Paper No. 17-11
Presentation Time: 11:35 AM
EARTH, WIND AND FIRE: GRANT MEYER AND LES MCFADDEN'S LEGACY OF SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTIONS AND MENTORSHIP
Grant Meyer and Leslie (Les) McFadden leave a profound legacy not only in their students and their publications, but in their rigorous, field-based, and transdisciplinary approach to the analysis of Earth’s processes and landforms. Their studies and interpretations are rooted in a faithful interpretation of landforms and soils, informed by a comprehensive understanding of prior studies and models of the spatial and temporal development of landscapes. Grant’s pioneering studies of post-fire erosion using charcoal and fire-related deposits preserved in alluvial fans provides critical understanding of interactions among fire, climate, erosion and vegetation over Holocene timescales. Grant’s detailed observations and measurements of the processes and magnitude of modern fire-related erosional events provide the conceptual building blocks upon which much of the ongoing work on wildfires and erosion is based. Grant’s work on terraces and fluvial landforms, the influence of beavers on channel morphology and sediment yields, and the feedbacks among slope, aspect, vegetation and hillslope forms and processes are among his other important contributions. Desert soils and landscapes provide the focus for Les McFadden’s comprehensive career. Les’s impressive list of publications include contributions in tectonic geomorphology, the influence of aeolian processes on soil development, the formation of desert pavements, and the use of isotopes in understanding pedogenic carbonate development. Les’s understanding of rates and processes of weathering in what is now called the critical zone, and his early appreciation for the important role of dust in the development of desert soils and desert pavements, is central to the discipline of soil geomorphology. Both Les and Grant are gifted teachers and advisors; the fundamentals of geomorphology, Quaternary Geology, tectonic geomorphology, and soil science provide the backbone of courses now being taught by their students (and their students students) across the country. This talk celebrates the contributions of these extraordinary scientists, mentors, teachers, and colleagues.