• Credit: 2009 Bill Youngblood

Michael Gurnis Receives Geology Award

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) named Michael Gurnis, Caltech's John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, a 2014 recipient of the Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award.

The award honors the authors of the best original article published in the AAPG Bulletin each year. Gurnis shares the $1,500 cash award with coauthor Sonja Spasojevic (MS '07, PhD, '11) for their 2012 article "Sea level and vertical motion of continents from dynamic earth model since the Late Cretaceous." The article was a key part in Spasojevic's 2010 Caltech doctoral thesis.

"I am very grateful to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for the recognition of our work linking long-term sea level change to the dynamics of plate tectonics and the earth's deep interior," says Gurnis. "I would also like to acknowledge the generous support of Statoil, the Norwegian oil company, which provided the primary support for this work."

Gurnis' research at Caltech centers on local, regional, and global geological and geophysical observations to better understand the processes related to plate tectonics and deep mantle dynamics. His lab develops sophisticated computational models to study geological and geophysical properties. In addition, Gurnis is director of the Seismological Laboratory at Caltech, an internationally recognized center for the study of earthquakes, seismic monitoring, and fundamental science that underpins geophysics and seismology.

The Wallace E. Pratt Memorial Award is named in honor of a founding member and fourth president of the AAPG.

Written by Brian Bell