2016-17 GSA James B. Thompson, Jr. Distinguished International Lecturers

The 2016-2017 lecture tours are made possible through a gift to the GSA Foundation by James B. Thompson, Jr., whose bequest contributed to the endowment of two lecture tours by distinguished geologists, one a non-North American scientist to tour academic and related institutions within North America, and the other a North American scientist to tour foreign universities and geological institutions. Both tours are arranged under the guidance of GSA International.

The GSA International committee selected Terry Plank (Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory) as the outgoing speaker and Christopher Jackson (Imperial College) as the incoming speaker based on their clear qualifications as scientists as well as their dynamic and clear public speaking.

Terry A. Plank

Terry A. Plank, Ph.D.

Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University

Professor Terry Plank is a geochemist working literally at the edge of phenomena shaping the Earth’s crust. Her research focuses on what happens when tectonic plates collide, forcing one under the other at a subduction zone. Because these collisions generate tremendous heat, they are frequently associated with volcanoes, which Plank uses as a window to the chemical and physical forces deep below the surface. In early work, she analyzed trace metals in deep core samples from rock entering a subduction zone and compared them with magma ejected from associated volcanoes, finding that the magma unexpectedly includes materials from the subducted crust, rather than exclusively new rock formed from the Earth’s mantle. More recently, she has demonstrated that the chemical composition of volcanic rocks reveals the temperature at the point of rock formation, where the subduction plate intersects the mantle. These data are essential for accurate modeling of tectonic geophysics. Furthermore, her observations of certain volcanic minerals that trap water demonstrate the critical role they play in the geochemistry of rock formation at subduction zones (it is water and other volatiles that account for the volcanic explosions) Though the motion of tectonic plates triggers some of the Earth’s greatest spectacles—earthquakes, pyroclastic lava flows, geysers, etc.—the science of plate tectonics is still in its early stages. With painstaking fieldwork, careful analysis, and profound insight, Plank is uncovering details about the complex interplay of thermal and chemical forces that drives this usually imperceptible but remarkably powerful natural force.

Terry Plank received an A.B. (1985) from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. (1993) from Columbia University. Since 2008, she has been a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. Her prior affiliations include the University of Kansas (1995–1999) and Boston University (1999–2007), and her scientific articles have appeared in such journals as Nature, the Journal of Geophysical Research, and Nature Geoscience, among others.

Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson

Professor Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson

Deputy Director (Projects) of MSc Petroleum Geoscience
Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College

Professor Christopher Jackson is Statoil Professor of Basin Analysis at Imperial College, where he is Head of the Basins Research Group (BRG). The BRG at Imperial College London focuses on the geodynamic, structural, and stratigraphic evolution of sedimentary basins. This range of activities is centered around a multidisciplinary group of Earth Scientists who are committed to understanding the fundamental geological processes operating in evolving sedimentary basins, and the application of this understanding to determining the nature, origin and occurrence of natural resources. From 2002-2004 Jackson was employed as an exploration research geologist in the Norsk Hydro (now Statoil) research centre, Bergen, Norway. Since moving to Imperial College, Chris’ research has focused on the tectono-stratigraphic analysis of sedimentary basins, with particular interest and expertise in the application of 3D seismic reflection and borehole data. He uses both traditional fieldwork techniques and seismic data to understand and to investigate the structure and kinematics of rifts and inversion structures, the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of salt-influenced sedimentary basins, and the petroleum potential of structurally complex basins. His current research is focused in three main areas; (i) tectono-stratigraphic evolution of extensional basins; (ii) structural and stratigraphic development of salt basins; and (iii) dynamic subsurface processes. More specifically, his research is focused on rifts that have experienced multiple phases of deformation (i.e. polyphase rifts) and those that have been influenced by salt in the pre-rift mechano-stratigraphic template (i.e. salt-influenced rifts).

Christopher Jackson received the Thompson Distinguished Lecturer Award (awarded by the Geological Society of London, 2016), the Bigsby Medal (awarded by the Geological Society of London, 2013) and the Roland Goldring Award (awarded by the British Sedimentological Research Group, 2011). He has served as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Distinguished Lecturer (2013) and is currently a Visiting Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), University of Texas at Austin. Since completing his PhD in 2002, Jackson has published >100 papers, which have been cited >1000 times.

View Jackson's Tour Schedule

Tour 1 (2017)
30 Jan Ohio State Univ information coming information coming
1 Feb Rutgers Univ noon, Biomedical Engineering Bldg, Rm 102 Roy Schlische
9 Feb Colorado School of Mines www.mines.edu; geology.mines.edu Cheryl Medford
2 March Univ of Oklahoma information coming information coming
2 June Univ of Hawai`i information coming information coming

Tour 2 (2017)
17 April 17 Univ of Texas at El Paso information coming information coming
19 April Univ of Oregon information coming information coming
21 April Virginia Tech information coming information coming
24 April Univ of Conneticut earth.uconn.edu Julie Fosdick
26 April Columbia Univ www.ldeo.columbia.edu Benjamin Bostick
28 April Univ of Arkansas 3-3:50p.m., Geosciences/Environmental Dynamics Colloquium, Gearhart Hall 26 John Burnham Shaw