The 2011 Stephan Mueller Medal is awarded to Laurent Jolivet for his contribution to a deeper understanding of the tectonic evolution of the lithosphere at convergent plate boundaries. Using rock mechanics and new concepts on coupling between metamorphic reactions and deformation he has generated new insights on how the crust deforms at depth and returns to the surface.
Laurent Jolivet has devoted much of his scientific career to understanding the tectonic evolution of the lithosphere at convergent plate boundaries, running from the Western Pacific margin to the Mediterranean. His approach is mainly based on the coupling between metamorphic petrology, deformation and plate tectonic reconstruction. Jolivet has interest for the large-scale deformation integrating field data with large scale reconstruction. He has done field work in the Rif (Morocco), the Betics Cordillera (Spain), western Gneiss Region, in the Cyclades (Greece) and from the Alps to Calabria. Laurent Jolivet’s work puts constraints on the evolution of the alpine suture, from Gibraltar to the Alps and the Apennine, to Greece, Turkey, Oman and Iran, and then over to Japan, collecting an impressive amount of field data and relating them with different methodologies from petrology to modelling. His research has contributed fundamentally to clarify the way the crust deforms at depth and how rocks return to the surface, deepening the understanding of rock mechanics and advancing fundamental concepts like coupling between metamorphic reactions and deformation. His way of looking at deformation represents an original step towards the definition of the rheology of the lithosphere. Laurent Jolivet’s scientific production is impressive. His numerous articles published in peer-reviewed, high-ranking scientific journals give a prominent international visibility to his research. It is also the remarkable originality of his text books that breaks through the classical repetitive illustration and put forward new concepts in a simple and understandable way for students. The deep comprehension of the subject in his works, dealing with continental deformation and plate tectonics, is indeed demonstrated by the way he enlightena students, presenting complex topics in a very simple fashion. Laurent Jolivet is now recognized as one of the most brilliant and dynamic scientists in the international tectonics community. He is the head of one of the largest scientific groups in Europe and continues supervision of a large number of PhD students ranging over different fields and topics.