The 2005 Augustus Love Medal is awarded to Geoff Davies for original contributions in the field of mantle dynamics, in particular for elucidating the role of plate and plumes and for fundamental contributions in understanding the thermal and chemical evolution of the Earth.
Davies is a distinguished scientist in the field of geodynamics. Specifically he has been a leader in elucidating the roles of plates and plumes in mantle convection, and in reconciling geochemical and geophysical constraints on mantle flow. He has also made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the thermal history of the Earth.
The work is of fundamental importance to the geological sciences, since mantle convection is the means by which the Earth’s internal heat controls all internally-driven geological processes. A characterizing feature of Geoffrey F. Davies’s work is the great clarity, deep physical insight and quantitative success it has brought to the field. This is evidenced by his work showing:
- that tectonic plates comprise the driving thermal boundary layer of large-scale convection in the mantle. Plates thus control the structure of mantle flow and of many observables that depend upon it.
- that Earth’s topography provides key constraints on the structure of mantle flow. From this it can be argued that the plate mode of mantle flow is the dominant flow mode, that plumes comprise a secondary mode of flow.
- and, most recently, that the longevity of trace-element heterogeneities in the convecting mantle might potentially be accounted for in single-layer convection models when the models account for faster convection in the past and include higher-viscosity plates and subducted lithosphere with a moderate increase of viscosity with depth.
Geoff also identified the former presence of a large tectonic plate in the Pacifie basin – named the Izanagi plate – from a small but crucial feature in seafloor magnetic anomalies, which illuminates the transition between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate systems in the Pacific basin.
Geoffrey F. Davies work has been presented systematically in his recently-published book Dynamic Earth: Plates, Plumes and Mantle Convection. The book, which appeared in 1999, is widely used for teaching because of its clear exposition of the subject. Geoffrey F. Davies scientific leadership has been manifest most obviously in the originality and influence of his research. For example, his most significant publications have been cited together more than 1000 times. In short, there are few individuals who have demonstrated such a remarkable in-depth understanding across the full range of geophysical observations, dynamical processes and geochemical constraints on the mantle as Geoffrey F. Davies.