UT professor Ian Dalziel acknowledged for contributions to understanding Antarctica with UK Polar Medal

UT professor Ian Dalziel acknowledged for contributions to understanding Antarctica with UK Polar Medal

Lorianne Willett

Professor Ian Dalziel sits in his workplace on the Pickle Analysis Heart in Austin, Texas on June 29, 2023. Daziel was not too long ago awarded the Polar Medal, the highest prize within the UK, for his analysis in Antarctica.

“I assume you can say he’s nearly like a Renaissance geologist.” 

That is how Sharon Mosher, dean and professor Emeritus of the Jackson Faculty of Geosciences, described her long-time colleague and good friend Ian Dalziel. Dalziel, a professor of geological sciences, is one in all few chosen for this yr’s Polar Medal resulting from his trailblazing exploration and discoveries in Antarctica. He shall be awarded the medal by King Charles III later this yr. 

The medal was first created in September 1904 to reward Captain Robert F. Scott for conducting the primary profitable voyage to Antarctica. The medal is now utilized by the U.Ok. and Commonwealth governments to reward scientists with vital contributions to our understanding of the polar areas all through their lifetime of labor. 

Dalziel is liable for a few of the most necessary findings that modified our international understanding of Antarctica’s geological historical past. In response to a College press launch, he helped set up a extensively used logistical system that prolonged the attain of distant Antarctic analysis bases, which then introduced confirming proof that West Antarctica is made up of damaged items of the supercontinent Gondwana; established the primary GPS receiver community used globally that confirmed Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting away inflicting the continent to rise; and he found that the distant Antarctic island of South Georgia is a misplaced fragment of the southern Andes in South America. 

“He is aware of a whole lot of geology, he’s seen a whole lot of issues, however not like lots of people, he thinks on a worldwide scale,” Mosher stated. “I believe the factor that’s very uncommon about him is that a few of his concepts induced analysis by tons of of individuals over a long time due to the unique concept he had.”

Colleagues who’ve labored within the subject with Dalziel referred to him as a visionary recognized for his daring concepts. Mark Helper, a distinguished senior lecturer within the Division of Geological Sciences, did distant work in Antarctica with Dalziel from 1993-94 and once more from 1996-97 and stated he was grateful for all he discovered working alongside him.

“There simply aren’t many like him (and) his science is equally distinctive. He’s a tremendously imaginative thinker, not afraid to publish untested large concepts that he and others can check and broaden upon to maneuver our science ahead,” Helper stated in an e-mail. “I’ve no different colleagues so richly deserving of recognition and distinction.”

Dalziel, himself a Scotland native, stated spending a whole lot of time within the “wild locations” on the west coast of Scotland rising up made him wish to turn out to be a geologist. He stated he all the time had a powerful curiosity in Antarctica, and when he began his analysis in America on the College of Wisconsin-Madison, he found the probabilities of working there. 

“After I was a scholar within the Fifties, individuals had been nonetheless debating whether or not continental drift had occurred or not, whether or not it was a actuality,” Dalziel stated. “Antarctica, due to this fact, intrigued me as a part of the potential jigsaw of continents that will need to have fallen a part of the supercontinent Pangea.”

Though Dalziel grew up in Scotland, he spent most of his profession working for the United States Antarctic Program, even main joint expeditions with the British Antarctic Survey. He stated being acknowledged by Britain with such a prestigious award whereas working for an additional nationwide program may be very uncommon and due to this fact makes it all of the extra gratifying. 

“From a Texas perspective, the Institute for Geophysics within the Jackson Faculty of Geosciences has been a beautiful base from which to go and discover,” Dalziel stated. “It’s been a incredible alternative afforded by the College of Texas and its Institute for Geophysics to present the time and the liberty to have the ability to pursue wide-ranging analysis like that.”