Brantley honored with Arthur L. Day Medal


Susan L. Brantley, director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, is the recipient of the 2011 Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America (GSA).

GSA announced Brantley’s award in its July 2011 issue of GSA Today.

Brantley, Distinguished Professor of Geosciences, is a leading scientist in the study of the complex chemical and geological processes that shape and transform the Critical Zone, the part of the Earth where rock meets life extending from groundwater to the top of vegetation. She has been credited with making breakthrough contributions in understanding weathering processes and their interaction with the atmosphere and biological systems and with being a pioneer in the application of iron isotopes to soil processes.

"Her uncommon vision has broken ground in geochemical research by identifying new and significant research avenues for her colleagues in her own generation and the next," wrote one nominee of Brantley's contributions.

Another nominee described Brantley as "the outstanding aqueous geochemist of her generation."

Her research investigating geochemical processes in natural systems has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA. She is a co-PI of the 20-acre Susquehanna Shale Hills Observatory, located near the University’s Stone Valley Recreation Center and part of the NSF-supported Critical Zone Observatory network.

In the 63-year history of the award, Brantley is the first Penn State faculty member to receive the Arthur L. Day Medal while working at the University. The 1967 prize went to O. Frank Tuttle, who joined Penn State in 1953 and served as dean of the College of Mineral Industries from 1959-60 but who was at Stanford University when he received the medal.