Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Fulton Receives 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Patrick Fulton received the 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early career contributions in tectonophysics.



Patrick Fulton
Patrick Fulton

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Tectonophysics section is pleased to present the 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award to Patrick Fulton for his fundamental contributions in the fields of fault mechanics and earthquake energetics. In the time since his Ph.D., Patrick has amassed an exceptional research record and has established himself internationally as a leader in measuring the frictional dynamics of faults. He has also emerged as a leader and statesman for a cohort of early career scientists and as an effective and accomplished mentor.

Patrick’s success can be traced in large part to his extraordinarily broad and deep expertise in numerical modeling, field data collection, and analysis of laboratory data. In his Ph.D. research focused on the San Andreas heat flow paradox, Patrick conducted a series of numerical modeling experiments to clarify arguments for a low friction fault and to rigorously investigate the role of fluid overpressures in fault weakening. As a postdoc with Rob Harris at Oregon State University and then with Peter Flemings at the University of Texas, Patrick brought his considerable quantitative skills to analyses of laboratory friction experiments, vitrinite reflectance data as indicators of frictional heating, gas hydrate dynamics, and geodetic and marine heat flow data. Most recently, as a research scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Patrick has taken the lead in the temperature observatory for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Japan Trench rapid response drilling (JFAST) project. The results have, for the first time, resolved the coseismic friction on a major fault and show that it is much lower than previously thought.

As is evidenced in all of his work, Patrick attacks complicated numerical problems efficiently and with keen foresight and identifies connections between his results and the broader geological context that have not been obvious to others. We look forward to his continued success at solving major geophysical problems with his unique and thoroughly modern toolkit.

—Demian Saffer, Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and Emily Brodsky, University of California, Santa Cruz


I am deeply honored to receive this award. The kind citation reminds me of how grateful I am to have so many great mentors. I would particularly like to thank and acknowledge Demian Saffer, Rob Harris, Peter Flemings, and Emily Brodsky. Their encouragement and support have given me a great freedom to develop into the scientist that I am today; I continue to look up to them in many ways.

I would also like to thank Fred Chester and Jim Mori, the cochiefs of the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project. They succeeded in the tremendously difficult job of leading a tremendously difficult project, and I am thankful for their belief in our ability to do impossible things and the encouragement that they, and the IODP program in general, have provided to so many early career scientists such as myself.

Likewise, I would also like to thank my other colleagues and collaborators, including the rest of the JFAST team both offshore and on and the others with whom I have had great joy working with over the years and have learned from considerably.

I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a number of great students. Their hard work and inquisitiveness keep me on my feet and continually remind me of how wonderful a field of science it is that we explore.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends, who have made this life of science and exploration fulfilling even when times are hard and stressful. This award further stokes my desire to do good work. It also inspires me to continue to help other upcoming scientists and students feel as welcome and encouraged within this community as I do.

Thank you very much.

—Patrick Fulton, University of California, Santa Cruz

Citation: AGU (2015), Fulton receives 2014 Jason Morgan Early Career Award, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO028081. Published on 17 April 2015.

© 2015. The authors. CC BY-NC 3.0