GSI Awards 2011
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GSI Awards 2011
Cunningham Awards
Dr Brian McConnell

The Cunningham College Prizes, established in memory of Dr Mark Cunningham, former Assistant Director of GSI, and funded by a bequest, recognises the continuing importance of field mapping in developing observational and interpretative skills in geology. Two prizes of equal standing are awarded each year to the best field mapping projects examined in Irish 3rd level colleges.

The prizes for 2011 were slightly unusual in that one of the prizes was awarded as a joint or ‘team’ prize to two students who worked together collaboratively and produced very similar high-quality results. The prize winners were:

Vincent Twomey, University College Cork, for his project "The geology of Arnaboll North, Sutherland, Northwest Scotland";

Anthea Lacchia and Gavin Kenny, Trinity College Dublin, for their project "The geology of Kerrera, Loch Linnhe, Scotland".

Vince’s mapping included the Moine thrust zone, an area of complex faulting that results in a confusing (to the unwary) repetition of stratigraphical units. His field sheets included a lot of observational detail, on both sides of the paper, with annotations and sketches in addition to the usual outcrop structural measurements. Anthea and Gavin mapped a small island off western Scotland that includes a diversity of geology from Dalradian schist, to Old Red Sandstone (with the exciting discovery of a fossil trackway), to columnar-jointed Devonian lavas. Their notebooks documented a clear scientific process of making observations, constructing interpretations and then testing them, to assemble the geological history of the island.

Anthea continues her geology in Trinity, doing postgraduate research in palaeontology and stratigraphy, while Vince and Gavin have entered the mineral exploration industry. GSI wishes them well in their geological careers.

Anthia Lacchia
Anthea Lacchia, Cunningham Award prize winner 2011

For 2012 the awards will be run in conjunction with the IGA. Entries will be sought from the Geology Departments of Irish universities.