The 2011 Plinius Medal is awarded to Raphaël Paris in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions to multidisciplinary research in the field of natural hazards and risk mitigation, with special focus on volcanic hazard, on volcanic slope instabilities, of tsunamigenic eruptive and gravitational processes, and on studies of tsunami onshore deposits.
Raphaël Paris is a young scientist who obtained a Master in Geomorphology at the University Paris XII, Créteil (France) in 1999 and a PhD in Physical Geography and Volcanology at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and at the University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), defending a thesis on the “Volcanic construction and destruction rates of hotspot islands: the Canary Islands example (Spain)” in 2002. Since October 2004 he is full-time research fellow, employed by the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), at GEOLAB, Clermont-Ferrand (France), and he is Vice-Director of the laboratory since January 2008. His main research has been devoted to study 1) volcanic instability (ocean islands) and volcanic hazards (Canary islands), 2) sedimentary and geomorphic signature of tsunamis – implications for hazards (2004 Sumatra and Balearic islands) and 3) Volcanic tsunamis deriving from flank collapses (Canary, Reunion, Cape Verde) and eruptive processes (Krakatau, Karymsky). His main achievements have been:
- Active interdisciplinary research in different fields related to natural hazards focused on risk mitigation.
- Detailed studies of various hazardous geological events in the history of Canary Islands (more than 10 years of field research).
- Extensive investigation of tsunami effect and deposits concerning tsunamis of different origins, from flank collapses of volcanic edifices (Reunion, Cape Verde, Canary Islands) to explosive volcanic eruptions (Krakatau 1883, Karymskoye lake 1996 in Kamchatka) and to giant earthquakes (Banda Aceh, Sumatra, 2004)
- Application of new methods in addition to classic tools of sedimentology (new sampling techniques, investigation of magnetic susceptibility, numerical modeling of transportation and deposition).
- Organization of ”Firewaves” international working group (26 scientists from 11 countries) for investigation and modelling of tsunamigenic eruptive and gravitational processes.
- Dissemination of up-to-date knowledge related to natural hazards among younger scholars (2 scholarly books and 15 scholarly book chapters).
Paris’ research has been published in 26 peer-review papers, in 11 papers in non-refereed journals, in 2 scholarly books and 15 scholarly book chapters and has been presented in 51 conferences and workshops (40 of which with proceedings and abstracts). In spite of his young age, he has had and cotinues to have responsibility for a number of research projects, such as the national project Vitesss (Volcano-induced tsunamis: sedimentary signature and simulation) funded by the ANR Young Scientist scheme, 2008-2011 and Workpackage 2 on tsunami observations of the national project ANR Risknat, 2009-2012 (Maremoti – Maregraph and field tsunami observations, modelling and vulnerability studies for the Northeast Atlantic and Western Mediterranean). In summary, Raphaël Paris has obtained outstanding research achievements in the field of natural hazards, combining studies of geological volcanic hazards, tectonic hazards and tsunami hazards.