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Vening Meinesz Medal 2024 Jeffrey T. Freymueller

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European Geosciences Union

Jeffrey T. Freymueller

Jeffrey T. Freymueller
Jeffrey T. Freymueller

The 2024 Vening Meinesz Medal is awarded to Jeffrey T. Freymueller for pioneering work in geodesy with Global Navigation Satellite Systems and their application to geophysics.

Jeffrey Freymueller is an international leader in Global Navigation Satellite Systems, geodesy, and geophysics. He did much of the pioneering work to describe the tectonics and kinematics of the large India-Eurasia collision zone with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). With colleagues, he used careful analysis of the GPS displacement data to quantify crustal deformation in China, Nepal, and the Himalayas. This work included identification of earthquake hazard zones, a hallmark of his career ever since, with obvious societal benefit. He then extended his studies to Alaska and the Aleutian arc, performing some of the first GPS-based studies of this extremely active earthquake zone. His work has succeeded in elucidating key aspects of the earthquake process, by careful delineation of locked zones and regions of slow slip and aseismic slip. Moreover, by investigating the post-seismic signal from large subduction zone earthquakes, he and his students and co-workers have been able to infer the rheological structure of this active tectonic zone. Freymueller also applied similar rheological studies to areas undergoing rapid uplift as a result of glacier isostatic adjustment, extending our knowledge of upper mantle structure to a number of new areas.

While Freymueller began his career focusing on GPS, his work today includes interferometric synthetic aperture radar (inSAR) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) measurements. Freymueller is both an expert in geodetic theory and techniques, while also being at the cutting edge of geophysical science, a rare and impactful combination. For example, his group also pioneered the study of seasonal signals for elucidating hydrological signatures in Alaska. Freymueller’s combination of technique development and scientific application, and the depth and shear breadth of his research, have led to his tremendous impact in the field of geodesy. There is a constellation of colleagues and former students who regard him highly as a scientist and mentor and credit him as an inspiration in their own careers.

Over the years he has taken on leadership roles for the International Association of Geodesy, AGU, EarthScope, and the EarthScope Consortium (UNAVCO). For example, he has served as President of the AGU Geodesy Section, Editor in Chief of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia, on the US National Committee for International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, and Director of the EarthScope National Office. Recognizing Jeff Freymueller as a pioneer in GPS geodesy and its application to geophysics, and as a leader and exceptionally prolific scientist, he is awarded the Vening Meinesz Medal.