Dr. Kristján Sæmundsson chief geologist (retired) at Iceland GeoSurvey will be honoured by the Geological Society of London for his tribute to geoscience. This was announced on the Geological Society webpage on March 2nd. According to their webpage the Prestwich Medal were established under the will of Sir Joseph Prestwich (1812-1896), first awarded 1899. The Prestwich Medal are awarded every three years to persons who shall have done well for the advancement of the science of geology. The award will be presented at a ceremony in London on June 4th.
Kristján Sæmundsson was born on March 9, 1936. He completed his doctorate from the University of Cologne in Germany in 1966. His doctoral thesis, Vulkanismus und Tektonik des Hengill-Gebietes in Südwest-Island, dealt with geology, volcanology and fracture motion in the Hengill area. After completing his studies, Kristján began his professional carrier at the Geothermal division of the National Energy Authority in Iceland that in 2003 became Iceland GeoSurvey, ÍSOR, where he lead geological mapping and a variety of geothermal research.
Kristján Sæmundsson had a major career as a scientist in the fields of geology, volcanology and geothermal energy. Through his research, he greatly expanded the knowledge of volcanoes and was a pioneer in the exploration and development of geothermal resources. His geology maps of Iceland are among the most elaborated ones. His articles and publications on the same subjects also reflect his superior knowledge in geology. Kristján´s research also contributed greatly to the understanding of the processes of ocean floor spreading and how it affected the geology of Iceland.
In addition to the scientific contribution, Kristján has for many years managed and planned geothermal and groundwater projects, sited boreholes and advised in geothermal drilling. He is highly respected in Iceland for his admirable work on geothermal exploration for many municipalities and individuals. Kristján has also been a geothermal consultant abroad, including for geothermal power plants in the Azores, Greece, Kenya, China and Turkey.
Kristján was a lecturer at the University of Iceland in 1971-1980 and has been supervisor for many research projects. He also played a large role in the creation of the expertise of Iceland GeoSurvey.
Kristján Sæmundsson is one of the World’s premier field geologists and has received many awards, honors and distinctions from other societies and institutions, including:
Honorary Fellow, Geological Society of America, 1993
- Ása Gudmundsdottir Wright Award, Science Academy of Iceland (Soc Sci Islandica), 2003
- Honorary Doctorate in Science, University of Iceland, 2006
- The Order of the Falcon, awarded by President of Iceland, 2007
- Honoured by Special Issue of Journal Volcanology & Geothermal Research, on “Mid-Ocean Ridges”, 2017
- Florence Bascom Geologic Mapping Award, Geological Society of America, 2018