12/02/2018- TSG 2018 Prize winners!

Each year at the TSG annual meeting a number of prizes are awarded to outstanding and stellar early career researchers and students. These prestigious awards support and celebrate the next excellent crop of researchers within the tectonics and structural geology community. Well done to all the prize winners at this years annual meeting, hosted at the University of Plymouth in January, and thank you to all of the judges!

Ramsay Medal

The Ramsay medal is awarded to an early career researcher who has published an exceptional independent publication resulting from their PhD thesis, and as always we had a number of excellent nominations this year. The winner of this prestigious award was Christopher Harbord, who is completing his PhD at Durham University, for his outstanding publication ‘Earthquake nucleation on rough faults in the journal Geology. The judges felt that the publication stood out because ‘not only was it impressively punchy and neat, and a pleasure to read, the results are significant’ noting that it ‘challenges conventional velocity weakening/strengthening understanding of fault stability, and contributes to efforts representing the complexity, heterogeneity and structure of natural faults within rupture models. The research is therefore relevant to researchers in a broad range of fields.’

All in all, this is a super piece of work and the judging panel were unanimous in their agreement of its high standard. Christopher is completing his PhD at Durham University and was nominated by Stefan Nielsen, who added that Christopher has shown an outstanding level of independence and original thinking throughout his PhD.

Christopher Harbord, winner of the 2018 Ramsay Medal, enjoying time in the field

Christopher Harbord, winner of the 2018 Ramsay Medal, enjoying time in the field

Other highly commended publications are those of Amicia Lee and Luke Wedmore. Amicia´s publication ‘Modeling the impact of melt on seismic properties during mountain building’ was published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems presents ‘innovative modelling of the effect of melt distribution in migmatites on seismic wave velocities and anisotropy´ and the judges felt that it was ‘an impressive piece of work, presenting a pronounced step forward in the field, and are relevant for the interpretation of seismic data of mid-lower continental crust and in the development of tectonic models.’

The publication ‘A 667 year record of coseismic and interseismic Coulomb stress changes in central Italy reveals the role of fault interaction in controlling irregular earthquake recurrence intervals’ by Luke Wedmore was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. The paper ‘analysed the historical seismic record of the central Apennines to explore the relative importance of co-seismic stress changes and interseismic tectonic loading. The work presents a very nice application of Coulomb stress modelling which the judges are very keen to see applied to other tectonic regimes in the future.’

There was also a special mention to James Gilgannon for his publication ‘Hierarchical creep cavity formation in an ultramylonite and implications for phase mixingpublished in Solid Earth Discussion. Incredibly this publication was the result of his MSc work at the University of Edinburgh and is ‘the first paper to ever map porosity in a shear zone on the micron scale, contributing to the ongoing discussion on the significance of creep cavities in ultramylonites’. Clearly an outstanding student, James is now doing a PhD at Bern.

Congratulations to Chris, Amicia, Luke and James for publishing some outstanding papers. Also thank you to our excellent judging panel, Stephen Cox (Australian National University), Lauren Hoyer (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Alodie Bubeck (University of Leicester), Ake Fagereng (Cardiff University) and Giorgio Pennacchioni (University of Padova).

Dave Johnston Mapping Prize  

The Dave Johnston Mapping Prize for the best undergraduate student mapping dissertation was awarded to Yee-Lap Leung, from Imperial College London. Yee-Lap’s superb mapping project in the Alpesde-Haute-Provence (SE France) focussed on foreland sedimentation and allochthonous salt tectonics in a polyphase deformation setting on the NW margin of the Tertiary Valensole Basin. Yee-Lap has undertaken several junior research projects during his MSci Geology programme, from which he will graduate later this year. Yee-Lap felt the mapping project presented an invaluable challenge and geological training experience. When reflecting on the project, he recalls the strenuous nature of fieldwork; it was physically demanding and mentally challenging. Yee-Lap had to safely traverse across deep gorges and up steep ridges in the field, while trying to unravel the tectonic history. Only much later, once the fieldwork was over and following painstaking reading and repeated hypothesising, did the tectonic history make sense. I expect this experience will be very familiar to many members of the TSG community! Well done, Yee-Lap, and all the best for the next steps of your career.

The runner up was Duncan Perkins from the University of Edinburgh who focused on the geological evolution of the Carboneras Fault Zone, El Saltadoe Bajo (SE Spain). Special mentions also go to Liz Pedley (Birkbeck, University of London) and Lucy Milligan (Durham University).

A huge thank you goes to the judges who took the time and effort to assess all nominations, including Dave McCarthy (BGS), Elisabetta Mariani (University of Liverpool), Tom Blenkinsop (Cardiff University), Mark Anderson (University of Plymouth) and Clare Bond (University of Aberdeen).

Sue Treagus Prize for Best Student Poster  

This year’s winner of the Sue Treagus Prize for Best Student Poster was Alexander Minor, a 3rd Year PhD student from KU Leuven, Belgium. His poster ‘Single Grain Orientation analysis on a naturally deformed quartzite showing a strong room preferred orientation’ was a very detailed discussion of quartz microstructures. The judging panel thought that this poster scored highly in both the visual and originality criteria and clearly conveyed a range of complex data in a concise manner. Furthermore, the poster had a set of clear research questions which were addressed by the presenter.

A special mention also goes to Phoebe Sleath (Durham University) whose poster ‘Remote image analysis of structures in the Precambrian basement of Northern Scotland and possible implications for Lewisian terrane models’ presented research she had carried out as a 1st year undergraduate student! Her work focussed on identifying basement fractures on the North Rona and Sula Sgeir islands using remote sensing. This research was clearly at an early stage but still compared well with many of the other posters. Phoebe is certainly to be commended for her efforts, and we look forward to her future contributions to TSG.

We thank this year’s judges Dave McCarthy, Penelope Wilson, Lucia Perezdiaz and Florian Fusseis for their efforts in assessing all the posters.

Mike Coward Prize for Best Student Talk

The winner of the Mike Coward Prize for Best Student Talk was Amy Hughes from University of Liverpool, who gave a talk on ‘Shear localisation and frictional melting during volcanic flank collapse – Arequipa volcanic landslide deposit, Peru’. The judges felt her talk illustrated a novel approach and was a very clean, easy to follow presentation. She summarised fantastic field observations and provided a very stimulating discussion of the processes involved in volcanic landslides. Amy is currently in the 2nd Year of her PhD studies investigating volcanic flank instability and catastrophic sector collapse with particular focus on their frictional properties.

A close runner up was Giacomo Pozzi (Durham University). His talk ‘From cataclysmic to viscous flow during dynamic weakening of carbonate gouges: insights from acoustic emission monitoring’ illustrated a systematic experimental study with very nice visuals and a convincing summary with high relevance. A special mention also went to Paul Wallace (University of Liverpool) for his very well organized and thought-provoking presentation on ‘Geochemical response to frictional melting in a volcanic conduit: implications for eruption dynamics’.

We thank this year’s judges for their efforts and attention during all the student presentations, which included Sandra Piazolo, Giulio Viola, Stuart Clarke, Graham Lesley and Casey Nixon.

Amy Hughes while enjoying being in the field.

Amy Hughes while enjoying being in the field.

BP Prize

The BP Prize is new this year and is awarded to the overall best student contribution at the TSG annual meeting, as with most years the judging panels for both the talks and posters had a difficult time picking the best contribution. This was partly due to the high standard of student presentations. This year´s BP prize was awarded to Adam Cawood, a 3rd Year PhD student from the University of Aberdeen for his poster showcasing the eRock website (, an open access repository of virtual outcrops. This was slightly different from previous winners in that the panel felt that it was perhaps not the best presentation in terms of scientific content, but there were clear and practical uses and that this work would have significant impact as both a research and teaching tool. The eRock website showcases some superb models of renowned outcrops and has potential for significant impact across the earth sciences.

Winner of the BP Prize Adam Cawood during fieldwork

Winner of the BP Prize Adam Cawood during fieldwork

BritRock Prize

The BritRock prize is awarded for the best PhD presentation (poster or talk) that incorporates a significant element of laboratory rock deformation in the course of the research. A lot of high quality research, involving challenging laboratory methods, was presented at the 2018 TSG and the judging panel (again) had a tricky time picking a winner.

The judges particularly enjoyed the work that Giacomo Pozzi (Durham University) who presented on high velocity friction in calcite, and the novel and carefully designed experiments simulating fluid driven tensile fracture presented by Stephan Gehne (Portsmouth University). The winner was Carolina Giorgetti, a 3rd Year PhD student from Sapienza University of Rome, who combined a series of experiments to support new field evidence for understanding the mechanics of faults bearing phyllosillicates, using saw-cut triaxial experiments and structural geology methods. Her talk ‘Fault reactivation: insights from triaxial saw-cut experiments’ was given to the highest standards, and with fresh and novel scientific conclusions. A worthy winner.

Congratulations to Carolina, Giacomo and Stephan, and thank you to the judging panel, Phil Benson, Dave Healy and Chris Harbord (last year’s BritRock winner).

23/01/2018- TSG announce five bursary’s of £200 to support attendance to the “Young Researchers in Structural Geology and Tectonics”.

TSG are delighted to announce the opening of five £200 bursary’s supporting attendance to the Young Researchers in Structural Geology and Tectonics (YORSGET) conference, 2-6 July 2018! To apply for a bursary please follow the link below:


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