John Graham Ramsay

I met John Ramsay’s book before I met John Ramsay. I recall the book’s very clear explanations, and the central role of understanding the geometry of rocks on all scales. Our paths crossed then in the 1980s at conferences during and after my PhD: Tectonic Studies Group in the UK, and international conferences. We doubtless discussed strain analysis, and early interest of mine, and I also recall John’s strong views on “model driven” studies of structures – he never lost sight of the actual observational data we must build on. I think he was cautious about shear sense indicators for similar reasons. In the 1990s I was invited by John and Dorothee to Zurich a few times, always stimulating visits. I particularly remember a field trip organised his structure group at Zurich that coincided with one of my visits, where we visited the Central Alps and looked at basement-cover relationships. Later, as part of a 2002 Penrose conference, and overdue for me, he led a trip to examine classic structures: refolded folds (classic because of his work) at Nufenen and Cristallina, and shear zones at Laghetti.

Latterly I met John less frequently, but one particular memory is of a conference (probably Tectonic Studies Group) where he made posters of his PhD field slips, from the Glenelg area of Scotland. These are works of great elegance. If I recall correctly, the base maps did not even have contours on so the position finding as well as the geology would have been challenging. They underline John Ramsay’s skill in and commitment to understanding structural geology in three dimensions, and to showing how structures inform our understanding of Earth evolution .

John Wheeler, Liverpool

John Wheeler

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