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Journal of Structural Geology Student Author of the
Year Award for 2016: David Wallis
The Journal of Structural Geology presents the “Student author of the Year Award”
each year to recognize the work of the newest contributors to our discipline, and to
encourage the publication of their work. The award is made for an outstanding paper
in which the undergraduate or graduate student had a key role in the research and
publication. The recipient of this award for 2016 is David Wallis for his contribution,
co-authored with GeoffreyE.Lloyd,RichardJ.Phillips,AndrewJ.Parsonsand
KarakoramFaultZone,NWIndia, Journal of Structural Geology, Volume 77, Pages 45-61.
The paper by David Wallis and co-authors was chosen by the Editors of the Journal of Structural
Geology from amongst a large number of student submissions as the best student paper of 2015.
Amongst other manuscripts, the contribution of David Wallis stands out in several ways. The paper
deals with exhumed phyllonites from the Karakoram fault zone in NW India. Any structural geologist
who dealt with phyllonites knows that these low-grade, unassuming rocks have an inherently complex
and confusing internal structure, with aspects of both ductile and brittle deformation. In structural
geology, research programmes commonly either focus on metamorphic rocks and ductile deformation,
or on brittle structures and fracture processes. Modelling- and analytical tools that work well for brittle
deformation, do not always work for ductile deformation effects. The study of rocks that formed in the
brittle - ductile transition zone is therefore inherently difficult. David Wallis and his co-workers,
however, were highly successful in their study of phyllonites as described in this paper. They used an
impressive range of research methods, from EBSD and the scanning electron microscope through
optical microstructures and field descriptions to rheological considerations, to yield predictions of how
crustal-scale shear zones will operate on a global scale. The paper focuses on frictional viscous flow
(FVF) in phyllonites, which has been proposed as an important multi-mechanism process in shear
zones, based on experimental work. Using field- and microstructural data, Wallis and co-workers
demonstrate that FVF may have operated in the Nubra strand of the Karakoram fault zone once
interconnected muscovite domains were created. This fabric networking makes phyllonites an
important medium to accommodate large-scale tectonic motion in the core of major fault zones, and
means that FVF can be a significant weakening mechanism for large-scale geodynamic processes. The
paper by Wallis and co-workers shows how experimental results and microstructural data can be
combined to proceed towards a better understanding of the accommodation of large-scale tectonic
movement in deformed rocks. As such, they made a great contribution to structural geology.
We would like to extend our warm congratulations to David Wallis, his PhD supervisors Richard J.
Phillips and GeoffreyE.Lloydand to their co-authors, AndrewJ.ParsonsandRichardD.Walshaw
for this splendid piece of work, which the Journal of Structural Geology is proud to have had the
opportunity to publish.