Associate Professor Ralph Harvey named fellow of Geological Society of America

Ralph P. Harvey, associate professor of earth, environmental and planetary sciences, has been named a fellow of the Geological Society of America, in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences.

Harvey, who has been on the faculty since 1998, was nominated by an early mentor, Harry Y. McSween, professor of planetary geoscience at the University of Tennessee. Harvey was his first postdoctoral researcher and he has followed his career.

“Ralph has spearheaded the U.S. effort to collect meteorites in Antarctica and led field parties during that time,” McSween said. “This program has added thousands of valuable research samples, all of which are made available to the world’s scientific community for study.”

Harvey has led nearly 120 scientists down to the ice, where they’ve collected nearly 15,000 meteorites on the annual trips since 1991. All of the meteorites collected by the Antarctic Search of Meteorites program are available to researchers for free.

“That alone would qualify him for this honor,” McSween continued. “But, he has also proved to be a meteorite researcher who has made important contributions to our understanding of the early solar system and planet formation.”

Among his findings, Harvey has used meteorites from Mars to explore and understand aspects of the planet’s cratering and volcanic histories and climate change.

Harvey served as president of the society’s Planetary Geology Division years ago, but has tapered off from that work as his academic life has become increasingly busy.

“I’m honored and happy about the honor, but sorry I’m not involved with the society as much as I was in the past,” Harvey said. “It’s nice to be remembered for the contributions I did make.”