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Arthur Holmes Medal & Honorary Membership 2024 Claudio Faccenna

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European Geosciences Union

Claudio Faccenna

Claudio Faccenna
Claudio Faccenna

The 2024 Arthur Holmes Medal & Honorary Membership is awarded to Claudio Faccenna for transformative insights into the links between tectonics and subduction, while advancing tectonophysics through collaborative research.

Faccenna’s early geophysical landmark contributions involved using analog models to study subduction dynamics. When numerical methods were stuck in 2-D, these lab experiments provided the tools to sort out some key questions about plate dynamics and tectonics. There are now hundreds of papers from other groups, and entire careers whose lineage can be traced back to his and his team’s pioneering work. The insights gained on mantle dynamics include the role of lateral density variations in subduction initiation and back-arc spreading (e.g., Faccenna et al., JGR, 1999; GJI, 2001), the role of trench retreat for plate deformation (e.g., Faccenna et al., Tectonics, 2004), how slabs excite flow and what that means for plumes (e.g., Faccenna et al., EPSL, 2010, 2013), and how deep dynamics can be expressed at the surface, e.g., by volcanism (Faccenna et al., EPSL, 2013), and transform faults (Faccenna et al., EPSL, 2006).

Other advances include the use of global and regional convection models to address microplate motions and deformation (e.g., Faccenna and Becker, Nature, 2010; Faccenna et al., Tectonophys., 2017). These integrative studies combined seismology, geodynamics, and geology, e.g., for the Mediterranean (Faccenna et al., Rev. Geophysics, 2014). He has also contributed greatly to our understanding of the evolution of topography (e.g., Faccenna et al., EPSL, 2014; Faccenna et al., Nature Geosc., 2019) including mountain building. He also spelled out how convection, orogeny and supercontinental cycles might be linked (Faccenna et al., Tectonics, 2013; EPSL, 2017, 2021).

Besides pursuing his own scientific vision, Faccenna has been described as “the most generous collaborator I know”. His creativity, enthusiasm, and drive makes him a leader in the best possible sense. His dedication to service includes organizing an EGU-sponsored Ada Lovelace meeting, extensive editorial work as editor for Tectonics and Editor In Chief for G-Cubed, as well as other administrative and advisory positions where he seeks to push science and science policy forward.