The Virginia Tech College of Science has named Steve Holbrook as head of its Department of Geosciences, taking over from Nancy Ross, who has served in the position since 2012.

Holbrook previously was a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming, where he also co-directed the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics. His research focuses on near-surface geophysics, marine seismology, deep structure of continental margins, and offshore methane hydrates. He also has private industry experience at Chevron.

“We are delighted to have Steve Holbrook join us from the University of Wyoming,” Science Dean Sally C. Morton said. “His leadership in the field of earth sciences has been continually recognized internationally as he studies continent formations and breakups around the globe, from the United States to Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Costa Rica, and New Zealand. We are proud to have that expertise at Virginia Tech.”

His awards include Fellow of American Geophysical Union, Fellow of Geological Society of America, and the 2013 Walter Munk Award for Distinguished Research in Oceanography Related to Sound and the Sea awarded jointly by the Oceanography Society, U.S. Office of Naval Research, and the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy.

The Munk award honored Holbrook’s standing as “the father of ... seismic oceanography,” according to the Oceanography Society. “His use of low-frequency seismic reflection profiling to image the water column has provided quantitative and novel insights into the structure and dynamics of internal waves, eddies, and mixing processes,” it said in a news release.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in geoscience from Pennsylvania State University in 1982, and master’s and doctoral degrees, both in geophysics, from Stanford University in 1985 and 1989.

Ross has led the Department of Geosciences since 2012, having joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2000. Co-director of the X-ray Crystallography Laboratory, her research focuses on mineral physics and crystal chemistry.

“We thank Nancy for her service as department head of geosciences, an integral part of Virginia Tech mission to educate science leaders in the study of our Earth, its distant past and current climate change issues,” Morton said. “Our faculty and students travel the world, and our research is making headlines around the world, and Dr. Ross has been a priceless contributor to these successes.”

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