The 2024 Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal is awarded to Silvia Frisia for her highly significant impact as a sedimentologist researching carbonate-based palaeoclimate science, in particular through her work on carbonate fabrics in cave deposits, or speleothems.
For the past 30 years, Silvia Frisia has consistently contributed to breakthroughs in sedimentology through the unique combination of investigating carbonates from outcrop- to nano-scales. Frisia uses synchrotron analyses and microstratigraphy to document lateral change in carbonate microfacies, their original composition and their diagenesis. She has always reached well beyond disciplinary boundaries, incorporating concepts from materials science to expand the pool of information that carbonates provide on Earth’s history. Her approach to the ”dolomite problem” (Frisia, 1996) remains an unparalleled study of multi-step diagenesis and is a key reference to contemporary research using a nano-scale approach to primary dolomite preserved in ancient sedimentary rocks. Frisia’s fundamental and innovative research on cave secondary mineral deposits, known as speleothems, uses micro- and nano-scale techniques to investigate how crystal growth responds to changes in natural environments. The success of speleothem-based palaeoclimate science has greatly benefited from her notoriously rigorous (and much-cited) classification of speleothem fabrics, based on years of cave monitoring, in-situ calcite growth experiments and innumerable scanning electron microscopy observations.
Currently Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Newcastle, Australia, Silvia’s scientific career is truly international, having studied and worked on four different continents, and leading research collaborations across the globe. Her high esteem among her colleagues is evidenced by honorary affiliations and awarded visiting fellowships, both domestic and international. At the top of her field, Silvia Frisia is described by her peers as a conscientious colleague, committed teacher and outstanding mentor, who strives to further science for the good of humanity and empower the next generation of researchers.
On the basis of her outstanding and impactful research, as well as a strong commitment to teaching and outreach, Silvia Frisia is a worthy recipient of the 2024 Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal.