Richard K. Bono
EMRP Earth Magnetism & Rock Physics
The 2022 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Richard K. Bono for innovative and incisive work in palaeomagnetism, advancing our understanding of the geodynamo and geodynamics.
Richard Bono has contributed outstanding first-authored works in a wide range of disciplines including Arctic biogeography, hotspot dynamics, geostatistics, and electron microscopy. His main focus, however, has been on the nature of Earth’s past magnetic field. He tackled a conundrum posed by two nearly coeval paleomagnetic directions reported in rocks of the Ediacaran Period from northern Quebec, formed some 565 million years ago. In an experimental tour de force, he analyzed the magnetism of oriented single silicate grains. He showed that these crystals contained minute magnetic inclusions with ideal recording properties. Bono’s magnetic data conclusively showed that only one of the magnetic directions reported from bulk rock samples is primary. This resolved the paleomagnetic paradox, but Bono also found signals of a highly anomalous past geomagnetic field. This led to further innovative experiments and his incisive report of an ultra-low field strength in the Ediacaran and its potential tie to unusual field behavior at the onset of growth of Earth’s solid inner core. Bono’s proposal of an Ediacaran time for inner core nucleation with his colleagues is an outstanding example of the convergence of paleomagnetism, experimental and ab initio considerations of thermal conductivity, and geodynamic modeling of the thermal evolution of the planet. He has expanded his work to geomagnetic modeling, to further study magnetic variations in the past to gain more insight into the mechanisms creating Earth’s magnetic field – the geodynamo – in deep time. Bono also has an exemplary track record of helping his colleagues, offering key contributions. His papers form an already impressive collection that has advanced our understanding of Earth processes, while laying the foundation for continued discovery.