University of Calgary

Studying the ‘amazing journey’ of metamorphic rocks

UToday HomeFebruary 19, 2013

Dave Pattison, professor in the Department of Geoscience, was awarded the 2013 Peacock Medal by the Mineralogical Association of Canada for his outstanding contributions to the mineral sciences in Canada. Photo by Brett HamiltonDave Pattison, professor in the Department of Geoscience, was awarded the 2013 Peacock Medal by the Mineralogical Association of Canada for his outstanding contributions to the mineral sciences in Canada. Photo by Brett HamiltonDave Pattison — a metamorphic petrologist who studies the mineral changes that occur when rocks get buried and heated inside the Earth — was awarded the 2013 Peacock Medal, the highest award of the Mineralogical Association of Canada.

The association awarded Pattison, a professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary, for his outstanding contributions to the mineral sciences in Canada.

Pattison’s work explores what he calls the “amazing journey” of rocks as they become buried and heated deep in the earth, has helped us better understand plate tectonics, how and when mountains were formed and other “fundamental things about how the Earth works.”

Metamorphic petrology also helps geologists understand the location and origin of many of the world’s ore deposits, which provide metals and other mineral products.

“It’s quite a thrill to receive this award,” says Pattison. “Several of my scientific heroes are among the previous recipients. In my general research field ― petrology ― Canadian scientists have ‘punched above their weight’ in terms of their impact internationally, which makes it especially meaningful to me.”

Pattison’s research focusses on improving the understanding of metamorphic processes, developing better techniques of metamorphic petrology, and integrating these with other disciplines in geoscience in order to solve broader problems.

Pattison’s passion for his field is infectious.

“When you hold a metamorphic rock in your hand, you are holding something that may have originated at the bottom of the ocean as mud, got buried, heated and completely transformed at depths of tens of kilometres beneath the surface, and, perhaps most remarkably of all, made its way back to the surface so we could sample it!”

Pattison will receive the Peacock Medal in May at the annual joint meeting of the Geological Association of Canada and Mineralogical Association of Canada in Winnipeg.

 

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