The 2015 ICS Medal awarded to Aitor Payros at Bilbao, Spain

        Aitor Payros is a Lecturer in the University of the Basque Country and has published over 80 papers, focusing on Paleogene integrated stratigraphy and palaeontology. His work has contributed to the definition of three Paleogene GSSPs in recent years – the Selandian, Thanetian and Lutetian.


        This prize is awarded for his ground-breaking contribution (although he has made many others) published in Lethaia in 2007: Payros, A., Bernaola, G., Orue-Etxebarria,X., Dinares-Turell, J., Tosquella, J., Apellaniz,E., 2007. Reassessment of the Early-Middle Eocene biomagnetochronology bised on evidence from the Gorrondatxe section (Basque Country, westem Pyrenees). Lethaia v. 40, p. 183-195.


        This paper compiles bio- and magnetostratigraphic information from thirteen, mostly Atlantic locations spanning a wide latitude range. The key section in the article, Gorrondatxe in the Basque Country, subsequently figured in the nominee’s contribution to publications on the base-Lutetian GSSP. The paper particularly highlighted a discrepancy between foraminifer and nannofossil biostratigraphic schemes in the middle Eocene, forcing a re-evaluation of foraminifer biostratigraphic schemes. This mis-calibration of about three million years in this interval, caused great confusion for stratigraphers and the resolution of this stratigraphic problem has led to a much firmer understanding of global change in the warmest part of the Cenozoic Era.

Aitor Payros

Caption for Photo: Aitor Payros (left) with ICS Chair Stan Finney (right) at 2nd International Congress on Stratigraphy (STRATI2015) at Graz, Austria, 2015

The 2004 Digby McLaren Medal awarded to Jan Hardenbol, Houston, Texas, USA

The Digby McLaren Medal was awarded to Jan Hardenbol for his fruitful career of fundamental research in calibrating and in understanding the sedimentary record of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic history of Earth’s surface environments.  Most recently with Global Sequence Stratigraphy Inc. in Houston, Texas, Jan Hardenbol is recognized for several major accomplishments, especially during his thirty years (1964-1994) with Exxon Production Research, initially in Bordeaux, then in Houston.  He was the leading stratigrapher in the development and calibration of sequence stratigraphy and a guiding force in Paleogene chronostratigraphy and geochronology, including GSSP development.  In addition to being senior author of the immensely valuable integrated-stratigraphy charts for the Mesozoic and Cenozoic (published 1998) that built on his earlier global sea-level compilations with Exxon, Dr. Hardenbol continues to be an active leader in development of high-resolution time scales, in the understanding of causes of global sequences, and in interpreting sedimentary facies patterns.

Jan Hardenbol

Caption for photo:  Jan Hardenbol (center) with ICS Chair Felix Gradstein (left) and Digby McLaren (right) at 32nd IGC, Florence, Italy, 2004

The 2012 Digby McLaren Medal awarded to Stig Bergström, Columbus, Ohio, USA

       The Digby McLaren Medal was awarded to Stig M. Bergström, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University, for his long, distinguished, productive career in paleontology and stratigraphy.  Early in his career Stig Bergström became a leading figure in the application of conodonts and graptolites to stratigraphic problems in Baltoscandia.  After emigrating to America and becoming established at The Ohio State University, Stig Bergström worked with Walter Sweet to advance the concept of multi-element taxonomy for conodonts, and he expanded his conodont work to stratigraphic problems that used a variety of methods and later included joint work with mathematicians, geochemists, and geophysicists.  These studies of  lower Palaeozoic stratigraphy in Baltoscandia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina and North America include Ordovician-Silurian δ13C chemostratigraphy; 18O  in conodont apatite as a palaeothermometer for Ordovician seawater temperatures; correlation of Lower Palaeozoic bentonites based on their chemical composition and conodont biodiversity and ranges; and intercontinental correlation of Ordovician sections throughout the world.  Stig Bergström was one of the first members of the Ordovician Subcommission to visit China in the 1960’s and has remained an active worker, teacher and guest in that country since.  His commission work has been untiring and has formed the basis for many of the stratigraphic choices of global stratigraphic sections for the Ordovican System. Stig Bergström has received many awards including Fellowship in the Palaeontological Society of America and the Paleontological Society Medal; Honorary Doctorate of Lund University, the Raymond C. Moore Medal from the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), and the Pander Medal (international award in conodont research).  In addition, at the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia, Stig Bergström was presented with the IUGS Medal for Excellence.  At Columbus, Stig Bergstöm was always immensely popular with students who awarded him their distinguished teaching award three times.  His publication list contains more than 500 titles including important contributions to stratigraphy spanning more than 50 years. 

 Stig Bergström 

Caption for photo:  Stig Bergström (right) with ICS Chair Stan Finney (center) and IUGS President Alberto Riccardi (left) at 34th IGC, Brisbane, Australia, 2012

The 2008 Digby McLaren Medal awarded to Carlton Brett, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

         The Digby McLaren Medal was awarded to Carlton E. Brett, a distinguished and award-winning American geologist who for the past 30 years has produced a prodigious quantity of articles, edited books and guidebooks covering an enormous range of stratigraphic subject matter. He began his career with the study of lower Paleozoic echinoderms and quickly became a leading international authority on crinoid systematics and paleoecology. While that might be enough for many earth scientists, not so for Carl: he insists on asking ever-larger questions about the fossils and their host sediments. Integrating field geology, sedimentology, paleontology, paleoecology and taphonomy, within the tectonic framework of the basin, Carl Brett has acquired an understanding of the detailed dynamics of physical and biological sediment accumulation, reworking and erosion that is both profound and peerless—it is as if he had been there to witness it. Not limited to nearly 200 specialist papers, Carl Brett's teaching in the classroom and in the field has influenced dozens of students, many of whom are now professional stratigraphers in their own right. Using his fine understanding of the concepts of lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy Carl Brett has also instituted fundamental revisions to the basic stratigraphic architecture of the Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian of eastern North America, areas first studied a century and a half ago but still replete with puzzles that have required his unique talents to solve.

Carlton Brett

Caption for photo:  Carlton E. Brett

The 2015 Digby McLaren Medal awarded to Andrew Miall at Toronto, Canada

      Andrew Miall is one of the most influential scientists in the fields of sedimentology, stratigraphy and basin analysis, with an extraordinarily prolific record of published work (~109 papers with 5898 cites). His original research articles, reviews and textbooks have helped generations of young scientists, and have shaped the science of sedimentary geology as we know it today. His illustrious career over the past four decades led to an unprecedented world-class profile and international recognition. Following initial work within the petroleum industry, Andrew joined the Geological Survey of Canada in 1972 as a Research Scientist in the Arctic Islands section. In 1979, he became the inaugural holder of the Gordon Stollery Chair in Basin Analysis and Petroleum Geology at the University of Toronto. More than three decades later, Andrew still holds a Professorship at the University of Toronto, where he remains as active as ever and continues to make excellent impact on science and education.

      During his tenure at the University of Toronto, Andrew served as Editor of the Geoscience Canada, as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Sedimentary Geology, and currently as sedimentology editor for Earth Science Reviews. Andrew was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada in 1995 and has served as Vice President (2005-2007) and President (2007-2009). These accomplishments define a brilliant career in which Andrew has raised the standards of professional excellence to an unprecedented level.


 Andrew Miall 

Caption for photo: Andrew Miall (left) with ICS Chair Stan Finney (right) at 2nd International Congress on Stratigraphy (STRATI2015), Graz, Austria, 2015