ATLANTIC GEOSCIENCE SOCIETY

GESNER MEDAL - DISTINGUISHED SCIENTIST AWARD

NOMINATION FOR PAUL EDWARD SCHENK

Paul Schenk is the highly respected, and recently retired, Carnegie Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dalhousie University. His long and distinguished research career has followed two distinctly different paths. First, his painstaking stratigraphic unraveling of the enigmatic turbidite deposits of the Cambro-Ordovician Meguma Group of southern Nova Scotia, and his insightful interpretation of their dispersal patterns turning him toward Morocco as a source region, have legitimately earned him a world-wide reputation, and the affectionate nickname of "Mr. Megu". Last year marked the 25th anniversary of his provocative benchmark publication entitled "Southeastern Atlantic Canada, Northwestern Africa, and Continental Drift" (CJES 8, 1218, 1971) which, significantly, received its first incarnation in Maritime Sediments a year earlier. With those contributions, and the many subsequent papers which strengthen the case, Paul has single-handedly achieved acceptance of southern Nova Scotia as a "chip of Africa". Awestruck trans-Atlantic visitors still make pilgrimages to his office, Second, he has challenged existing ideas and applied new models to the Lower Carboniferous carbonate rocks of Atlantic Canada. In the 1960's he reinterpreted the Macumber Limestone of the basal Windsor Group as strand-line carbonates deposited under low subtidal to high intertidal conditions, concluding somewhat heretically that the Macumber laminites had mound carbonates as lateral facies equivalents. Paul and his students went on to study these economically important mounds (the Gays River Formation) in great detail but were partially thwarted by heavy dolomitization of the rocks. Paul solved this dilemma in the late 1980's by collaborative research on the undolomitized equivalent Lower Codroy Group carbonates of western Newfoundland. With characteristic courage he challenged his own hard-won, earlier conclusions. That the basal laminites of Atlantic Canada were the result of deeper water, bacterial precipitation and that their mound equivalents grew at deeper-water hydrothermal vents and/or seeps by bacterial chemosynthesis, was both shocking and revolutionary and has resulted in numerous papers, including two broad syntheses spearheaded by Paul of the regional deposition during this part of the Early Carboniferous.

Anyone who has been in the field with Paul Schenk, has been taught by him, or has had him as a colleague or friend, knows of his perennially youthful enthusiasm, of his constant self-examination of the validity of an idea, and of his relentless search for new models to explain his observations. For more than thirty years, Paul has brilliantly investigated the rocks of Atlantic Canada, has inspired and challenged generations of students, has done fundamental and outstanding research on the clastic stratigraphy and carbonate sedimentology of Atlantic Canada, and has formulated depositional and tectonic models whose application and interest reach far beyond this region. It is a pleasure and an honour to nominate Paul Edward Schenk for the Gesner Medal of the Atlantic Geoscience Society.


Barrie Clarke
Professor
Earth Sciences
Dalhousie University

Peter von Bitter
Curator and Head, Palaeobiology
Royal Ontario Museum; and
Professor, University of Toronto





FAX TO Dr. P. Reynolds, Chair, Earth Sciences from Paul in Florida

Thank you to all of my friends and geological colleagues in the Society for awarding me this medal. This is my 35th year working the Windsor and Meguma rocks - I never planned to spend more than a couple of years on either, but they are wonderful. Both of them have been here for hundreds of millions of years and certainly have not given up very many of their secrets tome.

But I'm still writing about these rocks! Anyone planning to work the mighty Megoo, see me for some good questions!

I picture today in early February in the Valley, very cold, trees encrusted with jewels of ice and am so glad I study carbonates and their tropical production. I would like to say that I'm busy right now researching the dickens out of them, but for the first time I am really tanning on a deck chair. But I arise now, face north, and this Bud's for you!

Paul Schenk



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