Kirk Bryan Award

About the Kirk Bryan Award

The Kirk Bryan Award is the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division's named GSA award. Since 1958, the Kirk Bryan Award has been bestowed upon the author or authors of a published paper of distinction advancing the science of geomorphology or some related field, such as [Pleistocene] Quaternary geology.

The paper constituting the basis of the award must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The paper will deal with geomorphology or with a bordering field, but related to geomorphology.
  • The paper will have been published not more than five years prior to its selection for the award.

 The Kirk Bryan Award Selection Committee consists of the Division Panel and the Secretary, who chairs the committee. 

How to Nominate a Publication for the Kirk Bryan Award

Nomination packages normally consist of:

  • A letter (1-3 pages long) by the chief nominator outlining the significance and importance of the nominated publication;
  • A copy of the publication;
  • Reviews of the publication that have appeared in journals, newsletters, or books; and
  • One or more letters from other supporters of the nomination.

Please note: Nomination packages (preferably as PDF attached to email) are to be submitted electronically. Nomination packages should be sent to the Division Secretary.  

Nomination deadline: February 1st

Recipients of the Kirk Bryan Award


2021: Maureen H. Walczak, Alan C. Mix, Ellen A. Cowan, Stewart Fallon, L. Keith Fifield, Jay R. Alder, Jianghui Du, Brian Haley, Tim Hobern, June Padman, Summer K. Praetorius, Andreas Schmittner, Joseph S. Stoner, and Sarah D. Zellers, 2020, Phasing of millennial- scale climate variability in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans: Science, vol. 370, Issue 6517, p.716-720. DOI: 10.1126/science.aba7096.

2020: Martha-Cary Eppes & Russell Keanini, 2017. Mechanical weathering and rock erosion by climate-dependent subcritical cracking: Reviews of Geophysics, 55, 470-508.
doi: 10.1002/2017RG000557 
WATCH the 2020 KIRK BRYAN AWARD ACCEPTANCE VIDEO by Missy Eppes HERE and a separate video response by Russell Keanini below.


Cook, Kristen L., Turowski, Jens M., Hovius, Niels, 2014. River gorge eradication by downstream sweep erosion. Nature Geosciences 7, 682-686, doi:10.1038/ngeo2224 

2018: Karen Gran, Noah Finnegan, Andrea L. Johnson, Patrick Belmont, Chad Wittkop, Tammy Rittenour. 2013. Landscape evolution, valley excavation, and terrace development following abrupt base-level fall. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 125 (11-12), p. 1851-1864, doi:10.1130/B30772.1. (pdf)

2017: Les McFadden. 2013, Strongly dust-influenced soils and what they tell us about landscape dynamics in vegetated aridlands of the southwestern United States, in Bickford, M.E. ed., The Web of Geological Sciences, Impacts and Interactions: Geological Society of America Special Paper 500. p501-532.

2016: Chris Goldfinger, C. Hans Nelson, Ann E. Morey, Joel E. Johnson, Jason R. Patton, Eugene Karabanov, Julia Gutiérrez-Pastor, Andrew T. Eriksson, Eulàlia Gràcia, Gita Dunhill, Randolph J. Enkin, Audrey Dallimore, and Tracy Vallier. 2012, Turbidite event history—Methods and implications for Holocene paleoseismicity of the Cascadia subduction zone: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1661–F, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston. 170 p.

2015: Daniel Muhs, Kathleen Simmons, Randall Schumann, Lindsey Groves, Jerry Mitrovica, DeAnna Laurel. 2012, Sea-level history during the Last Interglacial complex on San Nicolas Island, California: implications for glacial isostatic adjustment processes, paleozoogeography and tectonics. Quaternary Science Reviews 37, 1-25. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.01.010.

2014: John C. Ridge, Greg Balco, Robert L. Bayless, Catherine C. Beck, Laura B. Carter, Jody L. Dean, Emily B. Voytek and Jeremy H. Wei, 2012, The new North American varve chronology: a precise record of southeastern Laurentide Ice sheet deglaciation and climate, 18.2-12.5 kyr BP, and correlations with Greenland ice core records. American Journal of Science, 312:685-722.

2013: P.K. House, P.A. Pearthree, and M.E. Perkins, 2008, Stratigraphic Evidence for the role of lake spillover in the inception of the lower Colorado River in southern Nevada and western Arizona: in Reheis, M.C., Hershler, R., & Miller, D.M. (Eds.), Late Cenozoic drainage history of the Southwestern Great Basin and Lower Colorado River Region - Geologic and Biotic Perspectives, Geological Society of America Special Paper #439.

2012: Neal R. Iverson, Thomas S. Hooyer, Jason F. Thomason, Matt Graesch, and Jacqueline R. Shumway, 2008, The experimental basis for interpreting particle and magnetic fabrics of sheared till: Earth Surface Processes, v. 22, p.627-645, doi:10.1002/esp.1666, 2008.

2011: Robert C. Walter and Dorothy J. Merritts, 2008, Natural streams and the legacy of water-powered mills, Science, v.319, p.199-204, doi:10.1126/science.1151716.

2010: Rolfe D. Mandel, 2008, Buried paleoindian-age landscapes in stream valleys of the central plains, USA: Geomorphology, v. 101, p. 342-361,


2009: Ellen Wohl, 2004, Limits of downstream hydraulic geometry: Geology, v. 32, p. 897-900, doi: 10.1130/G20738.1.  

2008: Jon J. Major, 2004, Posteruption suspended sediment transport at Mount St. Helens: Decadal-scale relationships with landscape adjustments and river discharges: Journal of Geophysical Research, v.109, F01002, doi: 10.1029/2002JF000010.

2007: Marith Cady Reheis, Andrei M. Sarna-Wojcicki, Richard L. Reynolds, Charles A. Repenning, and Martin D. Mifflin, 2002, Pliocene to Middle Pleistocene Lakes in the western Great Basin - Ages and connections: in Hershler, R., Currey, D., and Madsen, D. (Eds.), Great Basin Aquatic Systems History, Smithsonian Institution Press, p. 53-108.

2006: David R. Montgomery and Mark T. Brandon, 2002, Topographic controls on erosion rates in tectonically active mountain ranges: Earth & Planetary Science Letters, v. 201, p. 481-489.

2005: John C. Gosse and Fred M. Phillips, 2001, Terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides: theory and applications: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 20, p. 1475-1560.

2004: Stephen C. Porter, 2001, Snowline depression in the tropics during the Last Glaciation: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 20, p. 1067-1091.

2003: Michael R. Waters and C. Vance Haynes, 2001, Late Quaternary Arroyo Formation and Climate Change in the American Southwest: Geology, v. 29, p. 399-402.

2002: Frank J. Pazzaglia and Mark T. Brandon, 2001, A fluvial record of longterm steady-state uplift and erosion across the Cascadia forearc high, western Washington State: American Journal of Science, v 301, p. 385-431.

2001: Richard M. Iverson, 1997, The physics of debris flows: Reviews of Geophysics, v. 35, no. 3, p. 245-296.

2000: Brian R. Atwater and Eileen Hemphill-Haley, 1997, Recurrence intervals for great earthquakes of the past 3,500 years at northeastern Willapa Bay, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1576, 108.


1999: William L. Graf, 1994, Plutonium and the Rio Grande: Environmental Change and Contamination in the Nuclear Age: New York, Oxford University Press, 329 p..

1998: Vance T. Holliday, 1995, Stratigraphy and Paleoenvironments of Late Quaternary Valley Fills on the Southern High Plains: Geological Society of America Memoir #186, 136 p.

1997: Grant A. Meyer, Stephen G. Wells, and A.J. Timothy Jull, 1995, Fire and alluvial chronology in Yellowstone National Park: climatic and intrinsic controls on Holocene geomorphic process: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 107, p. 1211-1230.

1996: Roger T. Saucier, 1994, Geomorphology and Quaternary Geologic History of the Lower Mississippi Valley: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 364 p. (Volume I) with 28-plate map folio (Volume II).

1995: James E. O'Connor, 1993, Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Geomorphology of the Bonneville Flood: Geological Society of America Special Paper 274, 90 p.

1994: Arthur N. Palmer, 1991, Origin and morphology of limestone caves, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 103, p. 1-21.

1993: William B. Bull, 1991, Geomorphic responses to climate change: New York, Oxford University Press, 326 p., 1991.

1992: R. Dale Guthrie, 1990, Frozen fauna of the Mammoth Steppe: The Story of Blue Babe: Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 323 p., 1990.

1991: Milan J. Pavlich, 1986, Processes and rates of saprolite production and erosion on a foliated granitic rock of the Virginia Piedmont, in S.M. Colman and D.P. Dethier, eds., Rates of chemical weathering of rocks and minerals: New York, Academic Press, Inc., p. 552-590, 1986.

1990: Arthur S. Dyke and Victor K. Prest, 1987, Late Wisconsinan and Holocene history of the Laurentide ice sheet: Geographie Physique et Quaternaire, v. 41, no. 2, p. 237-263.


1989: Kevin M. Scott (U.S. Geological Survey), Origins, behavior, and sedimentology of lahars and lahar-runout flows in the Toutle-Cowlitz river system: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1447-A, 74 p., 1988.

1988: Peter W. Birkeland (University of Colorado), Soils and Geomorphology: New York, Oxford University Press, 372 p. 1984.

1987: Richard B. Waitt (U.S. Geological Survey), Case for periodic, collosal jokulhlaups from Pleistocene glacial Lake Missoula: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 96, p. 1271- 1286, 1985.

1986: Ronald I. Dorn and Theodore M. Oberlander (University of California-Berkeley), Rock varnish: Progress in Physical Geography, v. 6, no. 3, p. 317-367 , 1982.

1985: No award given. 

1984: Steven M. Colman (U.S. Geological Survey), Chemical weathering of basalts and andesites--Evidence from weathering rinds: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1246, 51 p., 1982.

1983 Leland H. Gile, John W. Hawley, and Robert B. Grossman (U.S. Soil Conservation Service), Soils and Geomorphology in the Basin and Range Area of Southern New Mexico-- Guidebook to the Desert Project: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources Memoir 39, 222 p., 1981.

1982: Kenneth L. Pierce (U.S. Geological Survey), History and dynamics of glaciation in the northern Yellowstone Park area: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 729-F, 90 p., 1979.

1981: J. Ross Mackay (University of British Columbia), Pingos of the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula area, Northwest Territories: Geographie Physique et Quaternaire, v. 33, no. 1, p. 3-61, 1979.

1980: James A. Clark (Cornell University), William E. Farrell (University of California at Berkeley), and W. Richard Peltier (University of Toronto), Global changes in postglacial sea level--A numerical calculation: Quaternary Research, v. 9, p. 265-287, 1978.


1979: Stanley A. Schumm (Colorado State University), The Fluvial System: New York, John Wiley and Sons, 338 p., 1977.

1978: Richard L. Hay (University of California at Berkeley), Geology of the Olduvai Gorge--a study of sedimentation in a semiarid basin: Berkeley, University of California Press, 1976.

1977: Michael A. Church (University of British Columbia), Baffin Island sandurs: A study of Arctic fluvial processes: Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin 216, 208 p., 1972. 

1976: Geoffrey S. Boulton (University of East Anglia), Processes and patterns of glacial erosion: Binghamton, State University of New York, Proceedings of the 5th Geomorphology Symposium, 1974.

1975: James B. Benedict (Colorado State University), Downslope soil movement in a Colorado alpine region--rates, processes and climatic significance: Arctic and Alpine Research, v. 2, p. 165-226, 1970.

1974: Robert V. Ruhe (Indiana University), Quaternary landscapes in Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 255 p., 1969.

1973: John T. Andrews (University of Colorado), A geomorphological study of post- glacial uplift: London, Institute of British Geographers, Special Publication No. 2, 156 p., 1970.

1972: Dwight R. Crandell (U.S. Geological Survey), Postglacial lahars from Mount Rainier volcano, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 677, 75 p., 1971.

1971: A. Lincoln Washburn (University of Washington), Instrumental observations of mass wasting in the Mesters Vig district, northeast Greenland: Medd. Gronland, bd. 166, nr. 4, 1967; and Weathering, frost action, and patterned ground in the Mesters Vig district, northeast Greenland: Med. Gronland, bd. 166, nr. 4, 1969. 

1970: Harold E. Malde (U.S. Geological Survey), The catastrophic late Pleistocene Bonneville flood in the Snake River Plain, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 596, 52 p., 1968.


1969: Ronald L. Shreve (University of California at Los Angeles), The Blackhawk landslide: Geological Society of America Special Paper 108, 47 p., 1968.

1968: David M. Hopkins (U.S. Geological Survey), Quaternary marine transgressions in Alaska, in The Bering Land Bridge: Stanford University Press, p. 47-90, 1967.

1967: Clyde A. Wahrhaftig (University of California-Berkeley), Stepped topography of the southern Sierra Nevada, California: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 76, p. 1165- 1190, 1965.

1966: Charles S. Denny (U.S. Geological Survey), Alluvial fans in the Death Valley region: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 466, 62 p., 1965.

1965: Gerald M. Richmond (U.S. Geological Survey), Quaternary stratigraphy of the La Sal Mountains, Utah: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 324, 135 p., 1962.

1964: Robert P. Sharp (California Institute of Technology), Wind ripples: Journal of Geology, v. 71, p. 617-636, 1963.

1963: Arthur H. Lachenbruch (U.S. Geological Survey), Mechanics of thermal contraction cracks and ice-wedge polygons in permafrost: Geological Society of America Special Paper 70, 69 p., 1962.

1962: Anders Rapp (University of Uppsala), Recent development of mountain slopes in Karkevagge and surroundings, northern Scandinavia: Geografiska Annaler, v. 42, p. 71-200, 1960. 

1961: John T. Hack U.S. Geological Survey), Studies of longitudinal stream profiles in Virginia and Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 294B, 97 p., 1957.

1960: John F. Nye (University of Bristol), The distribution of stress and velocity in glaciers and ice sheets: Royal Society Academy, Proceedings A, v. 239, p. 113-133, 1957.


1959: Jack L. Hough (University of Illinois), Geology of the Great Lakes: University of Illinois Press, 313 p., 1958.

1958: Luna B. Leopold and Thomas J. Maddock, Jr. (U.S. Geological Survey), The hydraulic geometry of stream channels and some physiographic implications: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 252, 57 p., 1953.