MGPV Distinguished Geological Career Award

The MGPV Distinguished Geological Career Award will go to an individual who, throughout his/her career, has made distinguished contributions in one or more of the following fields of research: mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, volcanology, with emphasis on multidisciplinary, field-based contributions. This award emphasizes a geologic and multidisciplinary approach. Geological work is by nature generalistic and has an important field component, with Earth as the natural laboratory.

Nominees need not be citizens or residents of the United States, and membership in the Geological Society of America or the Division is not required.  Awards are not given posthumously unless the decision to give the award is made before the death of the awardee.

The funds for this award were endowed by the estate of James B. Thompson Jr.  Dr. Thompson retired as the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology at Harvard in 1992 after a career of more than forty years. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1958, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1967.  He was awarded the Arthur L. Day Medal of the Geological Society of America in 1964, the Mineralogical Society of America Roebling Medal in 1978, and the V. M. Goldschmidt Award of the Geochemical Society in 1985. Thompson served as the President of both the Mineralogical Society of America and the Geochemical Society.

Dr. Thompson believed in the importance to geology of understanding minerals - both their internal characteristics, and their external "social lives" (his term for their relations with each other).  Thus this award emphasizes a geologic and multidisciplinary approach. Geologic work is by nature generalistic and has an important field component, with Earth as the natural laboratory.  J. B. Thompson’s work, regardless of subject, was always based on solid field observations.  In his acceptance speech for the Day Medal in 1964 he said, “True success in the laboratory should stimulate field investigations rather than discourage them.  It would be embarrassing indeed if we were to construct an internally consistent geology, chemically and physically sound, perfect in fact but for one flaw: the lack of a planet to fit it.


Nominations Deadline for the 2025 Award: midnight (EDT) 31 March 2024    [instructions]

A nomination comprises: (1) a cover letter from an MGPV Division member, no longer than three pages, summarizing the nominee’s most important accomplishments in geologic approaches to mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology, and/or volcanology. Special attention should be paid to describing how the nominee’s published work demonstrates field-based multidisciplinary geologic accomplishments of a ground-breaking nature. The letter should include the name, address, and contact information of nominator as well as from whom letters of support can be expected; (2) a curriculum vitae of the nominee; and (3) three letters of support that can be either from members or non-members of GSA or the MGPV Division. 

Previous Awardees:

All GSA and
Division Awardees

  • 2024 - J. Michael Rhodes, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA  [citation]  [acceptance]
  • 2023 - Katharine V. Cashman, University of Bristol/University of Oregon [citation]  [acceptance]
  • 2022 - Jane Selverstone, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA  [citation]  [acceptance]
  • 2021 - Michael Brown, University of Maryland, MD, USA  [citation]  [acceptance]
  • 2020 - Cathy J. Busby, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, USA  [citation]  [acceptance]
  • 2019 - Suzanne Mahlburg Kay, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA  [citation]  [response]
  • 2018 - Calvin F. Miller, Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN, USA [citation & response]
  • 2017 - Jon Davidson, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom  [citation]
  • 2016 - Donald A. Swanson, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii National Park, HI USA  [citation & response]
  • 2015 - David A. Clague, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA USA  [citation & response]
  • 2014 - Frederick A. Frey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA USA  [citation & response]
  • 2013 - Gerhard Wörner, Georg August Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany  [citation & response]
  • 2012 - Jason B. Saleeby, California Institute of Technology  [citation & response]
  • 2011 - John M. Ferry, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA  [citation & response]
  • 2010 - Peter Lipman, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, USA  [citation & response]