College of Arts and Sciences Accolades 2006
College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award
Roy B. Van Arsdale, Earth Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA) was initiated in 1993-94 upon the recommendation of the College Council for Research and Graduate Studies. In recognition for outstanding research achievements, each recipient receives $500.00 toward research expenses, a plaque, and recognition at our August faculty meeting.

A Geologist, Dr. Van Arsdale received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Utah in 1979. After holding positions first in industry and later in academia at Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Arkansas, he joined the Department of Geology at then Memphis State University in 1993. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1994 and served as Interim Chair 2001-2002.

Roy has been honored earlier by the College of Arts and Sciences, first with a Meritorious Faculty Award in 2003 and then with a Dunavant Professorship in 2005. Nominated by his colleague Dr. David Lumsden, Dr. Van Arsdale has a very substantial list of refereed article publications as well as refereed abstract publications. Noting that his research has focused on the geology of earthquakes mainly in the Central United States and Australia, Dr. Van Arsdale describes his approach as bringing “many techniques to bear to understand the bedrock structure, surface landforms, and fault history of the New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ). One of the principal goals of this research has been to assess the seismic threat of the NMSZ.” Many highly laudatory letters were submitted in support of Roy’s nomination for the CASDRA.

One colleague in his home department writes, “Roy’s research forte is the application of deep geological insight (and hard work!) to the difficult problems of large earthquake generation, particularly in the Central U.S…[He] studies the faults themselves, their structure, geometry, and geological setting…Roy ranks among the best of the ‘neotectonic geomorphologists’…in the United States and internationally.” The accolades continue. A colleague from the U.S. Geological Survey states that “Dr. Van Arsdale has used innovative geological and geophysical techniques, has capably led teams of scientists and students from academia and federal government agencies, and has competitively obtained funding for the research….His publications are clear testament to the fundamental contributions Dr. Van Arsdale has made to this societally-relevant scientific field.”

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Last Updated: 11/12/13