J. Ross Mackay Award Recipients

2014 Recipient:

Dr.Tom Lakeman is currently a W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University. He received his MSc from Simon Fraser in 2006, and in 2012 Tom received his PhD from the University of Alberta. Tom’s research is devoted toward an understanding of Quaternary environmental change in the Canadian Arctic. He has published ten articles about his research in top earth science journals.

Scientists nominated Tom to receive the J Ross Mackay award based on three papers first-authored by the awardee that best highlight his ability to solve Quaternary problems by integrating basic fundamentals of field geology and chronological methods (14C, OSL, and cosmogenic nuclide dating):

1.      Lakeman, T. R. and England, J. H. (2012). Paleoglaciological insights from the age and morphology of the Jesse moraine belt, western Canadian Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews 47, 82-100;

2.      Lakeman, T. R. and England, J. H. (2013). Late Wisconsinan glaciation and postglacial relative sea-level change on western Banks Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Quaternary Research 80, 99-120; and

3.      Lakeman, T.R. and England, J.H. (in press). Facies and stratigraphic analyses of glacial and interglacial sediments at Morgan Bluffs, Banks Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Boreas.

These three papers demonstrate Tom’s careful landform mapping, rigorous description and interpretation of Quaternary stratigraphy, and a clear understanding of the relevance of this work to other research and applied science in the region. In particular, his research on the Quaternary geomorphology, stratigraphy, and sea level history of a vast area from Prince of Wales Strait in the east to Beaufort Sea in the west, and to M’Clure Strait in the north has been fundamental to a major revision of thinking about the extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet in the western Arctic during Marine Isotope Stage 2. Tom’s research provides fresh, new perspectives on Laurentide glacial dynamics; his research has revised the chronology of events in this region. Dr. Lakeman’s findings have significant implications for western Arctic climate change, hypotheses of biological refugia in Arctic Canada, and for the transport of ice and sediment to the Arctic seafloor.


2013 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Brett Eaton, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

Dr. Eaton’s nomination is based on a body of work in fluvial geomorphology addressing channel bank strength and morphodynamics. His research integrates experiments, field measurements, modelling and prediction, and applies the insights gained toward understanding the effect of environmental change on rivers. The three papers supporting his nomination are:

Eaton B.C. and Church, M. 2007. Predicting downstream hydraulic geometry: A test of rational regime theory. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface 112(F03025): doi: 10.1029/2006JF000734.

Eaton B.C. and Church M. 2009. Channel stability in bedload dominated streams with non-erodible banks: inferences from experiments in a sinuous flume. ournal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface 109(F03011): doi: 10.1029/2007JF000902.

Eaton B.C. and Giles T.R.2009. Assessing the effect of vegetation-related bank strength on channel morphology and stability in gravel bed streams using numerical models. controls and ecosystem implications. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 34:712-724. doi: 10.1002/esp.1768.

These papers focus on the physical principles and variables controlling stream channel morphodynamics, and on how best to apply these principles to understand the manner by which rivers respond to land use and environmental change. The award committee was particularly impressed by the breadth of approaches taken, the insight gained and the relevance of the themes to Canadian Geomorphology.

Dr. Eaton received his Ph.D. in Geography in 2004 from the University of British Columbia and was appointed an Assistant Professor there in the same year. His numerous accomplishments include being awarded in 2005 the Wiley Award for Best Paper in Earth Surface Processes and Landscapes, and in 2010 the UBC Killam Teaching Prize. He has also assumed a leading role in HYDRONET, a major national project to understand the impact of hydroelectric power dams on the downstream aquatic environment.


2012 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Chris Hugenholtz, Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge

Dr. Hugenholtz’s nomination was based on a body of work addressing biophysical interactions between wind erosion, vegetation and sand dune activity in Prairie sandhill ecosystems. During a relatively brief research career, he has demonstrated theoretical and field-based research that spans remote sensing, process-based aeolian studies, and made conclusions with application towards ecosystem management. The three papers supporting his nomination are:

Hugenholtz, C.H. and Barchyn, T. 2010. Spatial analysis of sand dunes with a new global topographic dataset: new approaches and opportunities. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 35(8):986-992.

Hugenholtz, C.H. 2010. Morphodynamics of a supply-limited inland parabolic sand dune during the incipient phase of stabilization. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 35(14):1674-1681.

Hugenholtz, C.H., Bender, D. and Wolfe, S.A. 2010. Declining sand dune activity in the southern Canadian prairies: historical context, controls and ecosystem implications. Aeolian Research 2(2-3):71-82

The first paper highlights the utility of a freely-available DEM data source that provides new opportunities for investigating large aeolian sand dunes in three-dimensions. The second paper details the results of topographic change of a parabolic dune undergoing increased vegetation cover and stabilization, despite drier-than-average moisture conditions and a steady wind erosion potential. It highlights the problem of ascribing simple climatic indices to dune activity and calls for a greater accounting of spatial and temporal variations of local sand supply as a boundary condition, in order to replicate realistic geomorphic states. The third paper overviews Canadian prairie sandhills and examines the factors contributing to the historical decline of active dunes throughout the region, as well as the ecological implications of dune stabilization. It identifies that a significant implication of declining wind erosion on sand dunes is the loss of specialized habitat and, potentially, the wildlife that depend on it. The papers conclude that interventionist management strategies may be necessary to preserve dune-dependent species habitat and thus biodiversity of the prairie. The award committee was particularly impressed with the application of this latter research to a real world environmental problem.

Dr. Hugenholtz received his Ph.D. in Geography in 2006 from the University of Calgary and was appointed an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge in 2007. His numerous accomplishments include being awarded in 2010 the Cenovus Chair in Canadian Plains Mitigation and Reclamation Research, and twice receiving the CGRG Olav Slaymaker Award (2004 and 2005). In the opinion of one of his supporters, “his best research and accolades are yet to come”, a statement with which the J. Ross Mackay Award Committee concurs.


2011 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Michele Koppes, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

Dr. Koppe’s was nominated for a body of work she has produced over the last decade, establishing the controls on the relative rates of erosion by fluvial and glacial processes, and disentangling these contributions from tectonic and dynamical ice contributions over a range of timescales, and placing these within the context of anthropogenic influences. Her nomination highlighted one particular publication, co-authored with David Montgomery:

M.N. Koppes and D.R. Montgomery 2009. The relative efficacy of fluvial and glacial erosion over modern to orogenic timescales. Nature Geoscience, 2, 644-647.

The committee and nominating group highlighted this work for integrating her previous field studies in Alaska and Patagonia with a review of global contributions of rivers and glaciers to erosion across a range of timescales. That paper compared modern measures of erosion from glaciers and rivers with longterm estimates and human activity in a global context. The committee felt this work challenges conventional wisdom that glaciers are more erosive than rivers, and found that both rivers and glaciers can erode to keep pace with the highest rates of uplift. Koppes and Montgomery found that human activity and climate change are having a major influence on erosion rates, and in fact erosion from agricultural lands in some areas is comparable with that from tectonically active mountain ranges.

Dr. Koppes received her PhD from the University of Washington in 2007. She joined UBC originally as a teaching Post-doctoral Fellow, and joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography in January 2010. A profile of her research was included in the CGRG Newsletter last July.

Dr. Koppes will deliver the Mackay award lecture at some future CGRG sponsored meeting, to be determined. Please join me in congratulating her on this award.


2010 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Steve Kokelj, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Yellowknife.

Dr. Steve Kokelj (PhD 2003, Carleton University) is the 2010 recipient of the J. Ross Mackay Award. The award is given in recognition of his exemplary contributions to field studies of important periglacial processes in the Mackenzie Delta region of the western Arctic. As the adjudication committee noted, Dr. Kokelj has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to communication of results to northern residents, to agencies involved in environmental assessment and regulation, to the scientific community through an impressive body of peer-reviewed journal papers and other contributions, and through mentoring of the next generation of northern geomorphologists. His work on near-surface ground ice, active layer dynamics, thaw slump processes, ice-wedge development, tundra hummocks, sediment yield and active-layer detachment sliding has important implications for ecological integrity and environmental sensitivity of permafrost terrain. Whereas these accomplishments amply merit him the J. Ross Mackay Award, the following paper is singled out for the award as advancing the understanding of a periglacial process widespread in the Canadian arctic and potentially hazardous to nearby infrastructure:

Kokelj, S.V., Lantz, T.C., Kanigan, J.C.L., Smith, S.L. and Coutts, R. 2009. Origin and polycyclic behaviour of tundra thaw slumps, Mackenzie Delta region, Northwest Territories, Canada. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 20: 173-184.

Thaw slump initiation and development have up until now tended to be considered as a single event lasting from initiation through to final stabilization, and thaw slump dynamics has tended to concentrate on the behaviour of the headscarp. This paper explains the common observation of rejuvenated thaw slumps and considers the thermal regime of the entire feature. The two most unique parts of the study are tying in the lake bathymetry as a control on talik growth, and the use of the temperature data to model temperature differentials as a control on thaw-slump reactivation (or poly-cyclic behaviour). Consequently, the role played by a pond or lake that usually adjoins a thaw slump can no longer be ignored in anticipating the initiation of a thaw slump or the potential for reactivation.


2009 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Professeur régulier en géomorphologie et hydrologie fluviale, Département des Sciences humaines, Université du Québec à Rimouski

Dr. Thomas Buffin-Bélanger (PhD 2001, Université de Montréal) is the recipient of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group J. Ross Mackay Award for 2009. Dr. Buffin-Bélanger’s research is mostly in the field of fluvial geomorphology and fluvial hydraulics. His work relating river dynamics and fluvial geomorphology to stream ecology is among the first in Canada and he is at the forefront of the rapidly-growing field of eco-hydraulics and eco-geomorphology. This award was given to Dr Buffin-Bélanger in recognition of the work he did in measurement of turbulent flow structures in gravelly-bed rivers. He has been one of the pioneers in applying new instrumentation and field-based flow visualization techniques to produce tridimensional space–time matrices of velocity fluctuations which are extremely efficient tools to detect the passage of a “turbulent front”. This quantification of the flow field was accompanied by novel visualization tools, which greatly enhanced our understanding of high-speed and low-speed wedges in gravel-bed rivers.

Several papers have been acknowledged to recognize his contribution to geomorphology.

Buffin-Bélanger T, Roy AG (2005). One minute in the life of a river: selecting the optimal record length for the measurement of turbulence in fluvial boundary layers. Geomorphology, 68, 77-94.

Roy AG, Buffin-Bélanger T, Lamarre H, et Kirkbride AD (2004). Size, shape and dynamics of largescale turbulent flow structures in a gravel-bed river. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 500, 1-27.

Paiement-Paradis G, Buffin-Bélanger T, et Roy AG (2003) Scaling relationships for large-scale turbulent flow structures in gravel-bed rivers. Geophysical Research Letters, 30 (14), 1773, doi:10.1029/2003GL017553.

Buffin-Bélanger T, Roy AG et Levasseur M (2001) Interactions entre les structures d’échappement et les structures à grande échelle dans l’écoulement turbulent des rivières à lit de gravier. Revue des Sciences de l’Eau, 14, 381-407.

Buffin-Bélanger T, Roy AG, et Kirkbride AD (2000). Vers l’intégration des structures de l’écoulement dans la dynamique d’un cours d’eau à lit de graviers. Géographie physique et Quaternaire, 54, 105- 117.

Buffin-Bélanger T, Roy AG et Kirkbride AD (2000) On large-scale flow structures in a gravel-bed river. Geomorphology, 32, 417-435.

The Jury composed of John Clague, Don Forbes, Joe Desloges, Jean-Marie Dubois and Yves Michaud, has made an unanimous decision in favour of Thomas Buffin-Bélanger in recognition of its creativity and the importance of fundamental discoveries he made in the field of turbulent flow over rough beds, with significant implications for the understanding of fluvial geomorphology and stream ecology. He is now expanding this research to the study of river ice, including under-ice flow and frazil formation. His work is influencing a large cohort of young researchers at UQAR. His development of innovative techniques to acquire laboratory quality measurements in field environments and reproduce field conditions in the laboratory demonstrates a creativity and scientific commitment to detailed physical understanding in the study of geomorphology. His work thus reflects the career of Ross Mackay, who pioneered the application of experimental techniques in field research on the physics of frozen ground with important applications of larger-scale landscape management.


2008 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Brian P. Menounos, Associate Professor, Geography Program, University of Northern British Columbia.

Dr. Brian Menounos (PhD 2002, University of British Columbia) is the recipient of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group J. Ross Mackay Award for 2008. Dr. Menounos’s research involves the extraction of paleoenvironmental proxy data from annually layered clastic lake sediments in the Coast Mountains of southern British Columbia. For his research, Dr. Menounos combines the analysis of the microstructure of individual varves with the analysis of hydro-meteorological and hydro-geomorphological data and patterns of extreme weather events.

The nominators highlighted two publications of particular merit, the first of which is:

Menounos, B., Clague, J. Gilbert, R., and Slaymaker, O., 2005. Environmental reconstruction from a varve network in the southern Coast Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. The Holocene 15: 1163-1171.
This paper describes a study of the depositional response to climate and geomorphic change over the past 120 years based on varves from five lakes in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia.

A second publication to which the nominators drew attention was:

Menounos, B., Schiefer, E., and Slaymaker, O. 2006. Nested temporal-scale sediment yield estimates, Coast Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Geomorphology 79: 114-129.

In this paper, Dr. Menounos and his co-authors describe a comparison of suspended sediment yields determined from the volume of sediment accumulated in a lake basin with estimates based on monitoring the main inflow to the lake. One of the findings of the study was that in this 178 km2 mountainous basin it takes approximately 50 years of suspended sediment monitoring to reduce the uncertainty of the sediment yield estimate to 37% of its average value.

All nominators remarked on the fact that, despite being in the relatively early stages of his scientific career, Dr. Menounos has played a leading role in establishing the Western Canadian Cryospheric Network (WC2N). This project is funded by the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, and will assess the past, current, and future extent of glaciers in the western Cordillera through a combination of remote sensing, GIS, modelling, and field studies. Ultimately this project will provide a better understanding of the response of glaciers and streamflow to climate variability over the next 50 to 150 years.


2007 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Ian J. Walker, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Victoria

Dr. Ian Walker (PhD 2000, University of Guelph) is the recipient of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group J. Ross Mackay Award for 2007. The award celebrates the research achievements of an early-career Canadian geomorphologist. Dr. Walker’s nomination highlights his national and international contributions to the study of aeolian sediment transport and erosion processes in desert and coastal sand dune complexes. His research involves a suite of comprehensive and sophisticated modeling and empirical approaches that are embedded in a strong theoretical framework. He has published the results of his innovative field experiments (including his application of ultrasonic anemometry), scaled wind tunnel simulations, computational fluid dynamics modeling, and critique of airflow dynamics and aeolian sand transport models in leading journals of the discipline:

Walker, I.J., Hesp, P.A., Davidson-Arnott, R.G. & Ollerhead, J. 2006. Topographic steering of alongshore airflow over a vegetated foredune: Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island, Canada. J. Coastal Research 22: 1278-1291.

Anderson, J.L. & Walker, I.J. 2006. Airflow and sand transport variations within a backshore-parabolic dune plain complex: NE Graham Island, British Columbia, Canada.Geomorphology 7: 17-34.

Walker, I.J. & Roy, A.G. 2005. Fluid flow & sediment transport processes in geomorphology: innovations, insights & advances in measurement. Geomorphology 68: 1-2.

Walker, I.J. 2005. Physical and logistical considerations of using ultrasonic anemometry in aeolian sediment transport research. Geomorphology 68: 57-76.

Hesp, P., Davidson-Arnott, R.G., Walker , I.J., & Ollerhead, J. 2005. Flow dynamics over a vegetated foredune at Prince Edward Island, Canada. Geomorphology 65: 71-84.

Pearce, K.I. & Walker, I.J. 2005. Frequency and magnitude biases in the Fryberger models with implications for characterizing geomophically effective winds. Geomorphology 68: 39-55.

Parsons, D.R., Walker, I.J. & Wiggs, G.F.S. 2004. Numerical modelling of flow structures over idealised transverse aeolian dunes of varying geometry. Geomorphology 59: 149-164.

Parsons, D.R., Wiggs, G.F.S., Walker, I.J., Ferguson, R.I. & Garvey, B.G. 2004. Numerical modeling of airflow over an idealized transverse dune. Environmental Modelling & Software 19: 153-162.

Walker, I.J. & Nickling, W.G. 2003. Simulation and measurement of surface shear stress over isolated and closely spaced transverse dunes. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 28: 1111-1124.

Walker, I.J. & Nickling, W.G. 2002. Dynamics of secondary airflow and sediment transport over and in the lee of transverse dunes. Progress in Physical Geography 26: 47-75.

Members of the award selection committee also noted Dr. Walker’s increasingly integrative research. For example, his recent collaborations with social scientists has led to the identification of geomorphic hazards in Haida Gwaii and a consideration of the capacity of local communities to address these challenges. This published research has important implications far beyond the geomorphology community and represents a critical new direction for geomorphology in Canada and globally.

Dolan, A.H. & Walker, I.J. 2006. Understanding vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change related risks. Journal of Coastal Research, SI 39: 1317-1324.


2006 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Duane Froese, Assistant Professor, Deptartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta

Dr. Duane Froese, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Univeristy of Alberta, is the 2006 J. Ross Mackay Award recipient. The award is given in recognition of his important contributions to our understanding of the late Cenozoic environmental history of eastern Beringia, one of the oldest landscapes in Canada. His contributions include (1) confirmation of the hypothesis that the Yukon River reorganized itself in response to continental glaciation about 2.6 million years ago, (2) demonstration that continuous permafrost was established in the Yukon by about 3 million years ago based on the presence of relict periglacial features in the Klondike, (3) the discovery of relict ground ice that is nearly 1 million years old in the same region, and (4) the recognition that organic beds in reworked loess deposits in eastern Beringia are the interglacial deposits formed under boreal forest conditions.

Dr. Froese is described by the nominators for the award as a brilliant young scientist and leader, one of the most dynamic and promising young Quaternary researchers in Canada, and a well-informed spokesperson for Canadian geomorphology and Quaternary studies. Although he obtained his PhD from the University of Calgary in 2001, just 5 years ago, Dr. Froese already has a total of 12 papers in monographs and top-quality journals. His approach is multidisciplinary, and he is well known for his capability to serve as a catalyst in multi-faceted research projects.

Through having contributed an impressive body of work on Beringian paleoenvironments, Dr. Froese’s nomination singled out the following publication as having greatest significance.

Froese, D. G.; Westgate, J. A.; Preece, S. J.; and Storer, J. 2000. Paleomagnetic evidence for multiple Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene glaciations in Yukon Territory. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 37: 863-877.

As summarized by the Mackay Award Committee, this paper integrates original field observations and paleomagnetic data with an extensive body of previous literature to provide a well constrained chronostratigraphic framework for the Yukon extending well into the Pliocene. It establishes the earliest evidence of permafrost in northwestern North America and the timing of the first regional glaciation. The framework presented in this paper is of broad applicability throughout Beringia, as demonstrated by a number of subsequent publications by Froese and others. The paper also has significant implications for understanding of global climate regimes and the initiation of late Cenozoic glaciation.

At the 2006 CGRG AGM Dr. Froese will present his J. Ross Mackay lecture entitled “Toward a history of permafrost in the western Arctic and its longterm survival over the last 700,000 yrs”.

An understanding of the history of permafrost, and in particular, the impacts of past climate on terrestrial permafrost is critical to understanding its future. Numerical models predict its destruction over extensive areas of the Arctic and sub-Arctic in the near future, and in a general sense, little is known of the past record of permafrost from which to evaluate these models. In this talk, I will summarize recent research by my research group and collaborators on the history of permafrost in eastern Beringia (unglaciated Yukon and Alaska). This region provides a unique archive of paleoenvironmental change by virtue of the numerous distal tephra interbedded with long, rich sedimentary records and the association with relict ground ice. The earliest appearance of permafrost is marked by well-developed frost cracks in the early Pliocene of northern Yukon. By the middle Pliocene numerous ice wedge casts are found within central Yukon and Alaska, marking the development of strong latitudinal climate gradients, preceding the onset of extensive glaciation. Permafrost was likely ephemeral through the middle Pliocene and early Pleistocene, appearing during cold intervals. Several lines of evidence suggest that permafrost was likely absent during interglacials of the early Pleistocene. The discovery of relict ice wedges overlain by the Gold Run tephra (ca. 740,000 yrs BP) in central Yukon, provides clear evidence that permafrost has been a longterm component of the North American cyrosphere. Further, permafrost persisted in central Yukon through at least six interglaciations, including Marine Isotope Stages 11 and 5e, considered to be longer and warmer than our present interglaciation.

2005 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. John Orwin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Dr. John Orwin of the Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, has received the 2005 J. Ross Mackay Award in recognition of his original contributions to Canadian geomorphology that integrate modern geographical techniques with traditional field work. Dr. Orwin has designed suspended sediment sensors and applied these instruments and electronic field mapping to data collection in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Canadian Rocky, Selkirk, and Coast Mountains, Iceland and, recently, Antarctica. His use of computer-aided cartography and photogrammetry, multivariate statistics and GIS visualization brings a new perspective to long-standing problems.

The following recent publications demonstrate Dr. Orwin’s innovative approach to data collection, assimilation and presentation in geomorphology:

Orwin, J.F.; Clague, J.J.; and Gerath, R.F. 2004a. The Cheam rock avalanche, Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada. Landslides 4:289-298.

This paper incorporates geomorphology, stratigraphy and radiocarbon ages into a digital elevation model to infer the extent, process and cause of a catastrophic large Holocene rock avalanche that had previously puzzled landslide researchers. The surface morphology of the deposit implied two separate events, but stratigraphic information showed that much of the surface form arose from liquefaction of the impacted surface, rather than discrete events. The authors used advanced GIS-rendering methods for analysis and presentation of the results, allowing very powerful communication of the form of the deposit, while integrating stratigraphic information in the same scene. The paper has a strongly applied aspect, in addressing a significant environmental hazard, and also includes native oral history implying loss of human life.

Orwin, J.F.; and Smart, C.C. 2004b. Short-term spatial and temporal patterns of proglacial suspended sediment transfer, Small River Glacier, British Columbia. Hydrological Processes 18:1521-1542
Orwin, J.F.; and Smart, C.C. 2005. An inexpensive turbidimeter for monitoring suspended sediment. Geomorphology 68(1-2):3-15.

These papers, based on Dr.Orwin’s PhD work, provided an incisive and original experimental approach to measuring the delivery of suspended sediment from proglacial surfaces. They developed a more sophisticated understanding of recent paraglaciation than had been possible before. This work involved development of a suitable suspended sediment sensor; inexpensive enough for broad deployment, but robust enough to survive in proglacial streams. A GIS-rectified photogrammetric mapping project generated a prize-winning geomorphic map of the catchment. Dr. Orwin also applied advanced multivariate statistics to show that, away from the glacier front, suspended sediment delivery was dominated by episodic remobilization of sediment stored in gravel channels). The work leads to doubts about much previous work based on arbitrarily positioned proglacial monitoring sites.

t the 2005 CGRG AGM Dr. Orwin will present his J.R. Mackay lecture entitled ” Exploring geomorphic processes in glacial environments: the role of instruments and statistics“. Dr. Orwin will focus his talk on recent advances in technology that have allowed researchers to develop low-cost instruments designed specifically for measuring proglacial suspended sediment transfer patterns. Dr. Orwin will demonstrate how installation of suites of these instruments has led to new insights into short-term spatial and temporal sediment transfer patterns in proglacial areas.


2004 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Matthias Jakob, Senior Geoscientist, Bruce Geotechnical Consultants, Vancouver

The 2004 J. Ross Mackay Award was presented to Dr. Matthias Jakob, P.Geo. The award is given in recognition of Dr. Jakob’s body of outstanding research on landslides, debris flows and the hydroclimatic forcing of hillslope failures on the west coast of North America. His publications, which have appeared in leading national and international journals, successfully bridge the theoretical and applied sides of the discipline, advance our understanding of current processes, and contribute to analyses of the impacts of future climate change. Taken together, they represent a highly significant contribution to hazard assessment in one of the most geomorphologically active regions of Canada. The Mackay Award Committee was particularly impressed that he has managed this achievement in the short time since his Ph.D. (1996) and within the time constraints of a career in the consulting industry.

In his single and co-authored papers, Dr, Jakob has significantly contributed to:

Evaluation and prediction of spatial impacts of logging on landslide activity in the Clayoquot Sound area of Vancouver Island. (Catena, 2000)
Assessment of the magnitude of under-prediction of design floods in small mountain basins and recognition that this problem is due to geomorphic processes. (Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2001)
Development of a discriminant function, involving antecedent rainfall, rainfall intensity and streamflow, to permit real-time predictions of landsliding in the southern Coast Mountains.(Geomorphology, 2003)

Understanding the links between ENSO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and temporal changes in short-duration rainfall in the Greater Vancouver area. (Canadian Water Resources Journal, 2003)

Dr. Jakob’s work has had significant impacts on professional practice. It led, for example, to geomorphological investigations being required as part of flood frequency analyses in British Columbia. More recently, in his desire to improve methods and techniques in the fields of geohazards and public safety, Dr. Jakob has been the force behind an Ad Hoc Working Group on Professional Practice Guidelines for Landslide Hazard Assessments in British Columbia, formed to assist municipalities and regional districts with responsibilities newly transferred from the Province. Finally, he is using his involvement in a long-term CIDA project on geohazards in seven Andean countries to pass on his Canadian-formed knowledge to peoples at risk elsewhere in the world.

It is an honour to present the J. Ross Mackay award for 2004, for the first time, to a young applied geomorphologist who so clearly fulfils the criteria of significant achievement and of fostering the development of geomorphology in Canada.


2003 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. John Gosse, Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University

After a year in which no award was given, the 2003 award was made to Dr. John Gosse of Dalhousie University, Halifax to recognize the excellence of John’s work on the application of terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides to geochronology, and more specifically for his masterly article that appeared in Quaternary Science Reviews in 2001. The Mackay award selection committee in recommending the award, noted the excellence not only the paper itself, which stands out as an exceptional and major contribution, but also of the impact of the Dr. Gosse on the field at the national and international levels.

John C. Gosse and Fred M. Phillips. 2001. Terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclides: theory and applications. Quaternary Science Reviews 20(14):1475-1576.

In this this paper John describes how the cosmogenic nuclide exposure history method is undergoing major developments in analytical, theoretical, and applied areas. The capability to routinely measure low concentrations of stable and radioactive cosmogenic nuclides has led to new methods for addressing long-standing geologic questions and has provided insights into rates and styles of surficial processes. The different physical and chemical properties of the six most widely used nuclides: 3He, 10Be, 14C, 21Ne, 26Al, and 36Cl, make it possible to apply the surface exposure dating methods on rock surfaces of virtually any lithology at any latitude and altitude, for exposures ranging from 102 to 107 years. The terrestrial in situ cosmogenic nuclide method is beginning to revolutionize the manner in which we study landscape evolution. Single or multiple nuclides can be measured in a single rock surface to obtain erosion rates on boulder and bedrock surfaces, fluvial incision rates, denudation rates of individual landforms or entire drainage basins, burial histories of rock surfaces and sediment, scarp retreat, fault slip rates, paleoseismology, and paleoaltimetry. Ages of climatic variations recorded by moraine and alluvium sediments are being directly determined. Advances in our understanding of how cosmic radiation interacts with the geomagnetic field and atmosphere will improve numerical simulations of cosmic-ray interactions over any exposure duration and complement additional empirical measurements of nuclide production rates. The total uncertainty in the exposure ages is continually improving. This article presents the theory necessary for interpreting cosmogenic nuclide data, reviews estimates of parameters, describes strategies and practical considerations in field applications, and assesses sources of error in interpreting cosmogenic nuclide measurements.

John gave the J.R. Mackay lecture, Cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating in Canada: new strategies, old landscapes, new questions at the Halifax meeting to a highly interested audience who also heard about applications of his technique through student and collaborators’ presentations throughout the meeting.


2001 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Scott Lamoureux, Department of Geography, Queen’s University at Kingston

The award selection committee recognized Dr. Lamoureux as one of the countries best young geomorphologists whose early and recent body of work is leading to substantial new ideas on glacilacustrine sedimentary records in the arctic as archives of climate change. In particular, this involves development of theoretical, methodological and quantitative (statistical) approaches to exploring the relations between varves and the hydroclimatological events that control their structure and variation. This has included detailed micro-structural analysis of varves and, for the first time, an understanding of watershed controls of these relations in high arctic regions. Three publications in particular were noted for their substantial scientific contributions.

Lamoureux, S.F., 2000. Five centuries of interannual sediment yield and rainfall-induced erosion in the Canadian High Arctic recorded in lacustrine varves. Water Resources Research, 36:309-318.
In this paper Scott has analyzed the varve time series in Nicolay Lake by treating the composite chronology as an extreme value series of sediment response to climate change. The most difficult aspect of this approach is to ensure that the sedimentary units are filtered to remove non-climate driven responses (see below). The multiple core approach and explicit definition of sedimentary structures through thin sections where required. Once filtered, the chronology was treated as an index of climate controls (rainfall in this case) and modeled as an extreme value series. The 500 years of record then provides insight to the extent of extreme climate variability during this long interval. It was then compared to instrumental observations of the last few decades. The results feed directly into the climate change models that have been proposed for the arctic and the results conform to other proxy data for the region (e.g. ice cores).

Lamoureux, S.F., 1999. Catchment and lake controls over the formation of varves in monomictic Nicolay Lake, Cornwall Island, Nunavut. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 36: 1533-1546.
Before Lamoureux (2000) could be effectively defended, filtering of the varve time series had to be accomplished. This was done by looking at the spatial and temporal variations in microstructures and at the same time demonstrating linkages to probable glacial and non-glacial sediment sources in the catchment. So together, Lamoureux (1999) and Lamoureux (2000) demonstrated the importance of a careful and meticulous approach to establishing cause and effect.

Lamoureux, S.F. and J.H. England, 2000. Late Wisconsinan glaciation of the northwest sector of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Quaternary Research, 54: 182-188.
Finally, the research accomplished by Dr. Lamoureux is set in the context of late glacial and Holocene environments. This paper on glacial history, ice dynamics and regional variability in landforms and sedimentary evidence demonstrates both the breadth and depth of scientific work that lies behind the catchment scale studies.

Dr. Lamoureux was presented with the J.R. Mackay Award at the biannual Canadian Quaternary Association/ Association canadienne pour l’étude du Quaternaire, 2001 August 20-24, Whitehorse, Yukon. On this occasion his Mackay lecture entitled Lacustrine Sedimentary Records of Long Term Geomorphic and Hydroclimatic Change.

Mackay Lecture Abstract
A central theme in geomorphic research has been to understand the processes and rates of change on the Earth’s surface. During the last century, considerable progress has been made documenting geomorphic systems and lacustrine sedimentary records have provided valuable long term records to extend our perspective of geomorphic change during the Holocene and beyond. Interest in the past twenty years regarding anthropogenic climate change and the characteristics of natural climate variability has also made use of sedimentary records to obtain a similar long perspective. For both of these research areas, annually laminated (varved) sediments are particularly useful because they provide long records with high temporal resolution. Once believed to be limited to proglacial and meromictic lakes, varved sedimentary records are now available from a range of environmental conditions.

As researchers have focused on the information contained in varved sediments, valuable insights regarding the close interaction of geomorphic and hydroclimatic systems have become apparent. The challenges involved in isolating these different environmental signals from the sedimentary record continue to provide valuable information on the nature of change in the earth system and complement ongoing efforts to understand how geomorphic processes at a variety of time scales operate.


2000 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Steven Wolfe, Geological Survey of Canada.

Dr. Wolfe was awarded the J.R. Mackay Award for his paper entitled Impact of increased aridity on sand dune activity in the Canadian Prairies.( Journal of Arid Environments 36: 421-432; 1997).

On the occasion of his award presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group held in conjunction with the Association Québécoise pour l’étude du Quaternaire, Montreal, August 2000, Dr. Wolfe gave a focus lecture entitled “The Winds of Change: Exploring Sand Dunes on the Canadian Prairies”.


1999 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Cheryl McKenna Neuman, Department of Geography, Trent University.

Dr. McKenna Neuman was awarded the J.R. Mackay Award for her paper entitled Particle transport and adjustments of the boundary layer rough surfaces with an unrestricted, upwind supply of sediment, (Geomorphology 25: 1-17; 1998).

This paper builds on Dr. McKenna Neuman’s earlier work on lag surfaces. She demonstrates how natural lag surfaces interact with aeolian sediment in transport, more specifically showing the relation between the shape and spacing of roughness elements and the onset and development of stabilization. On a more general level, the paper shows both Cheryl’s solid understanding of the theory of aeolian processes and her considerable experimental skill. As one of the nominators said, “this paper is clearly written, the experiments are beautifully designed, and the conclusions extend well beyond sediment transport by wind. I commend her for bringing understanding to the fundamental issue of transport over an armoured bed. This understanding has wide application in fluvial, aeolian, coastal and glacial geomorphology.” It seems appropriate that Dr. McKenna Neuman is the recipient of an award named after J. Ross Mackay, a scientist who has long blended well designed field experiments with a strong theoretical understanding of permafrost and periglacial processes”.

On the occasion of her award presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Geomorphology Research Group at the University of Calgary in August 1999, Dr. McKenna Neuman gave a focus lecture entitled “Particle Supply Restriction in Aeolian Systems – How Damp, Lumpy, Crusty Surfaces Mess Up Sediment Transport Models”.


1998 Recipient Ross Mackay Award

Dr. Tracy A. Brennand, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Brennand was awarded the J.R.Mackay Award for her paper entitled Macroforms, large bedforms and rhythmic sedimentary sequences in subglacial eskers, Southcentral Ontario: Implications for esker genesis and meltwater regimes, Sedimentary Geology 91: 9-55; 1994).

The selection committee cited her paper as an outstanding contribution and noted that she exemplified the “energy, scientific commitment and courage that we might all hope is the hallmark of the emerging generation of geomorphologists who will define our science in Canada in the decades to come”.

After receiving her award at the Annual General Meeting of the CGRG in 1998 at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Brennand presented a lecture entitled “Esker Road: a Geomorphologists Perspective on Subglacial Hydrology” which highlighted the findings of her research into subglacial eskers.