Professor Gregory (Greg) Houseman, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the University of Leeds and Emeritus COMET Scientist, is amongst the outstanding and distinguished group of scientists who have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society this year.
This prestigious title is awarded to scientists who have made an exceptional contribution to science and Professor Houseman’s work is certainly deserving of this honour.
Professor Houseman’s research has produced very significant and long-standing advances in geodynamics, which clearly explain the relationship between the governing equations, their critical parameters and surface measurements. His contributions to the field include showing how convective instabilities link convection and continental dynamics, testing predictions of density structure associated with lower lithosphere removal, and further demonstrating the relationship between the width and length of mountain belts. In recent years, his research has focused on developing new understanding of key geological problems in the deformation of the Earth’s crust and lithosphere through computer modelling of geological deformation, and using seismic arrays, natural earthquakes and seismic noise to map the 3-D structure of the lithosphere and upper mantle in tectonically active regions like Turkey and Eastern Europe.
Professor Houseman’s work demonstrates that when a continent thickens as tectonic plates converge, convective instabilities can remove the lower lithosphere. This increases the gravitational potential energy of the overlying continent, leading to changes in surface height, volcanism and deformation. This process is now recognised as a fundamental influence on geological activity. By combining satellite observations of ground movement with numerical models at locations including the North Anatolian Fault in Turkey, he has also developed an improved understanding of the earthquake deformation cycle, which is leading towards a better assessment of future seismic hazard.
The many honours bestowed on Professor Houseman for his important contributions to the field include the European Geophysical Union’s Augustus Love Medal (2015) and Fellowship of the American Geophysical Union (2001), where he was also elected Section President for Tectonophysics (2004-2006). He has been a Fellow of the Institute of Physics since 2004, held a CIRES Fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder (2015) and was elected to Academia Europaea in 2016.
COMET would like to congratulate Professor Houseman on receiving his Fellowship of the Royal Society!