Sept. 20, 2019

NDSU professor emeritus honored for outstanding career


Allan Ashworth, NDSU University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of geology, has been honored by the Geological Society of America with the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Section’s Distinguished Career Award. He was recognized during the society’s annual meeting at an awards ceremony Sept. 24 in Phoenix.

NDSU alumna Jane Willenbring, geomorphologist and professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, presented the award.

“Notification of the award from GSA came out of the blue,” Ashworth said. “I never expected that I would be nominated and selected to be in the same grouping as my heroes of the Quaternary, so the award is a great honor for me.”

Ashworth’s distinguished career has focused on paleoecology, stratigraphy and sedimentology, with a specialization in insects and how they respond to climate change. In his research, he discovered the only known fly and beetle fossils on Antarctica.

His work is highlighted in the film “Ice People,” the NOVA documentary “Secrets Beneath The Ice” and in Science magazine. Ashworth’s fossil discoveries in Antarctica were featured in articles in National Geographic and in numerous international news reports.

In his research, Ashworth traveled to Antarctica six times, studying the McMurdo Dry Valleys and the Beardmore and Shackleton Glaciers. The Ashworth Glacier, located about 350 miles from the South Pole, is named in his honor.

He recently stepped down as president of the International Union for Quaternary Research after a four-year term. He is continuing to work on fossil studies, and is currently collaborating with scientists from around the world in the development of a database for use in paleoecological studies.

Ashworth joined the NDSU faculty in 1972, and received emeritus status in 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate in geology at the University of Birmingham, England.

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