July 20, 2011
U. geophysicist garners national honor
(Brian Maffly, Salt Lake Tribune) — For the second time in four years, a University of Utah geology professor will be honored with the U.S. Geological Survey’s top award for scientists outside federal employment.
Geophysicist Robert Smith, whose research is unlocking the mysteries underlying the Yellowstone caldera, has been informed by agency director Marcia McNutt that he is receiving the John Wesley Powell award.
“Bob has been the go-to guy for decades on Yellowstone and Yellowstone seismicity and has been such a great friend to USGS,” McNutt said in an e-mail. “We look forward to many more years of productive collaboration with this stellar scientist.”
The honor is named after the great 19th century explorer who developed the first detailed reports of the Colorado Plateau and was the USGS’s second director. It recognizes achievements that have advanced the agency’s mission, which is to provide scientific information about earthquake hazards, the health of the environment and the management of natural resources.
U. seismologist Walter Arabasz, now retired, won the award in 2007.
Smith is an emeritus professor and research professor who has identified and characterized a vast magma plume associated with the breathing-like rise and fall of Yellowstone, and its frequent earthquakes and famous thermal features. More…Posted by: psilberman