GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 143-1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


SCHWEICKERT, Richard A., Geological Sciences, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV 89557, INGERSOLL, Raymond V., Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567 and GRAHAM, Stephan A., Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Bldg. 320, Stanford, CA 94305-2115,

William R. Dickinson (1931-2015) was an eminent field geologist, petrographer, theoretician and synthesizer, and an esteemed teacher and colleague. To quote T. Lawton (2015, New Mexico Geology, v. 37),

"With the passing of Bill Dickinson in mid-July [2015], the geologic community.... everywhere... lost an enduring colleague and friend. By a remarkable combination of intellect, self-confidence, engaging humility, and prodigious output..., he influenced and challenged...three generations of...sedimentary geologists, igneous petrologists, tectonicists, sandstone petrologists, archeologists and university students...around the globe..."

During Bill's Stanford years (1958-1979), major themes included deriving new insights into geologic processes from comparing modern and ancient plate-tectonic settings.

His early field studies included the Mesozoic of central Oregon (1962, 1966) and the San Andreas fault (1966, 1967). Then came insights into the tectonics of circum-Pacific island arcs (with T. Hatherton, 1967-69, 1975).

In 1969 he convened the watershed GSA Penrose conference on "The meaning of the New Global Tectonics for magmatism, sedimentation, and metamorphism in orogenic belts"--he was proclaimed "Hero of plate tectonics" by attendees. An onslaught of new ideas and insights followed. He explained plate-tectonic settings and processes (1970 and thereafter); sandstone petrology as a guide to plate-tectonic settings (1970; with Stanford students 1979, 1980); and plate-tectonic evolution of sedimentary basins (1970, 1971, and with Stanford students, 1974-1976).

Bill and his students sharpened their focus on forearc basins and sedimentary successions within them (1969, 1970, 1971-74, 1977, 1979); plate-tectonic evolution of California (1966 and thereafter); and San Andreas fault system as a transform plate boundary (1966, 1968-1972; 1979). This naturally led to syntheses of Cordilleran basins and tectonics (1976, 1977, 1979) and Pacific margin plate tectonics, especially the North Pacific rim and Japan (1977, 1978).

Bill was just getting started when he trans-located to the University of Arizona in 1979; much more was to come.