The unifying model mentioned in the forward for “Building the Geological Foundation” is, of course, plate tectonics. The concept of plate tectonics arose mainly in the 1960’s from the collective observations of geologists and geophysicists, and its inception marks a major juncture in geological thought. Before the 1960’s, the foundation geologists made observations in the context of good faith that a mechanism for how the Earth works would eventually be formulated and agreed upon. After the 1960’s and the plate tectonic revolution in geology, most studies have been directed at verifying detailed aspects of, and advancing the plate tectonics model.
The Pioneers in this section had active geological careers that overlapped with the plate tectonics revolution; they made significant observations in the Appalachian-Caledonide system, both before and after the 1960’s, that contributed to advancing the plate tectonics model.
Marland P. Billings - 1902- 1996
Marland Pratt Billings was an American Structural geologist who was considered one of the greatest authorities on North American geology. He was born in 1902 in Boston and received his AB, AM, and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1923,1925. and 1937, respectively. He began teaching at Harvard in 1931 where he remained for the rest of his career.
During his career, he conducted research in many areas of New England, the U.S. and the world. Most of his work was carried out in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This work was published in the Geological Society of America (GSA) Bulletin in 1937, and was titled: “Regional Metamorphism of the Littleton-Moosilauke Area, New Hampshire”. This paper remains today a seminal contribution to the understanding of the bedrock and structural geology of the western White Mountains and for the northern Appalachians. Billings continued this work into the Presidential Range and in 1941 the GSA published his next paper on the area, “Structure and Metamorphism in the Mt. Washington Area, New Hampshire”. In 1955, The United States Geological Survey (USGS) published his Geologic Map of New Hampshire and in 1975 he published the Geology of the Gorham Quadrangle, New Hampshire-Maine.
In recent years his work has been used by numerous researchers who have been able to build upon his rigorously detailed observations, his disciplined analyses and careful conclusions to verity the newly emerging concepts of plate tectonics and the origin of the Appalachian Mountains.
By Walter Anderson: Modified from “Windswept, Quarterly Bulletin of the Mount Washington Observatory,” vol.38, No. 1, Spring 1997, pp. 53-54.
Philip Burke King – 1903 - 1987
Philip Burke King was one of the foremost geological mappers and synthesizers of the 20th century. He is best known for his large-scale tectonic syntheses as well as mapping studies in northeastern Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains, and west Texas. Most of his career was spent with the U.S. Geological Survey, although he also held academic positions for short periods at the University of Texas (Austin), the University of Arizona, UCLA, and the University of Moscow.
Phil King was born in Richmond, Indiana (1903) and raised in Iowa City, Iowa. His father was a professor of psychology and education at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). At this school, Phil obtained his BS (1924) in geology with a minor in art. He was a classmate of Marshall Kay (another IAT Pioneer), whose father was the head of the geology department. Phil also obtained his MS in geology (1927) at the state university, working on a project in west Texas. During his MS studies, he took a position as instructor at the University of Texas where he met visiting professor Charles Schuchert of Yale; Schuchert convinced King to come to Yale for his PhD. (1929) and continue his studies on west Texas. In 1930, N.H. Darton was compiling a new geological map of Texas and recruited King to work for the U.S. Geological Survey in order to get information on the poorly known west Texas area. King would spend the bulk of his career with the USGS until his official retirement in 1973.
King, renowned for his ability to concisely synthesize geological data, started his large-scale map compilations with a USGS assignment to outline the structural geology of the United States for the International Geological Congress of 1933. Published as one of the guidebooks, it was accompanied by one of the two earliest tectonic maps of a country (the other a Russian map published at about the same time). His career as a synthesizer continued with the 1944 publication of Tectonic Map of the United States by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Also, during the war years, the USGS assigned him to search for manganese deposits in the southern Appalachians. These studies expanded and led to the eventual publication of two classic USGS Professional Papers, Geology of northeasternmost Tennessee (with H. Ferguson, 1960) and Geology of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina (with R. Neuman and J. Hadley,1968). While undertaking these studies, King continued to exercise his artistic abilities acquired in undergraduate years, as all of his reports were illustrated by his own, superb, drawings that help to characterize his work; it has been said that his ‘bacon-strip’serial cross-sections included in the professional papers are among the finest illustrations of geologic structures available.
After the war, King continued his Appalachian studies and he was involved in multiple regional geologic compilations including tectonic maps of the southern and central Appalachians and a book The Tectonics of Middle North America. His assistants during this time termed his large-scale maps ‘King-size’ maps. The Tectonics of Middle North America led to his most recognized publication amongst a profusion of high-quality works – The Evolution of North America (1959). John Rodgers (another IAT Pioneer) proclaimed it “certainly the best description of the geology of North America ever written by one person.” As usual, King illustrated most of the book himself. It was published on the eve of the plate tectonic revolution in geology; its clarity and accuracy were remarkable – when he published a revised edition (1977) for a now plate tectonics saturated audience, the new ideas were incorporated with little difficulty. Clearly, his Evolution of North America proved to be a solid foundation for the advent of plate tectonic theory. Following this book, King continued regional studies, publishing the Tectonic Map of North America (1969), and the Geologic Map of the United States (with H. Beikman, 1974). Like the Evolution of North America, his Tectonic Map of North America, although based on geosynclinal theory, stands the test of time and continues to be useful in a plate tectonic world.
Phil proved, truly, to be King in the theory and practice of preparing regional to continental scale tectonic syntheses and maps. He had an unsurpassed talent for rigorous geological analysis, accurate synthesis, and clear and artistic presentation of his findings.
G. Marshall Kay - 1904 - 1975
G. Marshall Kay was born in Paisley, Ontario, in 1904, but grew up mainly in Iowa City, Iowa. His father, George Frederick Kay, a distinguished geologist, was professor of Pleistocene geology at the University of Iowa, as well as the state geologist of Iowa. Marshall received a B.S. (1924) from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from Columbia University (1929). Following his graduate studies, he lectured at Barnard College (1929-1931). Subsequently, he became an instructor at Columbia University (1931), where he attained the rank of professor (1944) and ultimately was appointed Newberry professor of geology (1967). Kay’s specialty was Paleozoic stratigraphy; he viewed the regional distribution of strata in time and space as records of geosynclinal and continental evolution. He had an extraordinary memory that was developed through memorization exercises with railroad timetables and baseball statistics. Throughout his career he received multiple awards and honors, including, most noteworthy, the prestigious Penrose Medal (1971).
His early research (1930’s) on the Hounsfield metabentonite (metamorphosed ash) eventually led to more realistic portrayals of Appalachian (and global mountain belt) paleogeography and significantly, of how continents evolve. Kay demonstrated that the Hounsfield extended from New York State to the Midwest and that its source was in the southeastern Appalachians, upon what was traditionally viewed as a Precambrian crystalline borderland. From these studies he developed the idea that volcanic rocks in the Appalachians were products of Paleozoic eugeosynclines, or island arcs, and that these arcs, rather than an ancient borderland, rimmed North America. His paper “Paleogeographic and palinspastic maps”(1945), summarized some of these concepts and very likely had a strong influence on fellow ‘Pioneer of Appalachian Geology’, Harold Williams. Kay’s substitution of relatively young magmatic arcs for ancient borderlands helped to firmly establish the hypothesis that the North American continent grew outward through time instead of being a fixed, stagnant mass. This concept was an important step towards the realization of plate tectonics. Through his stratigraphic studies he also distinguished many other forms of geosynclines and these studies culminated in the publication of his famous Geological Society of America Memoir 48, North American Geosynclines (1951).
The advent of plate tectonics in the late 1960’s confirmed Kay’s ideas of magmatic arcs at the margins of continents and illuminated the tectonic significance of his various types of geosynclines. He fully embraced this new tectonic standard and in 1967 Kay convened the famous Gander Conference, an ‘International Conference on Stratigraphy and Structure Bearing on the Origin of North Atlantic Ocean”; he edited an encapsulation of the conference, North Atlantic – Geology and Continental Drift (1969). Marshall remained active in field research until his passing in 1975.
J. Tuzo Wilson -1908 - 1993
J. Tuzo Wilson was a Canadian scientist who achieved worldwide acclaim for his contributions to the theory of plate tectonics which had an important bearing on the theories of continental drift, seafloor spreading, and convection currents within the earth.
Wilson was born in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. His father was of Scottish descent and mother was a third-generation French Canadian. He received a degree in geophysics from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 1930. He obtained other related degrees from St. John’s College, Cambridge. He obtained his doctorate in geology in 1936 from Princeton University. After completing his studies, Wilson enlisted in the Canadian Army and served in World War 11. He retired from the army with the rank of Colonel. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards: In 1969 he was made an officer of the Order of Canada and in 1974 promoted to the rank of Companion of that order; awarded in 1975 the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London and a Gold Medal by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society of Canada; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of Canada, and The Royal Society of London and Edinburgh. He was elected President of the American Geophysical Union and served as the Director General of the Ontario Science Centre.
In the early 1960’s, Wilson became the world’s leading spokesman for the revived submarine theory of continental drift, at a time when prevailing opinion held that continents were fixed and immovable as described in his 1965 paper entitled, “A New Class of Faults and their Bearing on Continental Drift “. Whereas previous theories of continental drift had conceived of plates as either moving closer together or further apart, Wilson asserted that a third kind of movement existed whereby plates slide past each other. This theory became one of the bases for plate tectonics, which revolutionized the geological sciences in the 1970’. His name was given to two young Canadian submarine volcanoes called the Tuzo Wilson Seamounts. The Wilson cycle of seabed expansion and contraction (also called the Supercontinent cycle) bears his name.
John Rodgers - 1914 - 2004
John Rodgers was born (1914) in Albany, New York. He received a B.A. in 1936 and an M.A. in 1937 from Cornell University, earned his Ph.D. from Yale in 1944. His graduate school years were interrupted by his WW11 service from 1939 to 1946 in the U.S. Geological Survey and as a scientific consultant to the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
In 1946 Professor Rodgers joined the Department of Geology at Yale and became a full professor in 1962. He served as chair from 1964 to 1967. “I collect mountain ranges” he often said in describing his work. From fieldwork begun in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee, he developed a detailed, first-hand, encyclopedic knowledge of the entire range from Nova Scotia to Alabama. He was known among his colleagues as “Mr Appalachian Mountain Man”. He retired from Yale in 1985 and died in 2004 at the age of 89.
In his 1970 book “The Tectonics of the Appalachians” considered a model of scientific writing, John Rodgers argued that the Appalachian mountain range actually had once extended south into Mexico and northwestern South America, and from northwest Africa through Spain and Great Britain to Norway and eastern Greenland—thus lending early support to the theory of continental drift.
His concern with the dynamic processes that shaped the Earth’s surface was demonstrated in his 1985 “Bedrock Geologic Map of the State of Connecticut.” Unique for its time, it showed the seemingly stable floor of this state records a history of lateral shift of vast sheets of rock over immense intervals of time.
For contributions in his field, Professor Rodgers was awarded the 1981 Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America, the Prix Gaudry of the Geological Society of France in 1987, and in the same year, the Fourmanier Medal of the Royal Academy of Science, Fine Arts and Letters. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as President of the Geological Society of America. John was editor of the Journal of Science from 1954 to 1995.
He was best described as believing that geology was best learned in the field, with disputes carried out on the outcrop.
Excerpted from Yale Bulletin & Newsletter, March 2004
Robert B. Neuman - 1920 - 2013
Robert Neuman was born (1920) a third generation Washingtonian (DC). He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Subsequently, Bob served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, leaving as a lieutenant. Using the GI Bill to support his graduate education, he earned his PhD in Geology from Johns Hopkins University (1949). That same year, he married Arline (Ross) Neuman and together they spent many years on Shin Pond in northern Maine.
Bob was a scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey at the U.S. National Museum, Washington D.C., from 1949-1985. Following his retirement in 1985 he was an emeritus scientist of the Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution. Bob Neuman’s specialty was paleontology, and specifically, brachiopods. Much of his fieldwork and research focused on Early Ordovician brachiopods of the Appalachians in northern Maine with forays into New Brunswick and Newfoundland and the Caledonides of Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. His ‘base’ for field studies was centered in northern Maine, where he conducted fieldwork for more than 30 years. During that time, he worked closely with the Maine Geological Survey.
Robert Neuman made innumerable contributions throughout his career to the geology of Maine and the northern Appalachians. Bob recognized that the Early-Middle Ordovician brachiopods in north central Maine, were of, what he termed, ‘Celtic’ faunal province – an open ocean, peri-Gondwanan fauna quite distinct and separate from Laurentian contemporaries in other Appalachian rocks that lay to the west. He also noted that the Celtic fauna had been eradicated by the Late Ordovician, implying that the early Paleozoic Iapetus Ocean had closed by this time, and that the North American Appalachian margin was colliding with Gondwanan crustal blocks.
These findings eventually led to a more accurate portrayal of how the Appalachian chain evolved and of how Paleozoic oceans closed to eventually form the supercontinent of Pangea. Bob’s studies in northern Maine also led to his recognition of an Early Ordovician episode of faulting and folding that he termed the ‘Penobscottian orogeny’, an event now recognized throughout the northern Appalachians.
In 2006, the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail recognized Bob’s contributions to Appalachian geology (the fundamental premise of the IAT) by naming the Grand Pitch lean-to on the East Branch (near Mt. Katahdin) in his honor. Bob was a natural mentor who introduced many students and peers to Appalachian geology through field expeditions.
James B. Thompson - 1921 - 2011
Jim Burleigh Thompson, Jr. was born on November 20, 1921 in Calais Maine. He graduated cum laude from Dartmouth with an A.B. in geology. He spent 4 years, 1942-1946, in the Army Air Force as a weather forecaster. After the war he entered graduate school at M.I.T. and received his Ph.D. in geology in 1950.After a short Instructorship at M.I.T., Jim joined the faculty at Harvard in 1950 and retired as emeritus professor I 1992.
Jim was interested in a thermodynamics and geochemistry and the properties in the Earth that revealed changes of physical properties of rocks with depth. Jim’s Harvard colleague, Marland Billings, led to their joint supervision of about 26 Ph.D. theses that dealt with the bedrock geology of New England. In 1954 Jim proposed that the Northern Appalachians contained huge fold nappes, similar to the Alpine nappes of Switzerland-a revolutionary idea at the time. This hypothesis was later verified and extended by additional research and has become an integral part od understanding the geological complexity of the Appalachian Mountains. His paper, on ”The Thermodynamics Basis for the Mineral Facies Concept,” applied work on chemical thermodynamics to metamorphic rocks containing fluids, thus putting earlier observations on a firm chemical and mathematical basis. This work is indelibly woven into the fabric of much of the research on metamorphic rock research in Appalachian geology.
Jim Thompson firmly believed that to understand better the origins and occurrences of rocks it is essential to have and understanding of the structures and properties of the minerals making up the rocks.
By Walter Anderson: modified from Harvard Gazette; Tributes.com.
E-an Zen - 1928 - 2014
E-an Zen was born in Peking (Bejing), China, on May 31, 1928. When war between China and Japan broke out in 1937, his family split up and endured numerous difficulties during the war. They returned to “Free China” in 1942 and lived in Chungking from 1942 to1946.
In 1946 the family came to the United States on a converted troop ship and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where E-an attended high school. Prior to this, his early education was provided by tutors, parents and through self-learning. As an undergraduate he attended Cornell University from 1947-51 where in 1950 he attended field camp in Phillips, Maine. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955, he spent three years as a postdoc at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and then as Assistant Professor at North Carolina University. E-an joined the United States Geological Survey in 1959 until his retirement in 1989, going on “sabbatical” about once a decade to teach at Caltech, 1962, MIT, 1972, Princeton, 1981.
E-an worked primarily in the northern Appalachians, especially on paleogeographic reconstructions and the origins of exotic terranes in New England. Much of his geologic contributions centered on the Taconic Mountains in Vermont where he refined its internal stratigraphy and structure and identified and confirmed the reality of the Taconic over-thrust (klippe) and its relationship to the newly emerging theory of Plate Tectonics.
E-an has received: the 1986 Arthur L. Day Medal, Geological Society of America; Roebling Medal, Mineralogical Society of America, 1991; John Coke Medal, Geological Society of London, 1992; Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Dept. of Interior, 1979; Outstanding Contributions, American Geological Institute, 1994 and the Thomas Jefferson Medal, Virginia Museum of Natural History, 1995. He served on many elected and honorary positions including: President, Geological Society of Washington, 1973; President, Mineralogical Society of America, 1975-1976; elected to National Academy of Sciences, 1976; elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1982; and President of the Geological Society of America 1991-1992.
Extracted from: Wikipedia; Memorial by U.S.G.S.
David Stewart - 1928 – 2015
David Stewart was born in Springfield, Vermont. He earned his BA in geology and chemistry in 1951, his Master of Arts in mineralogy and petrology in 1952 and his Ph.D. on petrology and mineralogy in 1956; all degrees were from Harvard. Dave worked his entire career for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an agency of the Department of Interior, from 1955 to 1995. David continued to do research as an emeritus geologist until late 2007.
His career was notable for the diversity of earth science research. Throughout his career David worked on field studies of the geology of coastal Maine and synthesized many types of earth-science research to determine the tectonic events involved in the evolution of the Appalachian Mountains in Maine. In mid-career, he coordinated and supervised the USGS efforts in a collaborative project between the USGS and the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), the Maine Geological Survey (MGS) computer experts, and numerous universities to determine the structure of the Earth’s crust in Maine and adjacent Canada. The information and research combined with digital Geographic System formulated a prototype Geographic Information System (GIS) for combining and synthesizing regional earth science data.
Dave remained active in research in Maine until 2007, in collaborating with Canadian colleagues and focusing on geological correlations with Atlantic Canada and the geochemistry and geochronology of volcanic rocks of the region.
By Walter Anderson: modified from Wikipedia & Legacy.com.
William H. Forbes - 1931-2011
William (Bill) Forbes was born March 27, 1931, Bingham, Maine, son of the late William and Florence (Dickinson) Forbes. The family moved to Caribou, Maine where Bill graduated from Caribou High School, class of 1949. A precocious science student, particularly in geology, Bill achieved a highly academic status in geology with emphasis in paleontology. His numerous publications reveal that he identified and described numerous invertebrate fossil localities in Northern Maine, all previously unknown to the scientific community. Over many years as a professor of geology at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), he shared his research and discoveries with the scientific community. He developed a solid professional status with colleagues from the University of Maine at Orono, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard College, University of Connecticut, Rutgers, University, Boston College, United States Geological Survey, and Maine Geological Survey. His 1983 research/teaching sabbatical at the University of Cork, Ireland and co-authored publications reveal extensive research in the Canadian Maritimes and Europe which set base-line comparison and verification for the emerging geologic process of plate tectonics.
Bill was a cofounder of the UMPI Geology Club and an active member of the Geological Society of Maine, which highlighted many of his instructive field trips. His paleontological colleagues named the Devonian plant, Psilophyton forbesii, in honor of his numerous contributions to the field. This plant is among the many specimens that Bill collected from the Trout Valley Formation. Bill died May 3, 2011 after a long battle with cancer.
Walter Anderson & modified BDN Obit.
Douglas W. Rankin – 1931 – 2015
Doug Rankin was born (1931) and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. In his early years, he helped maintain trails as a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club Trail Crew. He received a BA cum laude in Geology from Colgate University (1953), an MA (1955) and PhD (1961) from Harvard University. Following his PhD, Doug became an Assistant Professor of Geology at Vanderbilt University (mineralogy and petrology), but soon joined the United States Geological Survey (1962) as a research geologist, a position he occupied for 53 years (the last 19 years as a Scientist Emeritus). At the USGS he also served as the Chief of the Eastern Branch of Regional Geology. Rankin’s international reputation was a synthesizer of Appalachian geology, based on extensive fieldwork focused on tectonics and volcanism. In addition to his Appalachian studies, Doug was also involved in geologic mapping in the Sierra Nevada of California, the Absarokas of Wyoming, the US Virgin Islands, as well as research on the Charleston, South Carolina earthquake of 1886 and for the Lunar Sample Office of NASA. He was a Fellow of GSA (1966) and the Mineralogical Society of America (1988).
Doug is one of a few geologists who conducted regional geological mapping projects in both the northern and southern Appalachians. He, along with fellow ‘Pioneer of Appalachian Geology’ John Rodgers were the only authors to publish a paper in both volumes of the classic Studies of Appalachian Geology volumes (Northern and Maritime, 1968; Central and Southern, 1970). Doug’s Appalachian research started with his PhD studies of the Traveler Rhyolite in northern Maine, where he established himself as an expert on the Devonian magmatism of the Piscataquis volcanic belt. His Appalachian research continued with his USGS mapping of the Winston-Salem, NC (1972, 1975), where his special interest was in the Neoproterozoic rift magmatism and glacial deposits of the Mt. Rogers, Virginia, area (1993).
Doug continued his Appalachian career with what was to be his last study, an ambitious project investigating the geology of the upper Connecticut River valley in New Hampshire and Vermont (1992-2014). His regional Appalachian experience led to a new interpretation of Appalachian regional scale bends (salient and recesses) in the structural grain of the mountain range (1976) and to an impressive series of regional syntheses and accompanying maps (Pre-orogenic terranes; Proterozoic rocks east and southeast of the Grenville front; Continental margin of the eastern United States: Past and present) for the Decade of North American Geology volumes by the Geological Society of America. He was also one of four compilers of the most recent synthesis of Appalachian geology, the Lithotectonic Map of the Appalachian Orogen (2006).
Doug’s wife, Dr. Mary Backus Rankin, accompanied him for most of his fieldwork in later years; she noted “Doug’s quest to unravel the complex ancient geologic history of the earth led him to spend long periods of time in beautiful and remote places. He loved to hike mountain ridges, swim in lakes and streams, and nap in the sun after lunch.” He was active in the field until he passed away in early 2015, following a brief illness.
Bob Marvinney & Jim Hibbard
Peter Robinson - 1932 - 2019
Peter Robinson was born in Hanover, NH in 1932 and died in. Trondheim Norway in 2019. He attended Dartmouth College where he received an AB in geology in 1954 and in 1958, and an MSC in geology. As an NSF Fellow, in 1963 he earned a PhD at Harvard University. He began his career with detailed mapping in the central New England Appalachians, where his work was centered on the detailed tracing of well -defined stratigraphic units, with extensive measurements of minor structural features as a key to regional geometry and kinematics and combined with detailed petrography. Petrology and geochemistry in order to understand sedimentary and igneous protoliths and to understand their metamorphic evolution.
Professor Robinson recognized that the central New England region appears to lie on a tectonic plate that collided with Laurentia to produce the Ordovician Taconian orogeny, was impinged on by Avalon to produce the Devonian Acadian orogeny, and then was further activated during the late Paleozoic Alleghenian orogeny. Although as low as greenschist facies, which in central Massachusetts, in Silurian-Devonian rocks, represents the most intense regional metamorphism known in the Appalachians.
Peter was a complier for the USGS for the Bedrock Geologic Map of Massachusetts 1983. With support from the Norwegian Geological Survey and Lund University, Sweden he traced Caledonide cover nappes into regions of western Norway, where they are deeply in-folded in the Baltic that has been metamorphosed into the eclogite facies. Peter spent part of the last two decades on field work in Norway and applying his talents to a new area of mineral magnetism.
By Walter Anderson: extracted from, University of Massachusetts, Dept. of Geosciences, 2019.
Harold "Hank" Williams - 1934 - 2010
Harold “Hank” Williams was a premier Canadian field geologist known worldwide for his keen ability to glean critical relationships from the rock record and compile these data into meaningful regional syntheses; he packaged these talents with both an unforgettable personality and notable musical talent. He was a leading expert on the geology of the Appalachian mountain system.
Hank was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland (1934), where he grew up in its rough and tumble Southside Hills section. He received his BSc (1956) and MSc (1958) at Memorial University of Newfoundland and proceeded to earn his PhD (1961) from the University of Toronto. He joined the Geological Survey of Canada (1961) and built a strong reputation for field geology and regional synthesis.
It was during his tenure at the survey that he penned one of his most influential scientific papers, The Appalachians in northeastern Newfoundland: A two-sided symmetrical system, which appeared in the American Journal of Science in 1964. In this paper, he described evidence for an early ocean; his description influenced one of his former mentors and fellow ‘Pioneer of Appalachian Geology’, J. Tuzo Wilson to subsequently pose the question “Did the Atlantic Ocean close and then re-open?” in the title of a Nature article in 1966 – an entirely novel idea at the time.
In 1968 Hank accompanied Ward Neale to the small geology department at his alma mater, Memorial University. While helping Ward forge a world-class geology department, Hank proceeded to create an impressive scientific career, accumulating numerous awards and accolades. At the relatively young age of 38 he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1972. He was the first to receive both the Past President’s Medal (1976) and the Logan Medal (1988) from the Geological Association of Canada. He was the first recipient of the Douglas Medal from the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists in 1981. He was the first geoscientist to be awarded an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship (1976 to 1979) and the first scientist to hold it for four years. In 1984, he was named university research professor, one of the first two at Memorial University; he was also named the James Chair Professor at Saint Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1989. Finally, he held the position of Alexander Murray professor from 1990 to 1995.
His most recognized contribution to Appalachian geology is his 1978 Tectonic Lithofacies of the Appalachian Orogen, a colorful, 11’ long landmark map that was the first to bring into focus all of the first order attributes of this classic mountain belt. It is truly difficult to miss when unfurled on any wall, or in at least one reported case, a bedroom ceiling.
As a scientist of global renown, he is recognized best by the geological community for his acute observational abilities, his unique insights in synthesizing regional geology, and for his reserved, mischievous, and compassionate personality. As well, he was known to a much broader social spectrum for his down to earth wit, common sense, and ability to play multiple stringed instruments and the tin whistle.
Pierre St. Julien - 1934 – 2000
Pierre St. Julien was a first-class Quebecois field geologist known throughout North America. He projected a gentle confidence and he was recognized as a leading expert on the bedrock geology of the Quebec Appalachians.
Pierre was born (1934) and raised in Montreal, P.Q.; he received his BSc (1958) from the Université de Montréal and proceeded to earn his PhD (1962) from the Université Laval. He joined the Québec Ministry of Natural Resources (1962) and established a strong reputation for field geology and regional synthesis. He left the ministry in 1969 for a faculty position at Université Laval, where he undertook teaching and research until his retirement in 1995, attaining the rank of full professor.
Pierre’s publications on the Québec Appalachians have been considered as benchmarks in the understanding of the orogen. With Claude Hubert, he co-authored the first tectonic synthesis of the Québec Appalachians in the widely cited American Journal of Science paper “Evolution of the Taconian Orogeny in the Québec Appalachians” (1975); this study represented the first attempt to integrate all relevant geological data into a plate tectonic framework for the Québec Appalachians.
In collaboration with another IAT Pioneer of Appalachian Geology, Hank Williams, Pierre recognized that ophiolite massifs, extending discontinuously from Brompton, southern Québec, to Baie Verte, northwest Newfoundland, delineated a first-order tectonic boundary in the Canadian Appalachians, the Baie Verte-Brompton Line. This structural zone separates early Paleozoic rocks of the native Laurentian passive continental margin to the west, from early Paleozoic Iapetan oceanic and volcanic arc rocks to the east. These findings were published in another landmark paper “The Baie Verte-Brompton Line: early Paleozoic continent-ocean interface in the Canadian Appalachians” (Williams and St. Julien, 1982).
Pierre headed up the first geological-geophysical study on the structural geometry of the lower crust in the Québec Appalachians and published the results in “A deep structural profile across the Appalachians of southern Québec” (St.-Julien, Slivitzky, and Feininger, 1983). It is noteworthy that this investigation was undertaken well before the nation-wide crustal study undertaken by the Canadian Lithoprobe Program and served as an important reference for that program.
In 1998, the Quebec Professional Association of Geologists and Geophycists recognized Pierre’s career achievements by awarding him its highest honor, the “Grand Mérite Géoscientifique Côme Carbonneau”. Pierre retired from Université Laval in 1994 where he had trained many aspiring Appalachian geologists. Pierre is remembered not only for his geological achievements, but also for being an optimistic person, who was always in good mood, readily accessible to his students and colleagues, and as someone who made friends wherever he worked.
Dr. Michel Malo; photo courtesy of Dr. Donna Kirkwood
Paul E. Schenk - 1937 - 2000
Paul E. Schenk was born on February 29, 1937 in Stratford, Ontario. In 1963 he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and joined the Department of Geology at Dalhousie University. At the time of his retirement in 1997, he was a respected Carnegie Professor in the renamed Department of Earth Sciences.
In 1971, Schenk published his provocative benchmark paper entitled “Southeastern Atlantic Canada, Northwestern Africa and Continental Drift“, in which he postulated that rocks of the Meguma Group, which underlies a significant portion of Nova Scotia, were formed off of the coast of Morocco and about 400 million years ago became attached to North America as a ‘chip of Africa’, during the closure of the proto-Atlantic Ocean. Many subsequent papers strengthened his earlier conclusions which, with characteristic courage, he constantly challenged.
Even after retirement and throughout his lengthy illness with ALS, he continued to work on his academic research, preparing his final papers for publication. Paul’s dedication to undergraduate teaching was legendary, and his long and distinguished research career legitimately earned him a world-wide reputation. Over the years the hallway to his office and lecture room was a well-worn path for students, visitors and tons of rock. Paul embraced challenge and his spirit of adventure led him to complete the Halifax marathon, trek up Mount Everest and, with his wife and daughters, circumnavigate the globe in a VW microbus. A man of many talents, he was equally at ease and engaged whether his hands were on a geological hammer, a camera, a leash, a tiller, or a violin bow. He enriched the lives of all who knew him.
Adapted from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald memorial to Paul Schenk
Robert Keith Stevens - 1939 - 2014
Bob Stevens was one of the most respected twentieth century contributors to the geology of Newfoundland and of the Appalachian mountain system. He was known for his care, patience, persistence, observational powers, and original interpretations in the extensive fieldwork he undertook in Newfoundland. He openly discussed his findings but was too modest or reluctant to promptly publish them and eventually his ideas became public domain and were often taken up and attributed to others.
Bob was born in South London, England, on May 13, 1939. He received his undergraduate degree (with honors) in geology from Exeter University (1961) He immigrated with his wife, Eileen, to Newfoundland in 1963, where he initiated his lifelong research of the geology of western Newfoundland under the guidance of Dr. Hugh Lilly at Memorial University. His MS thesis (1965) focused on the stratigraphy and structure of Humber Arm, where he astutely recognized the deeper water Humber ‘series’ sedimentary rocks as allochthonous on carbonate platform rocks; he also correctly attributed structurally chaotic zones in the area to the emplacement of the allochthons. Bob continued research in western Newfoundland as a PhD. student advised by William Church at the University of Western Ontario, and subsequently moved on to a post-doctoral position (1969-1971) at Erindale College, University of Toronto, under the tutelage of J. Tuzo Wilson (another Appalachian pioneer). His post doc studies led to a faculty position at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1971, where he conducted research in Appalachian geology until his retirement in 1994. In retirement, he continued geological pursuits, but also expanded his interests to botany and photography.
Bob’s seminal research in western Newfoundland documented the allochthonous nature of the Humber Arm Group, the Bay of Islands ophiolite complex, and the Cow Head Group. From these observations, he was the first to recognize and establish the mechanism and detailed timing of the Taconic orogeny – i.e., Early to Middle Ordovician subduction of the eastern continental margin of North America beneath a fringing magmatic arc system. Bob summarized these fundamental contributions in a paper entitled Cambro-Ordovician flysch sedimentation and tectonics in west Newfoundland and their possible bearing on a proto-Atlantic Ocean, which was included in the Geological Association of Canada Special Paper No. 7 (1970). This paper was published more than 15 years before geologists in New England re-invented his ideas. Bob’s research in western Newfoundland ultimately led to the scientific justification for establishing Gros Morne National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Stevens had a mischievous sense of humor. Dr. Peter Cawood (St. Andrews University) recalled that on one occasion near Corner Brook (NL) as they passed one of those domes used to store salt for winter road maintenance, Bob, with a twinkle in his eye, told a story of when he was taking of a group of Russian geologists on a tour past this same spot he told them that the dome was an experimental fast breeder reactor.
Richard Fortey has noted that “the wide compass of his interests coupled with a reluctance to push himself forward led to him not being recognized as widely as he should have been as one of the seminal Appalachian geologists.” In recognition of his contributions to Appalachian geology, two trilobite species have been named in his honor – Calculites stevensi by Richard Fortey, and Bolbocephalus stevensi by Doug Boyce.
Liberally condensed from Memories of Bob Stevens, compiled by Tony Berger, Geology, Winter 2015 issue, and from information provided by Eileen Stevens.