Dr. John Orwin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Dr. John Orwin of the Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, has received the 2005 J. Ross Mackay Award in recognition of his original contributions to Canadian geomorphology that integrate modern geographical techniques with traditional field work. Dr. Orwin has designed suspended sediment sensors and applied these instruments and electronic field mapping to data collection in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Canadian Rocky, Selkirk, and Coast Mountains, Iceland and, recently, Antarctica. His use of computer-aided cartography and photogrammetry, multivariate statistics and GIS visualization brings a new perspective to long-standing problems.
The following recent publications demonstrate Dr. Orwin’s innovative approach to data collection, assimilation and presentation in geomorphology:
At the 2005 CGRG AGM Dr. Orwin will present his J.R. Mackay lecture entitled " Exploring geomorphic processes in glacial environments: the role of instruments and statistics". Dr. Orwin will focus his talk on recent advances in technology that have allowed researchers to develop low-cost instruments designed specifically for measuring proglacial suspended sediment transfer patterns. Dr. Orwin will demonstrate how installation of suites of these instruments has led to new insights into short-term spatial and temporal sediment transfer patterns in proglacial areas.
Dr. Matthias Jakob, Senior Geoscientist, Bruce Geotechnical Consultants, Vancouver
The 2004 J. Ross Mackay Award was presented to Dr. Matthias Jakob, P.Geo. The award is given in recognition of Dr. Jakob’s body of outstanding research on landslides, debris flows and the hydroclimatic forcing of hillslope failures on the west coast of North America. His publications, which have appeared in leading national and international journals, successfully bridge the theoretical and applied sides of the discipline, advance our understanding of current processes, and contribute to analyses of the impacts of future climate change. Taken together, they represent a highly significant contribution to hazard assessment in one of the most geomorphologically active regions of Canada. The Mackay Award Committee was particularly impressed that he has managed this achievement in the short time since his Ph.D. (1996) and within the time constraints of a career in the consulting industry.
In his single and co-authored papers, Dr, Jakob has significantly contributed to:
Dr. Jakob’s work has had significant impacts on professional practice. It led, for example, to geomorphological investigations being required as part of flood frequency analyses in British Columbia. More recently, in his desire to improve methods and techniques in the fields of geohazards and public safety, Dr. Jakob has been the force behind an Ad Hoc Working Group on Professional Practice Guidelines for Landslide Hazard Assessments in British Columbia, formed to assist municipalities and regional districts with responsibilities newly transferred from the Province. Finally, he is using his involvement in a long-term CIDA project on geohazards in seven Andean countries to pass on his Canadian-formed knowledge to peoples at risk elsewhere in the world.
It is an honour to present the J. Ross Mackay award for 2004, for the first time, to a young applied geomorphologist who so clearly fulfils the criteria of significant achievement and of fostering the development of geomorphology in Canada.
Dr. John Gosse, Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University
After a year in which no award was given, the 2003 award was made to Dr. John Gosse of Dalhousie University, Halifax to recognize the excellence of John's work on the application of terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides to geochronology, and more specifically for his masterly article that appeared in Quaternary Science Reviews in 2001. The Mackay award selection committee in recommending the award, noted the excellence not only the paper itself, which stands out as an exceptional and major contribution, but also of the impact of the Dr. Gosse on the field at the national and international levels.
In this this paper John describes how the cosmogenic nuclide exposure history method is undergoing major developments in analytical, theoretical, and applied areas. The capability to routinely measure low concentrations of stable and radioactive cosmogenic nuclides has led to new methods for addressing long-standing geologic questions and has provided insights into rates and styles of surficial processes. The different physical and chemical properties of the six most widely used nuclides: 3He, 10Be, 14C, 21Ne, 26Al, and 36Cl, make it possible to apply the surface exposure dating methods on rock surfaces of virtually any lithology at any latitude and altitude, for exposures ranging from 102 to 107 years. The terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclide method is beginning to revolutionize the manner in which we study landscape evolution. Single or multiple nuclides can be measured in a single rock surface to obtain erosion rates on boulder and bedrock surfaces, fluvial incision rates, denudation rates of individual landforms or entire drainage basins, burial histories of rock surfaces and sediment, scarp retreat, fault slip rates, paleoseismology, and paleoaltimetry. Ages of climatic variations recorded by moraine and alluvium sediments are being directly determined. Advances in our understanding of how cosmic radiation interacts with the geomagnetic field and atmosphere will improve numerical simulations of cosmic-ray interactions over any exposure duration and complement additional empirical measurements of nuclide production rates. The total uncertainty in the exposure ages is continually improving. This article presents the theory necessary for interpreting cosmogenic nuclide data, reviews estimates of parameters, describes strategies and practical considerations in field applications, and assesses sources of error in interpreting cosmogenic nuclide measurements.
John gave the J.R. Mackay lecture, "Cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating in Canada: new strategies, old landscapes, new questions" at the Halifax meeting to a highly interested audience who also heard about applications of his technique through student and collaborators' presentations throughout the meeting.
Dr. Scott Lamoureux, Department of Geography, Queen's University at Kingston
The award selection committee recognized Dr. Lamoureux as one of the countries best young geomorphologists whose early and recent body of work is leading to substantial new ideas on glacilacustrine sedimentary records in the arctic as archives of climate change. In particular, this involves development of theoretical, methodological and quantitative (statistical) approaches to exploring the relations between varves and the hydroclimatological events that control their structure and variation. This has included detailed micro-structural analysis of varves and, for the first time, an understanding of watershed controls of these relations in high arctic regions. Three publications in particular were noted for their substantial scientific contributions.
In this paper Scott has analyzed the varve time series in Nicolay Lake by treating the composite chronology as an extreme value series of sediment response to climate change. The most difficult aspect of this approach is to ensure that the sedimentary units are filtered to remove non-climate driven responses (see below). The multiple core approach and explicit definition of sedimentary structures through thin sections where required. Once filtered, the chronology was treated as an index of climate controls (rainfall in this case) and modeled as an extreme value series. The 500 years of record then provides insight to the extent of extreme climate variability during this long interval. It was then compared to instrumental observations of the last few decades. The results feed directly into the climate change models that have been proposed for the arctic and the results conform to other proxy data for the region (e.g. ice cores).
Before Lamoureux (2000) could be effectively defended, filtering of the varve time series had to be accomplished. This was done by looking at the spatial and temporal variations in microstructures and at the same time demonstrating linkages to probable glacial and non-glacial sediment sources in the catchment. So together, Lamoureux (1999) and Lamoureux (2000) demonstrated the importance of a careful and meticulous approach to establishing cause and effect.
Finally, the research accomplished by Dr. Lamoureux is set in the context of late glacial and Holocene environments. This paper on glacial history, ice dynamics and regional variability in landforms and sedimentary evidence demonstrates both the breadth and depth of scientific work that lies behind the catchment scale studies.
Dr. Lamoureux was presented with the J.R. Mackay Award at the biannual Canadian Quaternary Association/ Association canadienne pour l'étude du Quaternaire, 2001 August 20-24, Whitehorse, Yukon. On this occasion his Mackay lecture entitled Lacustrine Sedimentary Records of Long Term Geomorphic and Hydroclimatic Change.
A central theme in geomorphic research has been to understand
the processes and rates of change on the Earth’s surface.
During the last century, considerable progress has been made
documenting geomorphic systems and lacustrine
sedimentary records have provided valuable long term records to
extend our perspective of geomorphic change during the
Holocene and beyond. Interest in the past twenty years regarding
anthropogenic climate change and the characteristics of
natural climate variability has also made use of sedimentary
records to obtain a similar long perspective. For both of these
research areas, annually laminated (varved) sediments are
particularly useful because they provide long records with high
temporal resolution. Once believed to be limited to proglacial and
meromictic lakes, varved sedimentary records are now
available from a range of environmental conditions.
As researchers have focused on the information contained in
varved sediments, valuable insights regarding the close
interaction of geomorphic and hydroclimatic systems have become
apparent. The challenges involved in isolating these
different environmental signals from the sedimentary record
continue to provide valuable information on the nature of
change in the earth system and complement ongoing efforts to
understand how geomorphic processes at a variety of time
As researchers have focused on the information contained in varved sediments, valuable insights regarding the close interaction of geomorphic and hydroclimatic systems have become apparent. The challenges involved in isolating these different environmental signals from the sedimentary record continue to provide valuable information on the nature of change in the earth system and complement ongoing efforts to understand how geomorphic processes at a variety of time scales operate.
Dr. Steven Wolfe, Geological Survey of Canada.
Dr. Wolfe was awarded the J.R. Mackay Award for his paper entitled Impact of increased aridity on sand dune activity in the Canadian Prairies.( Journal of Arid Environments 36: 421-432; 1997).
On the occasion of his award presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group held in conjunction with the Association Québécoise pour l'étude du Quaternaire, Montreal, August 2000, Dr. Wolfe gave a focus lecture entitled "The Winds of Change: Exploring Sand Dunes on the Canadian Prairies".
Dr. Cheryl McKenna Neuman, Department of Geography, Trent University.
Dr. McKenna Neuman was awarded the J.R. Mackay Award for her paper entitled Particle transport and adjustments of the boundary layer rough surfaces with an unrestricted, upwind supply of sediment, (Geomorphology 25: 1-17; 1998).
This paper builds on Dr. McKenna Neuman's earlier work on lag surfaces. She demonstrates how natural lag surfaces interact with aeolian sediment in transport, more specifically showing the relation between the shape and spacing of roughness elements and the onset and development of stabilization. On a more general level, the paper shows both Cheryl's solid understanding of the theory of aeolian processes and her considerable experimental skill. As one of the nominators said, "this paper is clearly written, the experiments are beautifully designed, and the conclusions extend well beyond sediment transport by wind. I commend her for bringing understanding to the fundamental issue of transport over an armoured bed. This understanding has wide application in fluvial, aeolian, coastal and glacial geomorphology." It seems appropriate that Dr. McKenna Neuman is the recipient of an award named after J. Ross Mackay, a scientist who has long blended well designed field experiments with a strong theoretical understanding of permafrost and periglacial processes".
On the occasion of her award presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group at the University of Calgary in August 1999, Dr. McKenna Neuman gave a focus lecture entitled "Particle Supply Restriction in Aeolian Systems - How Damp, Lumpy, Crusty Surfaces Mess Up Sediment Transport Models".
Dr. Tracy A. Brennand, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University.
Dr. Brennand was awarded the J.R.Mackay Award for her paper entitled Macroforms, large bedforms and rhythmic sedimentary sequences in subglacial eskers, Southcentral Ontario: Implications for esker genesis and meltwater regimes, Sedimentary Geology 91: 9-55; 1994).
The selection committee cited her paper as an outstanding contribution and noted that she exemplified the "energy, scientific commitment and courage that we might all hope is the hallmark of the emerging generation of geomorphologists who will define our science in Canada in the decades to come".
After receiving her award at the Annual General Meeting of the CGRG in 1998 at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Brennand presented a lecture entitled "Esker Road: a Geomorphologists Perspective on Subglacial Hydrology" which highlighted the findings of her research into subglacial eskers.
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