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April 21, 1994 Contact: Robert Irion (408/459-2495)



SANTA CRUZ, CA--Seismologist John Vidale, a research associate at the Institute of Tectonics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has received one of the nation's leading awards for young geophysicists. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) honored Vidale and two other researchers with the 1994 James B. Macelwane Medal, given annually to scientists of outstanding ability who are age 35 or younger.

Vidale, who also is employed as a geophysicist by the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, specializes in using seismic records from earthquakes or artificial explosions as tools for exploring various features within the earth. The AGU lauded "his contributions to the study of subduction zones, upper-mantle discontinuities, core-mantle structure, and earthquake monitoring as a means of probing below the crust and lithosphere."

The other recipients of the 1994 Macelwane Medal are Daniel Jacob and Jeremy Bloxham, both of Harvard University.

The medal is named for the Reverend James B. Macelwane, who established the first institute of geophysics in the U.S. and had a deep interest in teaching and encouraging young scientists. Macelwane died in 1956. The award is one of several presented each year by the AGU, which has more than 30,000 members worldwide and is the largest scientific society dedicated to promoting the study of the earth and its environment in space.

Vidale, 35, earned his B.S. in physics and geology from Yale University in 1981 and his Ph.D. in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987. He joined UCSC's Institute of Tectonics in 1987 and has remained a research associate there since accepting his position at the U.S. Geological Survey in 1991. Vidale frequently publishes the results of his research in Nature, the world's most prestigious scientific journal.

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