The 2024 Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal is awarded to Christian France-Lanord for impactful work on the understanding of the influence of orogenesis and tectonics on geochemical cycles, and of the coupling between erosion and weathering processes.
Christian France-Lanord is a leader and innovator in using sediment geochemistry to understand erosion and climate, and the interactions between them. He has revolutionised our understanding of the impact of orogenesis and tectonics on geochemical cycles, and his work on river mass transfer in the solid phase has changed the way we look at river transport, through novel and clever data acquisition in large river systems.
Christian France-Lanord’s major research focus has been on the Himalayan orogen, especially its potential role in moderating ocean chemistry and climate. Much of this work has focused on the processes of erosion, chemical weathering and the transport of sediments but as part of a much broader scientific scope. The work has been based on numerous and meticulous field studies combined with development and application of a wide range of state-of-the-art geochemical analytical techniques.
One important area of his research is the sampling of the riverine suspended load in major rivers to make accurate assessments of the suspended flux and isolate the impact of depth sorting on the sediments to be able to interpret the constraints their compositions place on the sediment sources and chemical weathering processes. This work has included development and application of methods of depth sampling of suspended sediment in major rivers, modelling approaches for estimating suspended load fluxes from the limited depth-sampled profiles, and approaches for deciphering the impact of sediment sorting on sediment geochemistry and mineralogy.
Christian France-Lanord was the co-chief scientist on International Ocean Discovery Programme (IODP) Expedition 354 in 2015 when he led a large group of scientists in sampling the Bengal fan in its central region significantly extending the coverage in space and time of what we know about the Bengal Fan and thus about erosion and weathering in the eastern and central Himalaya. In addition to his scientific contributions, Christian France-Lanord has played a significant part in the administration of science including being Director of the Research Center Pétrographiques et Géochimiques (CRPG) Nancy from 2008 to 2014.
Christian France-Lanord is a world leader in sediment geochemistry and surface processes, and is a worthy recipient of the Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal.