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USGS Emeritus Roland von Huene Receives Prestigious European Award

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Roland von Huene, Dave Scholl, and Roland's wife Juanita relax on a deck
Roland von Huene (right), Dave Scholl (center), and Roland's wife Juanita (left) relax on a deck overlooking the von Huenes' vineyard in Camino, CA. CMGP scientist Bill Normark is behind the camera.
Roland von Huene, a USGS Emeritus Scientist with the Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP), has received a prestigious award from Germany's Geologische Vereinigung, a European equivalent of the Geological Society of America.

The Gustav Steinmann Medal was presented to Roland at Christian Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany, in October 2001. The highest honor awarded by the Geologische Vereinigung, the Steinmann Medal honors scientific leadership and outstanding personal achievement in the Earth sciences. Roland received it for his illuminating research on the evolution of convergent margins where oceanic crust is being subducted beneath continental crust.

Gustav Steinmann, for whom the medal is named, was among the first to recognize that an assemblage of rocks, now called the Steinmann Trinity, records the tectonic interaction of oceanic and continental crust at a convergent margin. The trinity is a manifestation of subduction accretion—the tectonic addition of oceanic rock and sediment to the continent. Interestingly, Roland's research has shown that subduction erosion, rather than subduction accretion, is the main process shaping most convergent margins.

Much of the research that led Roland to this discovery was conducted at the USGS, where he worked in the Branch of Pacific Marine Geology, a predecessor of CMGP, from 1967 until 1989. To his initial surprise, Roland found evidence of subduction erosion at numerous convergent margins, including subduction zones off Chile, Japan, Guatemala, and Peru.

In 1989, Roland traveled to Kiel, Germany, to become the first director of the Marine Geodynamics Division of GEOMAR, a research center for the study of the structure, development, and history of the ocean floor and its interaction with seawater. With the help of colleagues at GEOMAR, Roland assembled definitive evidence that subduction erosion, with its sister process sediment subduction, is a major factor in the shaping of convergent margins.

Roland's friend and colleague, Dave Scholl, also a USGS Emeritus Scientist with CMGP, delivered a tribute to Roland at the awards ceremony in Germany last October. That tribute was published in the International Journal of Earth Sciences (v. 91, p. 369371) and the tribute can be viewed online.]

Related Web Sites
Tribute to Dr. Roland von Huene
International Journal of Earth Sciences
Coastal & Marine Geology Program
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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von Huene Receives Prestigious Award

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