would Bowen think about this choice?”  Would he be appalled, indifferent, or intrigued?  I hope that his response would be the last.

I was both an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, during the 1970s.  I went to Berkeley because it was the local school, because tuition was essentially free, and because I was fascinated as a high school student with hot springs, volcanos, and, in particular, the work of Howell Williams and Arthur L. Day.  Day was no longer living, but Williams was still alive and at Berkeley.  I got to Berkeley and began to take courses from Garnis Curtiss and Charles Gilbert and this young guy with a funny cockney accent named Ian Carmichael.  Then, as a junior I took a class from Hal Helgeson.  That changed my life because I discovered in Hal the style of scientific pursuit that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.  I stayed at Berkeley for graduate school, deciding to work with Ian.  It has always been important to me to work with people who have a sense of humor.  Carmichael had a brilliant mind, an uncanny ability to motivate and mentor students, but most of all he had a great sense of humor.

At Berkeley my fellow graduate students included Charlie Bacon, Wes Hildreth, Frank Spera, Gail Mahood, Jim Luhr, Jon Stebbins, and Mark Rivers.  I thought it was normal to be surrounded by intellect of this caliber, and I did not realize how lucky I was.  I took courses from Leo Brewer, Ken Pitzer, and Jon Prausnitz, and I was able to hover about Helgeson as he completed his seminal synthesis of the thermodynamic properties of aqueous solutions and the rock-forming minerals.

Ian Carmichael ignited my interest in the thermodynamics of silicate melts, and he shared with and encouraged the work which has occupied me since that time. Ian introduced me to Richard Sack, from whom I learned all about the thermodynamics of solid solutions.  That was another extraordinary stroke of luck, as was working with Ed Stolper, whose generosity of spirit stands out as a high point in my career.

I want to thank the faculty at the University of Washington, where I worked for 23 years, especially my first two chairs, John Adams and Tom Dunne, for encouraging me to do what I do even if I could not get it funded.  In addition, I thank my extraordinary students Peter Kelemen and Marc Hirschmann for their gifted insights and my consummate experimental colleague Victor Kress. I have since 2005 had the great fortune of working with Guil Gualda, who introduced me this evening.  That collaboration has been so much fun that I hope it never ends.  I want to thank him for nudging me to work on silicic magmas that I never thought would be so fascinating.

It is a wonderful thing to receive the Bowen Award, and I sincerely thank the committee and the VGP membership for selecting me for this magnificent honor.

—Mark Ghiorso, OFM Research, Redman, WA

Jackson Receives 2014 Hisashi Kuno Award

Matthew Jackson received the 2014 Hisashi Kuno Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “accomplishments of junior scientists who make outstanding contributions to the fields of volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology.”


jackson copyMatt Jackson was a student of Stan Hart at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who pioneered the use of intraplate volcanism to investigate the structure and causes of mantle chemical heterogeneity.  Matt’s work has well shown how much fundamental information remains to be extracted from the compositional variations in intraplate volcanism.  His thesis involved very fine scale laser ablation isotope analysis of melt inclusions from Samoa and confirmed that the radiogenic signature derives from recycled crust in the mantle source of these lavas.  Matt and student Rita Cabral recently again used micron-scale measurements to detect processes operating over gigayear timescales and whole-mantle circulation when they found mass-independently fractionated sulfur, which had once been in the Archean atmosphere, in modern igneous sulfides.  In between these discoveries, he stepped back in scale to use whole-rock compositional variations to document that some large igneous provinces derive from a mantle source formed within <200 million years of Earth formation.  In work with a previous Kuno Award winner, Raj Dasgupta, Matt showed that the mantle compositional reservoirs defined by Stan Hart using trace elements and isotopes are expressed as well in major element composition, which has critical consequences for the dynamic behavior of the different components during their circulation through the mantle.  Matt showed that the bipolar Kea-Loa chemical signature seen in Hawaii is common to many other hot spot traces, with implications for the way that hot spots sample the deepest parts of the mantle.  Matt’s success reflects his energy and enthusiasm, a well-developed ability to converse, impressive analytical talents, and, perhaps most importantly, his ability to see in, and extract from, complex data sets the answers that they contain to fundamental questions in solid Earth science.  His research focus and magnitude of achievement make him a most deserving recipient of an award named in honor of Hisashi Kuno.

—Rick Carlson, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington DC



Thank you, Rick, for your kind words, and for all of your support. And thanks to the Kuno committee and to my nominators for this truly unexpected award. This is an auspicious way to start my career with a terrific bunch of colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I want to thank a few of the people that have inspired me to pursue geochemistry and have fun doing so.  Phil Ihinger and the late Karl Turekian inspired me to pursue research at Yale, and after working in Phil’s lab, I was “fired up” about studying hot spot volcanism in graduate school.

So I signed up for 5 years with Stan Hart at the WHOI-MIT Joint Program, and working with Stan was a lot of fun.  In fact, Stan often described doing geochemistry as “having fun,” and the philosophy stuck. I cannot imagine working with a more supportive graduate advisor. Rounding out the geochemical “dream team” were Nobu Shimizu and Mark Kurz, and a lot of really neat ideas were born during conversations in their offices.

 Al Hofmann seemed to be ever present and was not shy about keeping me in line!

My postdoc at Carnegie continued the fun started at WHOI. Rick Carlson was supportive of exploring a lot of neat ideas, and I consider myself lucky to have his mentorship.  Steve Shirey and Erik Hauri completed the ideal trio of mentors and created a fantastic postdoc experience.

Now I have students of my own, and they are teaching me how to have even more fun: Rita Cabra, Ellie Price, Julie Klath, and Floyd Jaggy. I am lucky to work with each of you.

My family has been incredibly supportive, and I am here today because of my family’s role in my life. My wife, Anna, has been my closest ally and friend and my strongest supporter.  None of this would have been possible without you.

—Matthew Jackson, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

Fulton Receives 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Patrick Fulton received the 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early career contributions in tectonophysics.


Fulton_Patrick-Jason_Morgan_Early_Career_Award_SIZEDThe American Geophysical Union Tectonophysics section is pleased to present the 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award to Patrick Fulton for his fundamental contributions in the fields of fault mechanics and earthquake energetics. In the time since his Ph.D., Patrick has amassed an exceptional research record and has established himself internationally as a leader in measuring the frictional dynamics of faults. He has also emerged as a leader and statesman for a cohort of early career scientists and as an effective and accomplished mentor.

Patrick’s success can be traced in large part to his extraordinarily broad and deep expertise in numerical modeling, field data collection, and analysis of laboratory data. In his Ph.D. research focused on the San Andreas heat flow paradox, Patrick conducted a series of numerical modeling experiments to clarify arguments for a low friction fault and to rigorously investigate the role of fluid overpressures in fault weakening. As a postdoc with Rob Harris at Oregon State University and then with Peter Flemings at the University of Texas, Patrick brought his considerable quantitative skills to analyses of laboratory friction experiments, vitrinite reflectance data as indicators of frictional heating, gas hydrate dynamics, and geodetic and marine heat flow data. Most recently, as a research scientist at University of California, Santa Cruz, Patrick has taken the lead in the temperature observatory for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Japan Trench rapid response drilling (JFAST) project. The results have, for the first time, resolved the coseismic friction on a major fault and show that it is much lower than previously thought.

As is evidenced in all of his work, Patrick attacks complicated numerical problems efficiently and with keen foresight and identifies connections between his results and the broader geological context that have not been obvious to others. We look forward to his continued success at solving major geophysical problems with his unique and thoroughly modern toolkit.

—Demian Saffer, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Emily Brodsky, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA



I am deeply honored to receive this award. The kind citation reminds me of how grateful I am to have so many great mentors. I would particularly like to thank and acknowledge Demian Saffer, Rob Harris, Peter Flemings, and Emily Brodsky. Their encouragement and support have given me a great freedom to develop into the scientist that I am today; I continue to look up to them in many ways.

I would also like to thank Fred Chester and Jim Mori, the cochiefs of the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project. They succeeded in the tremendously difficult job of leading a tremendously difficult project, and I am thankful for their belief in our ability to do impossible things and the encouragement that they, and the IODP program in general, have provided to so many early career scientists such as myself.

Likewise, I would also like to thank my other colleagues and collaborators, including the rest of the JFAST team both offshore and on and the others with whom I have had great joy working with over the years and have learned from considerably.

I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a number of great students. Their hard work and inquisitiveness keep me on my feet and continually remind me of how wonderful a field of science it is that we explore.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends who have made this life of science and exploration fulfilling even when times are hard and stressful. This award further stokes my desire to do good work. It also inspires me to continue to help other upcoming scientists and students feel as welcome and encouraged within this community as I do.

Thank you very much.

—Patrick Fulton, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Schaeffer Receives 2014 Study of the Earth's Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award

Andrew Schaeffer received the 2014 Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Schaeffer_Andrew_SEDI-Graduate-Research_SIZEDAndrew Schaeffer received his B.Sc. in geophysics from the University of British Columbia in 2006 and a M.Sc. in seismology from the University of British Columbia in 2009. He recently completely his Ph.D. in global surface wave tomography under the supervision of Sergei Lebedev and Chris Bean jointly at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland. His research focuses on the structure and dynamics of the Earth’s upper mantle and transition zone, imaged using surface wave tomography, receiver functions, and geodynamic modeling.

Bosco Receives 2014 Basu Early Career Award in Sun-Earth Systems Science

John Bosco has been awarded the Sunanda and Santimay Basu Early Career Award in Sun-Earth Systems Science. He presented a talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Habarulema_John_Bosco_-SPA-Basu_SIZEDJohn Bosco has been awarded the Sunanda and Santimay Basu Early Career Award in Sun-Earth Systems Science. The award recognizes an individual scientist from a developing nation for making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society. Bosco’s thesis is entitled “A contribution to TEC modelling over southern Africa using GPS data.” He presented a talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif.

John Bosco received his B.S. in physics and mathematics with education from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda, in 2004, B.S. Honors in astrophysics and space science at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2005, and a M.Sc. in space physics from Rhodes University, South Africa, in 2008 under the supervision of Lee-Anne McKinnell and Pierre Cilliers. He received a Ph.D. in space physics from Rhodes University, South Africa in 2011 under the supervision of Lee-Anne McKinnell and Ben Opperman.  He is currently working as a researcher within the space science and applications group at the South African National Space Agency, Hermanus, South Africa.  His research interests include ionospheric modeling and characterization, ionospheric electrodynamics, observational data analysis on traveling ionospheric disturbances (including mapping), and other space weather–related studies.

Evans Receives 2014 Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science

Rebekah Evans received the 2014 Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually to one early career scientist (no more than 3 years post-degree) from the United States in recognition of significant work that shows the focus and promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society.

Evans-Rebekah-SPA-US-Basu_SIZEDRebekah Evans received her B.S. in physics from the University of Delaware in 2006 and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in physics from George Mason University in 2011 under the supervision of Merav Opher. From 2011 to 2014 she participated in the NASA Postdoctoral Program in the Heliophysics Science Division of Goddard Space Flight Center. She is currently working as a physics teacher in Ft. Worth, Texas. Her research interests include the heating and acceleration of the solar wind and the evolution of solar eruptions.

Scherrer Receives 2014 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Award

Deborah Scherrer received the 2014 Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of significant and outstanding impact on students’ and the public’s understanding of our science through education and/or outreach activities.


Scherrer_Deborah-SPARC-Education-and-Public-Outreach-Award_SIZEDDeborah Scherrer is the finest example of a professional deserving of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Richard Carrington (SPARC) Award. She is a long-time American Geophysical Union member who has had (and continues to have) a significant and far-reaching impact on public and student understanding of space physics and aeronomy on a local, national, and global scale. There is no one in the field today who can match the sustainable worldwide impact of her achievements.

I have known Deborah professionally for over 15 years and have enjoyed the privilege of serving with her on pioneering projects to embed successful education programs in scientific research environments, to provide support for scientists contributing to education, and to bring the wonders of solar and space physics to underserved teachers and students in the United States and around the world.

Deborah is founder of the Stanford SOLAR Center and director of its highly successful educational programs and award-winning website, in association with NASA solar spacecraft missions.  From my perspective as a co-creator of NASA’s (then) progressive Education & Public Outreach (E/PO) policy for space missions, Deborah’s vision in developing the SOLAR Center’s innovative framework helped to operationalize and exemplify what a successful space mission education program could be.

Especially notable among Deborah’s many accomplishments is her leadership of a project to distribute scientific instrumentation (sudden ionospheric disturbance (SID) monitors) to high school students worldwide.  The monitors are very low frequency receivers that detect solar influences on the Earth’s ionosphere.  The project to distribute and support the use of SID monitors was greatly enhanced as part of her catalytic role in developing the education program of the International Heliophysical Year (IHY).

SID monitors are now deployed at over 900 sites around the planet where high school students and teachers are using them as the centerpiece of authentic research experiences that develop new capacities and awareness in space physics and aeronomy science. The program is being sustained as part of the United Nation’s (UN’s) International Space Weather Initiative where it supports UN aims to cultivate new space science capacities and interests in developing regions of the world.

—Cherilynn A. Morrow, Aspen Global Change Institute, Basalt, Colo.



Many of you were passionate about science as a child.  You probably had tremendous parental support and the encouragement of teachers, family, and friends who bought you telescopes and tools.  You went to the “right” schools, got your Ph.D., and here you are.  That is not my story.  As a kid, I was passionate about astronomy.  But there were no role models, no mentors, no supportive parent, no resources, no encouragement from teachers, and the college I wanted to attend (the California Institute of Technology) didn’t accept women at the time.  I did go to college and graduate school and had a fine career in computer science, but my passion for astronomy lingered.  One day, thanks to my wonderful and supportive husband, Phil Scherrer, I quit my high-paying high-tech job in Silicon Valley and moved to Stanford to develop solar science education programs for NASA.

Never have I been happier or more rewarded—working with underserved teachers and students all over the world who just want a chance to learn, to participate in science.  I am so thankful to have had these opportunities.  I’ve been mentored by the best, including Cherilynn Morrow and Pat Reiff, two other SPARC award winners, and I’ve worked with outstanding scientists, educators, and students whose enthusiasm for science is boundless. I am humbled and proud to be among them and to have had the opportunities in this amazing career.

I am especially here for the students, the ones like me, who didn’t get the chances.  I believe every child has the birthright of access to science knowledge and understanding the universe we live in.  Thank you, dear friends, for recognizing me with this award and for giving me these glorious opportunities to share the joy and excitement of solar and space science!

—Deborah Scherrer, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

Qin Receives the 2014 Fred L. Scarf Award

Jianqi Qin has been awarded the Fred L. Scarf Award. He was formally presented with the award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Qin_Jianqi_SPA-Scarf_SIZEDJianqi Qin has been awarded the Fred L. Scarf Award. This award is given to an honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar-planetary science. Qin’s thesis is entitled “Numerical modeling of the inception, morphology and radio signals of sprites produced by lightning discharges with positive and negative polarity.” He was formally presented with the award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Jianqi received his B.S. and M.Sc. in physics from Nanjing University in 2006 and 2009,  respectively, and received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2013.  He is currently working as a postdoctoral scholar in electrical engineering under the supervision of Victor P. Pasko at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park.  His research interests include computational plasma physics, atmospheric and space electricity, and gas discharge physics.

McLaskey Receives 2014 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award

Gregory C. McLaskey received the 2014 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes the scientific accomplishments of a young scientist who makes outstanding contributions to the advancement of seismology.


McLaskey_Gregory-Keiiti_Young_Scientist_Award_SIZEDGregory C. McLaskey earned his B.S., magna cum laude, in civil engineering from Cornell University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, the latter in 2011. In grad school he was awarded an National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He then spent 3 years at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park on a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship. This fall he began a faculty position at Cornell in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Greg has derived new insights on earthquake physics through a series of innovative experimental studies.  Using a direct shear apparatus that he designed and built, including transducers that are calibrated with Green ‘s functions for the experimental geometry, he found that laboratory-generated earthquakes with longer recurrence intervals generate more high-frequency energy (McLaskey et al., Nature, 2012).  This relationship is also seen for small natural earthquakes and suggests that fault healing time plays a role in determining earthquake spectra.

In his postdoctoral work on the large-scale rock friction apparatus at the USGS in Menlo Park, Greg found that clusters of high-frequency foreshocks can occur in a slowly slipping patch of the experimental fault if the rate of applied local shear stress is high enough, suggesting that the transition between aseismic and seismic slip is modulated by the local stress field (McLaskey and Kilgore, Journal of Geophysical Research, 2013).  Another striking result is that populations of tiny seismic events (magnitudes of −6 to −7) have stress drops that are comparable to larger natural earthquakes (McLaskey et al., Pure and Applied Geophysics, 2014).  This result indicates that stress drop is independent of seismic moment, a concept proposed by Keiiti Aki.

Greg is now building an experimental lab at Cornell, and his unique blend of seismology and rock friction studies has great potential to further our understanding of the physics of earthquake faulting.

—Karen M. Fischer, Brown University, Providence, R. I.



I am deeply honored to receive this year ‘s Aki award. I would like to thank my graduate advisor, Steve Glaser, for creating such a great experimental laboratory and for the freedom to “play” with seismology in that lab. It was by experimenting with different materials, sensors, and laboratory seismic sources such as ball impact and fracture that I was able to build my intuition about the way seismic waves are generated and propagated. I would also like to thank Roland Bürgmann for broadening my view of Earth science, for his encouragement, and for welcoming me in his lab meetings. Finally, I would not be where I am today without my fantastic colleagues and mentors at the earthquake science center at the USGS in Menlo Park. In particular, Nick Beeler was supportive of me from day one. Brian Kilgore: thanks for not letting anyone retire that 2-meter apparatus and for dedicating so much time to it. Dave Lockner: it has been so exciting to work with you and to write papers together. I look forward to continuing laboratory earthquake experiments that explore more closely their physics, mechanics, and scaling relationships.

—Gregory C. McLaskey, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.