News Release

Geological Society of America award winners for 2018

Grant and Award Announcement

Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO, USA: The Geological Society of America (GSA) recognizes outstanding scientific achievement and distinguished service to the profession each year at its Annual Meeting & Exposition, held this year in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Highest honors will be presented to Penrose Medalist Kent C. Condie, New Mexico Tech; Arthur L. Day Medalist Jay Quade, University of Arizona; and Donath Medalist (Young Scientist Award) Laurel G. Larsen, University of California, Berkeley.

Incoming GSA President Robbie Gries cordially invites members of the media to attend the awards ceremony and other Annual Meeting events and meet these luminaries at the geosciences award presentations are on Sunday, 4 November, noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Indiana Convention Center.


Penrose Medalist Kent C. Condie is recognized by nominator Robert J. Stern, for "consistent, wide-ranging, and fundamental contributions over the course of his 50-year career to the pure geosciences, particularly to our understanding of the Precambrian Earth." A letter of support by Samuel A. Bowring noted that Condie "is an international leader in the study of continental crust and his many seminal contributions are the result of a lifetime of generating, compiling, and synthesizing geological and geochemical data."

Jay Quade is named the Arthur L. Day Medalist in recognition of his many contributions to understanding paleoclimate, environmental change, tectonic processes, geochemistry, and hominid evolution. Joint nominators Peter W. Reiners and Julio L. Betancourt describe Quade as "rooted in a deep connection to arid and semi-arid environments, [with] an uncanny ability to find, decipher, and understand the historical information they hold, whether in deep time or the recent past."

Laurel G. Larsen earned the Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) and a cash prize of US$10,000 for outstanding achievement as an early career professional. With mastery of applied math, hydrogeology, fluvial geomorphology, and ecology, "she is leading a new wave of systems analysis-based approaches to improve environmental predictions in the face of changing land use and climate," said nominator Judson W. Harvey.


President's Medal of The Geological Society of America

Iain S. Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute, Devon, UK, has been awarded GSA's President's Medal by outgoing GSA President Isabel Montañez in recognition of his "outstanding and sustained efforts in communicating and promoting the geosciences to the international public and scientific community." His long-standing research interests are in interdisciplinary investigations of geological hazards (earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis) and abrupt environmental change.

Doris M. Curtis Outstanding Woman in Science Award

This honor is awarded to a woman who has impacted the field of the geosciences in a major way based on her Ph.D. research. Women are eligible for the first three years following their degree. Andrea Balbas, California Institute of Technology, is the 2018 honoree, nominated by Peter U. Clark for her groundbreaking dissertation research at Oregon State University on the "Application of Cosmogenic Nuclides and Argon Geochronology to Paleoclimate, Paleomagnetism, and Paleohydrology."

GSA Public Service Award

Joaquin Ruiz, University of Arizona, was nominated by Peter G. DeCelles for the 2018 Public Service Award, for "creating a culture of engagement among geoscientists and members of the public, reaching thousands of citizens in numerous programs; for leading the science mission at a major public university for nearly two decades; and for inspiring both scientists and the public to appreciate the power of science."

Randolph W. "Bill" and Cecile T. Bromery Award for the Minorities

USGS geophysicist Rufus D. Catchings was recognized with the Bromery Award for his "service to science in the public sphere and his exceptional research record." Catchings leads field investigations and seismic monitoring along the San Andreas fault system. His nominator was Lisa D. White.

Florence Bascom Award for Geologic Mapping

Kristján Sæmundsson, Chief Geologist (retired) from the Icelandic Geological Survey, was honored for "pioneering geologic mapping and research that revolutionized understanding of Iceland and plate tectonics of the north Atlantic, and fostered geothermal developments of immense societal value." He was nominated by Barry Voight.

Distinguished Service Awards

Three recipients received recognition for their extensive and outstanding service to GSA:

Nazrul Khandaker, City University of New York
Marilyn Suiter, National Science Foundation
Judith Totman Parrish, Professor Emerita, University of Idaho


Photos of the GSA award recipients are online. Citations and responses from the 2018 GSA medal and award winners will be posted on this site after the GSA 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition.

Lists of GSA's Division awardees and newly elected Fellows are also online.

Read more about GSA's medals and awards:

The Geological Society of America is a scientific society with members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

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