GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 141-13
Presentation Time: 5:05 PM


WAKABAYASHI, John, Earth and Environmental Sciences, California State University Fresno, 2576 E San Ramon Ave, M/S ST24, Fresno, CA 93740

As a graduate student of Eldridge's, he enthralled me and my classmates with personal accounts as a participant in and witness to the Plate Tectonic Revolution. Whereas his contributions to the Revolution: ophiolites as oceanic crust (Moores and Vine, 1971) and ultramafics and orogeny (Moores, 1970), as well as his ahead-of-its time recognition of low-angle normal faults in the Basin and Range (Moores et al., 1968; and his 1963 PhD thesis) predated our meeting in 1983, he continued to innovate during the time of our association. Early on I witnessed his editorship of Geology transforming it into the most prestigious geoscience journal. Over the years there seemed to be relatively "quiet" periods that preceded a surprise breakthrough. The SWEAT hypothesis (Moores, 1991) was one example, Historical Contingency (Moores et al., 2000) was another. As his ambitious protege, I recall thinking that I would make a strong showing in the 2000 GSA Special Paper on ophiolites (GSA SP 349) only to open my copy, see Moores et al. 2000 and say to myself "ah, he is still the master". A similar story will surround the posthumous publication of his brilliant last paper in a GSA Special Paper I am currently editing. His mentorship was inspiring and he set the bar high in many ways. He was not a hands-on advisor, but his pushing his students to frame research in a broad-interest context and think big was illustrated by the numerous "so what?" comments he'd pencil on drafts of our papers. Over the years he helped sharpen my thinking by engaging me in 'tectonic shoot outs' where we would vigorously debate some issue in tectonics in his office. His unique gift for seeing the big picture came across in personal debates, probing questions after presentations, and his formal reviews of manuscripts. Whereas his formal reviews were briefer than most, his comments tended to be more thought provoking and more challenging to address. His energy and spirit were infectious, for me beginning with twinkling eyes and a cheery "you must be looking for me" as I waited for him outside of his office in the summer of 1983. Like so many, I miss Eldridge hugely, but am enormously thankful for the years I knew him.