Timothy J. Craig
The 2022 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Timothy J. Craig for fundamental and multi-disciplinary contributions to geodynamics, such as developing a new paradigm for intraplate earthquakes, and uniting disparate datasets in a single geodynamic framework.
Timothy Craig receives the 2022 EGU Outstanding Early Career Scientist award in the Geodynamics division for his diverse and multi-disciplinary approach to tackling several fundamental scientific problems in Earth Sciences. His significant scientific contributions are therefore widely recognized both within the Geodynamics community and more broadly within the wider Earth Sciences. To illustrate the breadth and depth of his contributions, a few examples of his achievements are highlighted here. In his early work (Craig et al., 2011), he used earthquake distribution patterns in the East African Rift to explain its geodynamics and to infer the composition and strength of its crust and mantle. In particular, regions with deeper earthquakes correlate to thicker and older lithosphere, and can be linked to production and preservation processes of the lower crust. His later work highlights the sometimes significant discrepancies between present strain accumulation rates and earthquake recurrence rates. For example, in the New Madrid seismic zone, the very slow accumulation of tectonic strain cannot explain the 500-900-year repeat time of the local earthquakes (Craig and Calais, 2014), while other, non-tectonic processes, such as hydrological loading from the northern part of the Mississippi embayment contribute significantly to the rate of microearthquakes in the area (Craig et al., 2017). And for Fennoscandia, Craig et al. (2016) highlight the importance of long-term accumulation of tectonic strain as a consequence of deglaciation in the development of intraplate earthquakes. Some of these findings subsequently contributed significantly to the development of a new paradigm for earthquakes in stable continental regions, arguing that they occur by releasing stresses in a pre-stressed lithosphere, rather than being due to recent accumulation of tectonic stresses (Calais et al., 2016). More recently, Craig et al. (2020) used petrological, geochemical and geophysical observations for the Tibetan plateau to reconcile those apparently contradictory datasets into a unifying geodynamic framework. In conclusion, Timothy Craig’s research clearly illustrates the importance of different geodynamical processes and working with data from different scientific disciplines to address complex problems in geodynamics. His excellent scientific contributions make him a very worthy recipient of the EGU Outstanding Early Career Scientist award in Geodynamics.