Tectonic Studies Group

A specialist group affiliated to The Geological Society of London

TSG 2024 Prizes

Ramsay Medal

Johanna Heeb

Johanna is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the High pressure and temperature laboratory, Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Paper Title: Rapid hydration and weakening of anhydrite under stress: Implications for natural hydration in the Earth’s crust and mantle. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5194/se-14-985-2023

Mike Coward Prize (best student presentation)

Joe Connolly

“Hi, I’m Joe and I’m currently in the final year of my PhD at the University of Plymouth. 

I’m interested in how fluids flow through faults, and what this can tell us about the evolution of different structures. I use a range of geochemical techniques such as radiometric dating on veins to establish the history of fluid-flow along structures. I then use these data to come up with structural models for a fracture network.”

Sue Treagus Prize (best student poster)

Emily Madoff

Emily is pursuing a PhD at the University of St Andrews, working with the M3Ore lab group. Her research is focussed on how the regional and local structure of Ilimaussaq, a famous layered igneous intrusion in South Greenland, influences the formation of the intrusion’s world-class REE deposits. Emily’s research combines classic field mapping methods with state-of-the-art rock magnetics analyses to collect structural data invisible to the naked eye.

Green Rebel Prize: Best Talk

Akos Kiss

My name is Akos Kiss, a PhD candidate at Durham University. I graduated from Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary with a bachelor in earth sciences. The main areas of my interest are structural geology and tectonics.

I always find that applying my expertise to issues around energy security and environmental protection to be the most rewarding part of my research experience. As part of my Msc project I worked on identifying faults that serve as gas leakage pathways in the Barents Sea. I currently focus my PhD research on the petrophysical characterisation of potential geothermal reservoirs and the experimental investigation of fluid injection induced seismicity.

I believe the role of subsurface in the energy transition will continue increasing. Hence I feel especially honoured to have my talk chosen by Green Rebel for the TSG Awards 2024 – Energy Transition Prize.

Green Rebel Prize: Best Poster

Selina Bonini

I am a 2nd year PhD student in Structural Geology at the University of Bologna, currently working on the Seismic Hazard Assessment of areas affected by Active and Capable Faults.

The aim of my PhD project, which is co-financed by the Italian railways’ authorities (Italferr S.p.A of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group), is to develop a new protocol/set of guidelines for the characterization of site-effects in active fault zones, specifically for railways design purposes. This work includes both detailed fieldwork and modeling. The next step is to use the structural data collected during the geological survey to perform scenarios of Fault Displacement Hazard Analysis suitable for railway planning and construction.

TSG 2024 Annual Meeting

St. Andrews, Scotland

The TSG Annual Meeting will be held 9th-11th January 2024 at St. Andrews, Scotland. A post conference TSG field trip will be offered to all attendees on January 12th.

A registration portal will be made available in early September. We expect early bird registration costs to be ~£110 for students, retired and unemployed and a full rate early bird cost will be ~£240. This discounted rate is expected to be available until mid-november.
Registration includes the ice-breaker reception, two days of conference including coffee breaks, lunches, poster session refreshments and the conference dinner.

Abstract Deadline November 15th 2023

*Bursaries Deadline 30th November
Additionally we have a number of travel bursaries to award, and have extended our deadline until the 30th of November.
The TSG supports students and Early Career Researcher attendance at conferences by providing up to £500 bursary for e.g. conference registration fees, travel, accommodation and subsistence. Up to 4 bursaries are awarded each year. This includes fees for virtual meetings!

Nominations for the Ramsay Medal and the Dave Johnston Undergraduate Mapping Prize are open. These prizes are awarded annually by the Tectonic Studies Group and will be announced at the annual meeting.

        *The Ramsay Medal*
        The prestigious Ramsay Medal is awarded to the Early Career Researcher who has been judged to have produced the best publication arising directly from their postgraduate research project. The paper must be in the field of tectonics and structural geology and been published in the 12-month period before the closing date. It must also have been written primarily by the nominee, based on their own research. The paper would preferably have also been presented at a previous TSG-sponsored conference or event.
        This year the closing date for nominations will be November 17th 2023. You can find out more about the nomination process for the Ramsay Medal on the TSG website: http://tectonicstudiesgroup.org/ramsay-medal/

        *The Dave Johnston Mapping Prize*
        The Dave Johnston Undergraduate Mapping Prize is awarded for the best undergraduate mapping project arising from fieldwork dissertations completed in the past two years. Nominations are open all year round. Due to an increasing number of submissions in recent years, applications are now limited to one nomination per institution.
        Full information about the Dave Johnston Undergraduate Mapping Prize and how to nominate is available on the TSG website: http://tectonicstudiesgroup.org/dave-johnston-mapping-prize/
        A nomination form is available from the TSG website and must be submitted to the TSG Secretary before December 1st 2023.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts, applications and nominations.

TSG 2022 Prizes

Each year at the TSG Annual General Meeting the outstanding work of early career researchers and students is recognised with numerous prizes. These prestigious awards support and celebrate the next excellent crop of researchers within the tectonics and structural geology community. This year’s TSG saw as usual a large number of high-quality posters and presentations, which often made it difficult for the judges to pick a winner. Well done to all the prize winners at this year’s annual meeting, hosted virtually by the Geological Society of London and the Tectonic Studies Group, and thank you to all the judges!

Ramsay Medal

The Ramsay Medal (named in honour of the late John Graham Ramsay) is awarded to an early career researcher who has published an exceptional independent publication resulting from their PhD thesis. After long consideration, the judges awarded this prestigious medal to Sophie Cox from Cardiff University. Her excellent publication “Shear zone development in serpentinized mantle: Implications for the strength of oceanic transform faults.” In the Journal of Geophysical Research combined field and microstructural observations with geochemical analysis to present an evidence-based conceptual model of how deformation and the mode of slip vary along an ocean transform fault.

Sophie is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Cardiff continuing to build on her excellent PhD work in ocean transform fault rheology using a combination of experimental and field-based study.

Dave Johnston Mapping Prize

The Dave Johnston Mapping prize is awarded to the best undergraduate student mapping dissertation in order to recognise outstanding field-based undergraduate work. This year’s prize was awarded to Alice Cunningham from the University of Southampton. Her work on geologically mapping the onshore-offshore geology of Durlston Bay, Dorset integrated high-resolution aerial photography, LiDAR, bathymetry, and fieldwork observations.

The last published geological map of Durlston Bay was completed 30 years prior, so the aim was to interpret and categorise onshore structure and modernise the interpretation by extending observations into the nearshore and offshore zones. Alice is now looking forward to applying her structural interpretation skills to future projects, and she is looking to expand her ability to visualise terrains in 3D during her 4th-year project.

BP Price

The BP Prize is awarded for the overall best student contribution at the TSG annual meeting. This year’s award goes to Cole McCormick for his fascinating talk “An experimental study of the transition from tensile failure to shear failure in Solnhofen Limestone across a range of stress conditions: Does “hybrid failure” exist?”. This work investigated the role of stepped, transgranular, cracks and their interaction to form low-angle shear faults (<10˚). Cole’s presentation challenged the notion that individual cracks were ever subject to combined shear stress and tensile normal stress, while also suggesting that a “hybrid failure” mode may not be appropriate. The judges were particularly impressed by its accessibility and quantity of experiments.

Cole McCormick completed B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees at the University of Alberta (Canada). For his PhD at The University of Manchester, Cole now finds himself studying diagnostic rock textures in fault-controlled dolomite bodies (e.g., cement-supported breccias, fractures, zebra textures) working with Cathy Hollis and Ernie Rutter. This research integrates conventional carbonate diagenesis techniques (e.g., fieldwork, petrography, geochemistry) with triaxial rock deformation experiments. They are particularly interested in the P/T conditions that gave rise to these rock textures as well as the role of fluid-flow pathways, recrystallization, and self-organization.

BritRock Prize

The BritRock prize is awarded for the best PhD presentation (poster or talk) that incorporates a significant element of laboratory rock deformation during the research. The BritRock prize is awarded and sponsored by BritRock, the UK’s Rock Deformation Network.

This year’s BritRock winner is Claudia Elijas Parra, for “Quantifying crack network evolution during failure of a porous rock”. Among the many things the judging panel liked was the clear explanation of methods and statistical analysis and nice context with current methods” and “how Claudia made a complex set of results look very simple, with a very clear presentation style.”

Mike Coward Prize for Best Student Talk

The winner of the Mike Coward Prize for Best Student Talk was Khadija Alaoui for her talk titled “Element mobility in low-grade shear zones and strain accommodation: insights from geochemistry and microstructures of granitoids of central Pyrenees (Axial zone)”

Khadija is a 2nd year PhD student in metamorphic petrology at Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orléans (ISTO) at the University of Orléans, currently working on phyllosilicates deformation and its effect on shear zones formation and fluid circulation (experimental study).

The aim of her PhD project is to investigate the role of micas in strain accommodation and development of shear zones within the upper to middle crust, from the scale of crystal defects to the polycrystalline aggregate. She is combining detailed microstructural and petrological study of the mica-quartz samples experimentally deformed under different temperature and strain rate conditions with the observation of naturally deformed samples. Her PhD is following up on her master’s Project work she presented at TSG and will provide further geological context.

Sue Treagus Prize for Best Student Poster

This year’s winner of the Sue Treagus Prize for Best Student Poster was Bex Robertson for her poster  “Investigating co-seismic reactions in fault cores”. The poster was applauded for clarity of layout, quality of the figures and its overall accessibility.

Bex is currently undertaking her PhD at Durham University, working on co and post-seismic reactions within fault cores and their mechanical consequences. This work involves mechanical experiments simulating earthquake conditions in the lab and geochemical breakdown of samples pre and post “event”. The Alpine Fault in New Zealand, a transpressional plate boundary, is used in this work as a field analogue.

TSG 2021 Diversity Report

In 2021, the TSG Annual Meeting was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic. To build on our 2019 gender diversity report, we wanted to begin gathering diversity data proactively and anonymously. This will enable us to be more inclusive of marginalised genders, avoid mis-gendering participants and to collect a wider range of diversity data. We ran a survey of the presenters and session chairs in March 2021, using Google Forms. The data in this post is based on the 73 out of 115 (63% response rate) responses we received, therefore the data presented here is not a complete picture.  

The survey was designed to specifically gather data on gender (i.e. man/woman/non-binary), and not sex (i.e. male/female/intersex). This survey also collected data on career stage, sexuality, disability, ethnicity and geography – these identities are experience intersectionally, but we present only independent responses to avoid identifying individuals in our community.

The two infographics below summarise the gender and wider diversity of the presenters. We go into more detail in our Diversity Survey Summary and we also look back at the recommendations of Bubeck and Farrell (2019).


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 virtually by the Geological Society of London and the Tectonic Studies Group, 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 Kit Hardman, who completed his PhD at Durham University, for his outstanding publication ‘Nature and significance of rift-related, near-surface fissure-fill networks in fractured carbonates below regional unconformities’ in the Journal of the Geological Society. This research examined basement-hosted fault voids: a widely recognised phenomena both at the surface and in recovered subsurface cores, but largely understudied. Through extensive fieldwork, optical microscopy, and structural analysis, Kit and his co-authors presented an overview of fault voids are formed and filled throughout the brittle upper crust, and provided insights on the controls on fluid transport and storage within otherwise impermeable basement rocks. The  paper presented examples of fault void formation and filling in the near-surface (<1-2km deep), where dilatant fissures are opened and connected to the surface, and subsequently infilled with sedimentary material, which props the fissures open, preserves sedimentary information, and provides a conduit for fluid circulation.

This was an excellent piece of work and the judging panel were unanimous in their agreement of its high standard. Kit is currently a Scientific Officer operating the laser ablation mass spectrometry suite at the University of Hull, having recently completed his PhD at Durham University.

Kit Hardman, winner of the 2021 Ramsay Medal, enjoying time in the field

Other highly commended publications are those of Anna Bidgood and Christopher Tulley. Anna´s publication ‘EBSD based criteria for coesite-quartz transformation’ was published in Journal of Metamorphic Geology, while Christopher´s publication ‘Hydrous oceanic crust hosts megathrust creep at low shear stresses’ was published in Science Advances. Congratulations to Kit, Anna and Christopher for publishing some outstanding papers. Also thank you to our excellent judging panel, Tom Blenkinsop (Cardiff University), Andy Parsons (University of Oxford) and Amicia Lee (Univeristy of Tromsø).

Dave Johnston Mapping Prize

The Dave Johnston Mapping Prize for the best undergraduate student mapping dissertation was awarded to Peter Methley, from University of Cambridge, for their geological mapping of the Geology of the Unité de Taulanne Castellane, Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur, France. The judges were impressed by the attention to detail and publication quality maps.

Peter Methley, winner of the 2021 Dave Johnston Mapping Prize, sitting on the Jurassic-Eocene unconformity.

The runner up was James Ball from the University of Aberdeen who focused on the ‘Structural and Stratigraphic Evolution of Gallego Gorge, Western External Sierras, Spain’. Special mention also goes to Amanda Hughes (Edgehill University) for her geological mapping of Coniston, Cumbria, with an investigation into the Volcanic Event history. A huge thank you goes to the judges who took the time and effort to assess all nominations, including Dave McCarthy (BGS), Lauren Kedar (University of Aberdeen), Billy Andrews (Strathclyde), and Rowan Vernon (BGS).

Sue Treagus Prize for Best Student Poster 

This year’s winner of the Sue Treagus Prize for Best Student Poster was Marguerite Mathey, a PhD student from the University Grenoble Alpes. Her poster ‘Present-day geodynamics of the Western Alps: new insights from earthquake mechanisms’.  Marguerite’s recently completed her PhD and her research focusses on deciphering the links between surface deformation measured by geodesy, and crustal deformation and seismicity in the Western Alps.

Winner of the Sue Treagus Prize Marguerite Mathey, installing a GNSS station on the Argentière glacier in the French Alps

Mike Coward Prize for Best Student Talk

The winner of the Mike Coward Prize for Best Student Talk was Lauren Kedar from University of Aberdeen, who gave a talk on ‘Disorder carbon as a potential strain indicator: a case study in the Haut Giffre, French Alps. The judges felt her talk was an excellent quality presentation with an interesting technique. Lauren presented with knowledge of both their work and the application elsewhere while honestly acknowledging and considering the limitations in their methods. Lauren is currently in the 2nd Year of her PhD studies and focusses on the relationship between thermal maturity and deformation localisation in Alpine carbonates.

Lauren Kedar, winner of the 2021 Mike Coward Prize.

A close runner up was Jorien van der Wal (RWTH-Aachen). Her talk ‘Active tectonics in slowly deforming, intraplate southern Mongolia’ . Jorien recently completed her PhD at RWTH Aachen and is currently at Utrech University.

BP Prize

The BP Prize 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 Isabel Ashman, a 3rd year PhD student from the Rock Mechanics and Deformation Laboratory at the University of Liverpool, for her poster ‘Dilation and compaction accompanying changes in slip-velocity in clay-bearing fault gouges’. Her lab-based research is focussed on the deformation and mechanical behaviour of phyllosilicate-rich fault zones. Isabel received her undergraduate geology degree in 2017 at Durham University and was awarded the Charles Waites Scholarship to continue her studies in Durham with a research masters degree.

Winner of the BP Prize Isabel Ashman during fieldwork.

We thank this year’s judges for their efforts and attention during all the student presentations, which included Simon Oldfield, Hamed Fazlikhani, Lucan Mameri, Phil Benson, Tara Stephens and Toby Dalton.

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. The BritRock prize is awarded and sponsored by BritRock, the UK’s Rock Deformation Network. A lot of high quality research, involving challenging laboratory methods, was presented at the 2021 TSG and the judging panel (again) had a tricky time picking a winner.

The judges particularly enjoyed the work of Marguerite Mathey (Univ-Grenoble-Alpes) who presented on ‘Present-day geodynamics of the Western Alps: new insights from earthquake mechanisms’. The winner was Lucille Carbillet, a 2nd  Year PhD student from University of Strasbourg, 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 presentation Cooking synthetic rocks in the laboratory: preparing “sandstones” with known microstructural attributeswas given to the highest standards, and with fresh and novel scientific conclusions. A worthy winner.

Congratulations to Lucille and Marguerite, and thank you to Phil Benson for judging the prize.

Winner of the Britrock Prize, Lucille Carbillet

Earth Science, Systems and Society Inaugural Special issues

Earth Science, Systems and Society Inaugural Special issues

It is our pleasure to highlight the launch of a new open access journal ES3 (Earth Science, Systems and Society). ES3 is an official journal of the Geological Society focusing on encouraging inclusivity and diversity in publishing, engaging directly with early career researchers, embodying principles of openness and transparency in science, and presenting a forward-looking perspective on geoscience and related disciplines. With a scope covering the breadth of the geosciences, ES3 has a special focus on cross-disciplinary research that showcases the relevance of geoscience to sustainability in society.

As part of this launch, ES3 has announced three special issues. We are seeking contributions for research and review papers. The special issues are

Sustainability in the Extractive Industries

Earth Sciences and the Race to Net Zero

Hazards and Society

More information for each Special Issue is available via the website. We aim for the first articles and Editorial for the sustainability and net zero special issues to be published ahead of COP26 in November 2021, but submissions to the special issues will remain open until December 2022. Submissions for the geohazards special issue are open until 31 December 2021.

TSG@50 keynote by Iain Stewart

Join the Tectonic Studies Group and Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication (Plymouth) and UNESCO Chair of Geoscience and Society, as he discusses the importance of structural geology to meet many of our 21st century challenges – Net Zero, Energy Transition, Natural Hazards and more. Iain’s talk is followed by a panel discussion with structural geologists whose expertise spans geothermal energy, carbon capture and storage, mining, nuclear waste disposal, hydrocarbons and earthquake hazards. – Sign me up

TSG@50 Virtual Fieldtrip

We all miss field work, but since we still can’t really get out together we’re doing the next best thing! We’re kicking off TSG@50 with a virtual fieldtrip to Rhoscolyn on Anglesey, led by Geoff Lloyd (Leeds). Don’t miss this one if you want to learn how the outcrop-scale structures inform our regional-scale understanding of the Rhoscolyn Anticline, or if you want to discuss the new role of virtual geology in the most perfect setting. Be quick, the deadline is on 20th December! – Sign me up

TSG@50 goes online

We are super excited to invitie you to TSG@50, our all virtual 2021 AGM and 50th Anniversary Celebration, in the afternoons from 5th – 8th January!!! As sad as we are not to see you all in person, we promise that the virtual event will be almost as great and there will be plenty opportunity for discussion and networking across academia and industry. Make sure not to miss the abstract deadline on the 23rd November!

Registration is only £10, and free for students! So there’s really no excuse not to be there.

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