GSA Medals & Awards

International Division Distinguished Career Award

Eldridge M. Moores
Eldridge M. Moores
University of California, Davis

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Presented to Eldridge M. Moores

 Citation by Yildirim Dilek

It is a privilege to present Eldridge Moores as the recipient of the GSA International Division’s Distinguished Career Award. During more than 40 years of accomplished research and tireless service to our profession he has established himself as a remarkable leader in our profession.

Eldridge has been a true pioneer in tectonics through his original and often thought-provoking work, and his ideas have prompted many generations of earth scientists to search for the truth in the field. His seminal papers on the Troodos and Vourinos ophiolites played a significant role in the advancement of plate tectonics as a revolutionary theory throughout the early 1970’s. The ideas and the tectonic model presented in his 1970 Nature paper on "Ultramafics as keys to orogeny, with models for the US Cordillera and Tethys" were so different from the ‘ruling theory’ of that time that they prompted many scientists to undertake field-based structural, petrological, and geochronological studies in northern California for the next 15 years. His SWEAT hypothesis (Geology, 1991), suggesting a probable Southwest U.S. and East Antarctic connection in the late Proterozoic, was so unique and overarching that it had significant ramifications for the geodynamic evolution and global change in the early history of the Earth. It provided a new paradigm in which to test the then available and new models on tectonic reconstructions of North America and the evolution of the Antarctic continent.

Eldridge’s service to the Geological Society of America surpasses that of many distinguished geologists. He made Geology as one of the most important, high-impact journals in earth sciences through his innovative editorial leadership during the period of 1981-1988, he was the founding Science Editor of GSA Today (1990-1995), and he served on the GSA Council (1988-1991) and many other GSA Committees. He served as the President of GSA in 1996 and then as the President of the International Division in 2002. Throughout his long service to our beloved Society, Eldridge promoted the implementation of many initiatives, ideas, and projects, which served GSA so well.

Eldridge has also made other significant contributions in the broad field of structural geology and tectonics through his distinguished international service. He was the Chair of the Ocean Drilling Program Tectonics Panel (1989-1993) prompting marine geologists and geophysicists to collaborate with land geologists in investigating the basement tectonics of complex divergent, convergent, and transform fault plate boundaries in the oceans through deep drilling. His ideas for the site selection of the Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling during 1980-1987 were extremely helpful for the success of this large-scale continental geodynamics project. He was a founding member of the Continental Drilling Project in Cyprus (1984-1987) to examine frozen magma chambers and fossil MOHO in ancient oceanic lithosphere through deep drilling. He also played a major role in assessing the objectives and implementation planning of the Earth Scope Science and Resources as a committee member of the National Research Council (2001). He is currently serving as the Vice President of the International Union of Geological Sciences, representing the USA and the voice of the US earth scientists in this important international organization.

Eldridge has shaped our scientific thinking through his multi-faceted international contributions during his brilliant career. On a personal note, I am pleased to state that I have interacted with Eldridge as his student, as a colleague, and as his friend for 25 years. It gives me a great pleasure to present to you Eldridge Moores, the 2006 winner of the Distinguished Career Award of the GSA International Division.

 top 2006 Distinguished Career Award - Response by Eldridge M. Moores

I am deeply honored to receive this Award. I thank the International Division and the GSA Council. In addition to being an officer in the International Division and the Cordilleran Section, I have had the opportunity to serve as Geology editor, a Councilor, Science Editor of GSA Today, and as an officer. While GSA President, I was fortunate to travel to Venezuela and Australia at the invitation of their geological societies. Overall I have benefited enormously from my association with GSA, and I have many friends in the GSA family.

In thinking over how my career developed, I owe much to GSA Presidents Harry Hess and John Maxwell, and the entire Princeton Geology faculty, who treated students like adult colleagues, and had a genuinely global view of geology. We graduate students spent hours staring at the 8-foot revolving globe in the Geology museum, discussing burning questions, such as (in those pre-plate tectonic years) where modern geosynclines might be. We learned that Earth’s geology is united; and we can’t learn adequately about one piece without a view of the whole. This holistic view necessarily involved travel abroad, especially for someone like myself interested in structure and tectonics.

My first trip abroad was to Haiti and Jamaica in 1960. A tremendous geological and cultural education for me, it radically revised my understanding of other cultures and the US’s relations with them; and it whetted my appetite for seeing the world.

Through my career, I have had the opportunity to work many times in Greece and Cyprus, and to a lesser extent in Pakistan and Argentina. Altogether, I have been privileged to do field work, go on field trips, attend meetings, and visit in about 50 countries. Always, I have been impressed by the open, generous hospitality and willingness of local geologists to share their insights and to facilitate my own work. For my part, I have studied local languages and customs, learned to eat most anything, and appreciated to opportunity to interact with people of many nationalities. Even so, it has not always been easy to deal with lightning strikes, unmapped mine fields, ceasefire lines, border guards, rifle-pointing American Embassy Marine guards, tribal unrest, or more recently, the Transportation Security Administration Watch List. But looking back, I cherish all my experiences, and I’m not done yet!.

We live in a multicultural world with many environmental challenges, including global warming, peak oil, and resource limits. We geologists have a special responsibility to use our knowledge and skills to work toward sustainable development for all people, for all Earth and life. When we work internationally, we become diplomats for our countries and our science. It is increasingly important to be respectful and sensitive to cultural issues. Wherever we go, it is essential to reach out to local geologists and include them in our work in mutually beneficial ways. And those of us who are North Americans need to be especially aware of our overly large ”ecological footprint”, and do our best to minimize our own personal impact.

Wherever you are in your career, I challenge you to make the world a better place than you found it. There is only one Earth--it’s our only practical home in the Solar System. We have a responsibility to live ourselves the changes we want to see in the world.

In closing I would like to thank my former students, with whom I’ve shared may good times and learned much; also my colleagues at UCD and other institutions around the world, with whom I’ve had the privilege of working. Finally, I’d like to thank my wife of over 41 years. Marrying her was just about the best thing that I ever did. My career has been a 2-person career. Without Judy, and my kids and grandkids, I would never have made it.

Thank you.