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