IU geologists named fellows of Geological Society of America

Indiana University faculty members Kathy Licht and Todd Thompson have been named fellows of the Geological Society of America in recognition of their contributions to the geosciences through research, teaching, publication and service.

Licht is an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Thompson is director of the Indiana Geological and Water Survey at Indiana University Bloomington and serves as Indiana state geologist.

They are among 75 geologists selected as 2017 fellows of the society, an organization of professionals with more than 26,000 members in 115 countries. The fellows will be recognized at the Geological Society of America annual meeting Oct. 22 to 25 in Seattle.

Licht's research focuses on understanding the history of the Antarctic ice sheet, the cause of its advance and retreat and its relationship to the global climate system. Her studies of glacial sediments and ice structure dovetail with international efforts to understand changes in the Antarctic ice sheet, in part because of its potential impact on global sea level rise.

She has a bachelor's degree from St. Norbert College and master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder.

"Kathy Licht undertakes critical field work in one of the harshest climates on Earth, the interior of Antarctica," said John T. Andrews, professor emeritus of geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, who nominated Licht. "Her record in research, publications, teaching and service to the profession are of the highest standards."

Thompson became director of the Indiana Geological and Water Survey and Indiana state geologist in November 2015. He serves as chief executive of the institution, providing overall leadership in fulfilling its mission of directed research, service and education. Much of his research has focused on past lake-level change and shoreline behavior in the upper Great Lakes. He also studies the architecture of ancient carbonate shoals and its relevance on recoverable dimension stone and the stratigraphy of middle Mississippian sediments in south-central Indiana.

He received his undergraduate degree from Allegheny College and his master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. He has worked for the survey for 30 years in a number of capacities.

"Todd is internationally recognized for his success and long-term commitment to understanding the coastal geology of the Great Lakes," said Timothy G. Fischer, professor of geology and environmental sciences department chair at the University of Toledo, who nominated Thompson to be a fellow. "In particular, his reconstructions of Holocene-aged lake levels are baseline data for any studies forecasting water levels, understanding glacio-isostatic adjustment and managing property in the coastal zone."

Established in 1888, the Geological Society of America provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and from all sectors. Its activities include organizing scientific meetings and conferences, disbursing research grants, bestowing awards, supporting geoscience teachers, enabling students from diverse backgrounds to have careers in the sciences and fostering awareness of geoscience issues.

The 2018 annual meeting of the society will take place Nov. 4 to 7 in Indianapolis. Thompson will be the general chair of the meeting, which is expected to bring nearly 7,000 earth scientists to Indiana.