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Kelin X. Whipple

Kelin X. Whipple
Kelin X. Whipple

The 2008 Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal is awarded to Kelin X. Whipple for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of how climate, tectonics, and surface processes interact in the sculpting of the Earth’s surface.

Kelin Whipple is a Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He holds a B.A. (1985) in Geology from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1994) in Geological Sciences from the University of Washington. Dr. Whipple spent a year as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the St. Anthony Falls Hydraulic Lab at the University of Minnesota before taking a faculty position in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1995. He has recently moved to the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona Sate University, Tempe.

His most outstanding contributions have been in deepening our understanding of Landform evolution in active tectonic settings, examining the interactions of climate, tectonics, and the mechanics of river incision into bedrock, and their impact on sculpting of the Earth’s surface, particularly in mountainous areas. He has shown how the interaction of river incision and tectonics influences the morphology of mountain regions. Initially his work was mainly focussed on steady state models of uniform incision and supply limited removal, but his work has now expanded to consider the constraints of transporting capacity and grain size changes through the system, adding to the richness of the models he has been working on, both individually and in the broader context of the MIT team.