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Issue 468, 4 June 2001


Robert Shackleton

Robert Shackleton died on 3 May 2001

Robert Shackleton, who was professor of Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences from 1962 to 1975 and Fellow of the Royal Society, died on the 3rd of May, aged 91.

Shackleton took his BSc and PhD in geology at Liverpool University and was on the staff of Imperial College until 1948, spending the war years seconded to strategic mineral survey duties in Kenya. From 1948 to 1962 he was professor of geology at Liverpool, and then came to Leeds where he occupied the chair of geology until he retired in 1975. During this time he was instrumental in establishing one of the first modern integrated departments in the world (the now common term "earth sciences" was coined then for the revitalised Leeds department).

Shackleton made pioneering studies of complexly deformed rocks, showing that what seem relatively simple structures in the Scottish Highlands and Connemara, are in fact the result of several phases of folding, often continued until the rocks have been entirely overturned. At Leeds he made a fundamental contribution to the understanding of the accretion of the African continent from smaller crustal fragments and developed modern ideas on the rifting of East Africa. As a person he was subtle and understanding, with a wide and deep basis in knowledge. He was a great inspiration and supporter to all open-minded colleagues and students

Dr Martin Casey



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