João C. Duarte
TS Tectonics and Structural Geology
The 2017 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists is awarded to João C. Duarte for his pioneering research on subduction initiation and wrench tectonics through innovative combinations of tectonic, marine geology and analogue modelling techniques.
João Duarte brings together insights from tectonics, marine geology, geodynamics and analogue modelling to explore strike-slip faulting, subduction processes and subduction initiation. During his PhD he constructed an up-to-date tectonic map of offshore south-west Iberia, corresponding to the area in which the Great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake was generated. This provided crucial input to fields as diverse as an early tsunami warning system, submarine mud volcanism, fluid circulation and methane hydrate formation. Duarte has developed dynamic analogue models of subduction, using new modelling materials for which he quantified their material properties. He is main editor of the book on Plate Boundaries and Natural Hazards published by AGU/Wiley and co-editor of a special issue on ‘200 years of geodynamic modelling’ in the Journal of Geodynamics. He has participated in 6 ocean research cruises for a total of ~90 days and has co-supervised two PhD students. Duarte’s research on plate-boundary processes has already, at this early stage of his career, led to 26 peer-reviewed publications (of which 10 as first author). In addition, Duarte is outstanding at communicating his scientific results, using creative titles of scientific articles that entice the reader. His ‘Are subduction zones invading the Atlantic?’ in Geology in 2013 provides first evidence that the south-west Iberian margin is being reactivated and discusses the implications for future initiation of subduction at Atlantic margins. The Discovery Magazine included this paper in their 100 Top Stories of 2013, resulting in more than 300 online downstream publications worldwide with an estimated reach of more than 150 million readers. This included media articles in New Scientist, National Geographic and Discovery Magazine. Duarte collaborated with the BBC in a TV mini-series and with ZDF in a documentary about the Great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. His wide research interests and in-depth understanding of tectonic and geodynamic processes combined with a unique talent for Earth science communication make João Duarte a deserving recipient of the 2017 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists.