The Ramsay Medal is awarded annually at the Annual Meeting (early January) to the postgraduate or recent postgraduate who has been judged to have produced the best publication arising directly from a PhD project in the field of tectonics and structural geology during the previous year. The paper would normally also have been presented as a talk by a post-graduate student at a UK TSG sponsored meeting. The paper should have been written primarily by the student and be based on their own research with no more than normal expected input from supervisors. The prize is awarded at the Annual General Meeting and is named after the late John Ramsay, who passed away in January 2021. The winner receives £200, along with an inscribed medal and a certificate.

Nomination Process

Nominations for the Ramsay Medal are welcome all year round. Judging takes place in December, and the winner is announced at the Annual Meeting in January.

If you would like to nominate an individual for the Ramsay medal, please send by email a PDF copy of there paper to the TSG Secretary. The email should also include:

*   A statement confirming that the paper has been written primarily by the student, based on their own postgraduate research, with no more than normal expected input from supervisors.
*   Whether the nominee has completed their PhD, and if so, the date of completion.
*   The contact email address of the nominee.
*   A web link to the publication online, and the full reference.

If you would like to judge the Ramsay Medal (or nominate someone who would make an excellent judge) then please send an email to the TSG Secretary.

John Ramsay

John Ramsay was the instigator of the UK Tectonic Studies Group and organized its first meeting in 1970. He envisaged that it would be centred around an annual general meeting dedicated principally to allowing postgraduate research students the opportunity to present their work. To this day,  the group continues to flourish. John was a regular attendee of the annual meeting, and served as principal judge on the medal panel, an activity he took most seriously. John spent the first 20 years of his career at Imperial College, where he published his influential textbook ‘Folding and Fracturing of Rocks’.  Subsequently, he spent a short time at Leeds University and then the later part of his career at ETH Zurich, not least for its proximity to his beloved Alps. His approach to structural geology was always firmly grounded in fieldwork and geometrical analysis of structures in particular. For his outstanding research and contributions to the scientific community he was appointed FRS and CBE, and received numerous academic awards. For all this he could not stand pomposity in anybody! He was always a keen and talented cellist, taught music, and wrote a number of chamber music pieces, whilst continuing to carry out fieldwork in the Scottish Highlands. To be awarded the Ramsay Medal is a substantial achievement for a young geoscientist, and it is one of the highest honours the Tectonic Studies Group offers.

By Prof. Ernie Rutter, University of Manchester

At the TSG Annual Meeting Conference Dinner, Cardiff, 2014

Previous Winners

2024 – Johanna Heeb (University of Aberdeen) with David Healy, Nicholas E. Timms, and Enrique Gomez-Rivas. 2023. Rapid hydration and weakening of anhydrite under stress: Implications for natural hydration in the Earth’s crust and mantle. Solid Earth. 14, 985–1003, DOI:

2022 – Sophie Cox (Cardiff University) with Åke Fagereng and Christopher J. MacLeod. 2021. Shear Zone Development in Serpentinized Mantle: Implications for the Strength of Oceanic Transform Faults. JGR Solid Earth, 126(5), DOI:

2021 – Kit Hardman (University of Hull) with Holdsworth, R.E., Dempsey, E. and McCaffery, K. 2020. Nature and significance of rift-related, near-surface fissure-fill networks in fractured carbonates below regional unconformities. Journal of the Geological Society, 177 (1168-1185), DOI: 10.1144/jgs2020-074

Honourable mentions – Anna Bidgood and Christopher Tulley

2020 – Thomas Lamont (University of Oxford) with Searle, M.P., Waters, D.J., Roberts, N.M., Palin, R.M., Smye, A., Dyck, B., Gopon, P., Weller, O.M. and St-Onge, M.R., 2020. Compressional origin of the Naxos metamorphic core complex, Greece: Structure, petrography, and thermobarometry. Bulletin, 132(1-2), pp.149-197. DOI: 10.1130/B31978.1

Honourable mentions – Anindita Samsu, Billy Andrews, and Alessio Lucca

2019 – Roberto Rizzo (University of Aberdeen) with Healy, D., Heap, M.J. and Farrell, N.J., 2018. Detecting the Onset of Strain Localization Using Two‐Dimensional Wavelet Analysis on Sandstone Deformed at Different Effective Pressures. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(12), pp.10-460. DOI: 10.1029/2018JB015898

Highly commended – Alex Coleman & Tara Stephens

2018 – Christopher Harbord (Durham University)  ‘Earthquake nucleation on rough faults’. Geology 45 (10): 931-934, DOI: 10.1130/G39181.1.

2017 – Andrew Parsons (University of Leeds) Thermo-kinematic evolution of the Annapurna-Dhaulagiri Himalaya, central Nepal: The Composite Orogenic System. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 17, 1511–1539. DOI:10.1002/2015GC006184.

2016 – Catherine Mottram (Open University) Using U-Th-Pb petrochronology to determine rates of ductile thrusting: Time windows into the Main Central Thrust, Sikkim Himalaya. Tectonics. 34. 1355–1374. DOI: 10.1002/2014TC003743

2015 – Natalie Farrell (University of Aberdeen) with D. Healy, and C.W. Taylor. 2014. Anisotropy of permeability in faulted porous sandstones. Journal of Structural Geology, 63, 50–67. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2014.02.008

2014 – E Fleming (University of Birmingham) with H. Lovell, C.T.E. Stevenson, M.S. Petronis, D.I. Benn, M.J. Hambrey, and I.J. Fairchild. 2013. Magnetic fabrics in the basal ice of a surge-type glacier. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 118, 2263–2278. DOI: 10.1002/jgrf.20144

2013 – Niko Kampman (Cambridge University) with M. Burnside, Z. K. Shipton, H. J. Chapman, J. A. Nicholl, R. M. Ellam, and M. J. Bickle. 2012. Pulses of carbon dioxide emission from instracrustal faults following climatic warming. Natural Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1451

2012 – Richard Walker (Durham University) with R. E. Holdsworth, J. Imber and D. Ellis. 2011. Onshore evidence for progressive changes in rifting directions during continental break-up in the NE Atlantic. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 168, 27–48. DOI: 10.1144/0016-76492010-021

2011 – Steven A. F. Smith (Durham University) with R. E. Holdsworth and C. Collettini. 2010. Interactions between low-angle normal faults and plutonism in the upper crust: Insights from the island of Elba, Italy. Geological Society of America Bulletin. DOI: 10.1130/B30200.1

2010 – Jiulin Guo (Durham University) with K. W. J. McCaffrey, R. Jones & R. Holdsworth. 2009. The spatial heterogeneity of structures in high porosity sandstones: variation and granularity effects in orientation data. Journal of Structural Geology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2008.12.002 

2009 – Christopher J. Rowan with Andrew P. Roberts. 2008. Widespread remagnetizations and a
new view of Neogene tectonic rotations within the Australia-Pacific plate boundary zone, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth. DOI: 10.1029/2006JB004594

2008 – Carl T.E. Stevenson (University of Birmingham) with William H. Owens and Donald H.W. Hutton. 2007. Flow lobes in granite: The determination of magma flow direction in the Trawenagh Bay Granite, northwestern Ireland, using anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility. GSA Bulletin, 119, 1368–1386. DOI: 10.1130/B25970.1

2007 – Elisabetta Mariani (University of Manchester) with Katharine H. Brodie and Ernest H. Rutter. 2006. Experimental deformation of muscovite shear zones at high temperatures under hydrothermal conditions and the strength of phyllosilicate-bearing faults in nature. Journal of Structural Geology, 28, 1569–1587. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2006.06.009

2006 – Nicola DePaola (Durham University) with R.E. Holdsworth, K.J.W. McCaffrey and M.R. Barchi. 2005. Partitioning transtension: an alternative to basin inversion models. Journal of Structural Geology, 27, 607–625. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2005.01.006

2005 – Charles Gumiaux (University of Rennes). 2004. Strain removal within the Hercynian shear belt of Central Brittany (western France): methodology and tectonic implications. Geol. Soc. Spec. pub. 224, 287–306. DOI: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2004.224.01.18

2004 – Julian Mecklenburgh (University of Manchester), with E.H. Rutter. 2003. On the rheology of partially molten synthetic granite. Journal of Structural Geology 25, 1575–1585. DOI: 10.1016/50191-8141(03)00014-2

2003 – Amir Sagy (Hebrew University, Israel). Dynamic fracture by large extraterrestrial impacts as the origin of shatter cones, Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature00903

2002 – Zoe Shipton (University of Edinburgh) with P.A.Cowie. 2001. Damage zone and slip-surface evolution over micro-m to km scales in high-porosity Navajo sandstone: Utah, Journal of Structural Geology 23,1825–1844. DOI: 10.1016/S0191-8141(01)00035-9

2001 – Taixu Bai (Stanford University), with D.D. Pollard. 2000. Fracture spacing in layered rocks: a new explanation based on the stress transition. Journal of Structural Geology, 22, 1409–1426. DOI: 10.1016/S0191-8141(99)00137-6

1993 – Ken McCaffrey (Trinity College, Dublin). 1992. Igneous emplacement in a transpressive shear zone: Ox Mountains igneous complex. Journal of the Geological Society of London, 149, 221–235. DOI: 10.1144/gsjgs.149.2.0221