International Awards Honor Three

For the Best Paper Award at International Meetings (Reference: Grover Murray and others, AAPG BULLETIN, V. 84, No. 8 (August 2000), pages 1229-1231):

Gabriel Dengo was one of the "gentlemen geologists" who became a geologist for the love of field geology, for the mystery of the earth and to belong to an era of total devotion to the science of geology.

He was a role model to hundreds of young geologists and was a superb friend and associate to many. Those who knew Gabriel and his work remember his enthusiasm for geological processes and his understanding rock signature from the field to the model.

His knowledge covered a wide range of earth sciences. He always provided an intellectual atmosphere, which was conducive to the stimulus and exchange of ideas. Gabriel inspired confidence and respect as a leader, and was emulated by peers and students. He displayed a natural charm and charisma that touched many people around the world -- and he did so with a smile, politeness, humility and gentlemanly manner.

AAPG recognized Gabriel's great contribution to both the geological sciences and humanity by presenting him the Michel T. Halbouty Human Needs Award during the 1995 AAPG Annual Convention in Houston.

Dengo was born on March 9, 1922, in Heredia, Costa Rica. He was educated first at the University of Costa Rica, where he received a bachelor's degree in agronomy (1945). From there, he started his geological education at the University of Wyoming (B.A. 1945, M.A. 1946), and then continued at Princeton University (Ph.D. 1949).

From 1947 to 1949, Gabriel worked on Coast Ranges of Venezuela, including the geological study for the Caracas-La Guaira highway. He was among the first of Harry Hess's students working in Venezuela for what became the very successful Princeton Caribbean Research Program.

After graduation, he returned to Venezuela to work for the Ministry of Energy and Mines, during which time he helped discover one of the largest iron deposits in the Guyana Shield. Early in 1952, Gabriel returned to Costa Rica as field geologist for Union Oil of California, mapping mostly in the jungle. In 1956, the company moved him to Guatemala as resident geologist.

In 1962, they transferred him to New Orleans as subsurface geologist.

Because of his interest in Central America, Gabriel returned to Guatemala in 1962 to work for the general secretariat for Central American Economic integration, where he was later appointed deputy secretary. In 1965, he transferred to the Central American Research Institute for Industry (ICAITI) to organize a geological research group. While in this position, he worked in several countries of Central and South America and in the Caribbean. Later he was appointed deputy director, and in 1975, director of ICAITI. He left in 1979 to work again for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Venezuela.

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For the Best Paper Award at International Meetings (Reference: Grover Murray and others, AAPG BULLETIN, V. 84, No. 8 (August 2000), pages 1229-1231):

Gabriel Dengo was one of the "gentlemen geologists" who became a geologist for the love of field geology, for the mystery of the earth and to belong to an era of total devotion to the science of geology.

He was a role model to hundreds of young geologists and was a superb friend and associate to many. Those who knew Gabriel and his work remember his enthusiasm for geological processes and his understanding rock signature from the field to the model.

His knowledge covered a wide range of earth sciences. He always provided an intellectual atmosphere, which was conducive to the stimulus and exchange of ideas. Gabriel inspired confidence and respect as a leader, and was emulated by peers and students. He displayed a natural charm and charisma that touched many people around the world -- and he did so with a smile, politeness, humility and gentlemanly manner.

AAPG recognized Gabriel's great contribution to both the geological sciences and humanity by presenting him the Michel T. Halbouty Human Needs Award during the 1995 AAPG Annual Convention in Houston.

Dengo was born on March 9, 1922, in Heredia, Costa Rica. He was educated first at the University of Costa Rica, where he received a bachelor's degree in agronomy (1945). From there, he started his geological education at the University of Wyoming (B.A. 1945, M.A. 1946), and then continued at Princeton University (Ph.D. 1949).

From 1947 to 1949, Gabriel worked on Coast Ranges of Venezuela, including the geological study for the Caracas-La Guaira highway. He was among the first of Harry Hess's students working in Venezuela for what became the very successful Princeton Caribbean Research Program.

After graduation, he returned to Venezuela to work for the Ministry of Energy and Mines, during which time he helped discover one of the largest iron deposits in the Guyana Shield. Early in 1952, Gabriel returned to Costa Rica as field geologist for Union Oil of California, mapping mostly in the jungle. In 1956, the company moved him to Guatemala as resident geologist.

In 1962, they transferred him to New Orleans as subsurface geologist.

Because of his interest in Central America, Gabriel returned to Guatemala in 1962 to work for the general secretariat for Central American Economic integration, where he was later appointed deputy secretary. In 1965, he transferred to the Central American Research Institute for Industry (ICAITI) to organize a geological research group. While in this position, he worked in several countries of Central and South America and in the Caribbean. Later he was appointed deputy director, and in 1975, director of ICAITI. He left in 1979 to work again for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Venezuela.

In 1981, he returned to Guatemala as chief geologist for the Usumacinta River Electrification Project, a joint project with the Federal Electrification Commission of Mexico. In August 1989, he returned to ICAITI as technical manager. He founded the Center for Geological Studies of Central America as a means to channel many of his scientific contributions.

Gabriel actively participated in professional societies. His articulate voice was always a unifying factor at international meetings. Many of his colleagues remember Gabriel stepping in at times of divergence to bring congruence to the meeting by effective blend of technical excellence, leadership and organizational skills.

Gabriel held, among many, the following positions:

  • Councilor (1970-71).
  • Member of Steering Committee (1977-78) and of the DNAG (Decade of North American Geology) Committee of Geological Society of America (GSA).
  • Editor for the AAPG BULLETIN and for the Central America section of the GSA.
  • Member of the Editorial Boards for geologic publications of the University of Costa Rica and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
  • Coordinator of the Caribbean Study Group, Geodynamics International Project (1973-1979).
  • Vice chairman of Board, International Geological Correlation Program (1977-1980).
  • Director of the Research and Development Board, International Union of Geological Sciences (1983-1988).
  • Advisor to UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (1978).
  • Director of Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources (since 1990).
  • Permanent advisor to Consultative Council of Directors of Latin American Geological Surveys (since 1975).
  • Advisor to the North American Metallogenic Map Committee.

He was a driving force to create the Central American Geologic Conferences, having one conference (1992) celebrated in his honor. He was among the founding members of the Colegio de Geologos de Costa Rica and the Sociedad Geologica de Guatemala, and was instrumental in creating La Escuela de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica.

He was a member of 16 different professional and academic societies from six different countries.

Gabriel's other awards include Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa; Procter Fellow at Princeton University; Honorary Fellow of GSA; Distinguished Service Medal of the Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources; the Hollis D. Hedberg Award in Energy, Southern Methodist University; and numerous diplomas and recognitions from the Colegio de Geologos de Costa Rica, the Federal Commission for Electrification in Mexico, the Sociedad Geologica de Guatemala, the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Venezuela, and the Council of Directors of Geologic Surveys of Latin America.


For the Best Poster Award at International Meetings (Reference: Roxane Besse, AAPG BULLETIN, V. 82, No. 10 (October 1998), pages 1876-1879):

Ziad R. Beydoun was one of the most pre-eminent geologists in the MIddle East and is largely responsible for surveying and mapping the rock successions in the region, a task achieved through a profound love for geology and humankind and, above all, his remarkable personality.

Ziad also was a "gentleman geologist" who spent his life in the field, mapping a vast region never before seen, mostly in the desert. He was a great friend, wonderful conversationalist and humanist adept at switching between Arabic, English, French and Turkish and their cultures -- he was totally at home at any setting.

Ziad was born in Beirut on Dec. 9, 1924, as the oldest son of a gentlemen landowner in Palestine.

Ziad -- or Don, as he was known to close friends -- was schooled in Palestine (Haifa and Jerusalem) and American University of Beirut initially. At the close of World War II he embarked on studies in geology at St. Peter's College, Oxford.

After the demise of Palestine, his family fled to Lebanon and he started working for Iraq Petroleum Company, the former Turkish petroleum company formed before World War I by the financier Caloust Gulbenkian. Ziad spent five years subsurface mapping in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Gulf States before shifting to field work in the Aden Protectorate (Yemen) as a geologist with the Hadramout Survey.

His work in Aden was awarded with a Ph.D. degree at Oxford University and a publication by the British Overseas Geological Survey. This inspired him to engage in his long and effective mixing of academia with applied petroleum geology of the Middle East.

Ziad joined Partex (the Gulbenkian interests in Oman and the Gulf) and participated in the discovery of oil in Oman by PDO. In 1963, due to his love for Lebanon's geology, he came to Lebanese Ministry of National Economy as a geological expert, and shortly thereafter joined American University of Beirut. In 1970, he was appointed full professor and chairman of the Department of Geology, as well as special advisor to the Council for Scientific Research.

Despite the horrors of civil war in Lebanon, Ziad continued alone in the department, and, against all odds, to lecture and guide his students. His courage, resilience and determination during those difficult times not only inspired a sense of hope for a better future among his students but also left an indelible influence on generations of young geologists. Many of his former students now hold key positions in the Middle East earth sciences institutes and industry.

This constituted a great source of pride and joy, as well as a strong bond of friendships that encompasses the region, as he noted in his second book, Arabian Plate Hydrocarbon Geology and Potential-- A Plate Tectonic Approach, published by AAPG in 1991 in the Studies in Geology Series.

In 1985, Ziad moved to London when the situation in Lebanon further deteriorated, where he joined Marathon Oil, a company for which he had consulted for many years. He was appointed scientific director of an UNDP/World Bank project on the hydrocarbon study of the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden region. At the invitation of Yemeni government, he acted as chairman of a committee that pulled together the geology of Yemen. This final work was published as part of the International Lexicon of Stratigraphy (volume III, ASIA, fascicule 10b2), as a testimony to his exact scholarship, brilliant mind, courage and amazing discipline.

In 1994, Ziad was awarded the William Smith Medal by the Geological Society of London for outstanding achievement in applied aspects of the science. In 1995 he was awarded the Medal of the National Order of the Cedars by the government of Lebanon for distinguished services to geological investigations and research.

Ziad published over 50 articles and two books, as well as being a very effective associate editor of the AAPG BULLETIN.


For the Best Student Poster Award at International Meetings (Reference: Celal Sengor and others, Cumhuriyet Bilim Teknik, Jan. 4, 1991):

Ozan Sungurlu was another "gentleman geologist" who became one of the distinguished self-taught earth scientists who inspired confidence and respect as a leader and explorationist. He was a role model to many young geologists, creating opportunities for them to get the international education and modern geological thought overseas.

Ozan was born in Gumushane, Turkey, in 1939 and completed his education in Eskisehir and Istanbul. After graduating from the Istanbul University in 1964, he started his career as field geologist at the Mineral Research Institute (MTA) and joined Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in 1969.

Ozan's interest in integrated geological processes started during his university education. In an education system where emphasis was on memorization skills, he became a researcher utilizing data and field relationships to question established dogmas for the geological problems in Turkey. His extraordinary interest in fundamentals of geological thought drove him to solve the complex regional geology of Turkey, especially the events from the Mesozoic to present.

Those who worked with him remember long hours of discussion from early morning to dusk, and where Ozan illustrated field relationships and challenged the models presented. His enthusiasm for geology motivated and challenged those around him. He was happiest when he worked a field or subsurface relationships or saw someone find a solution to a complex theory and/or geological models.

His leadership skills were recognized early in his career at TPAO with increasing responsibilities, which culminated in becoming vice president of exploration in 1987.

Ozan continued to be technically active, and published on the structural geology and petroleum systems of southeast Turkey, and regional geology of the Turkish portion of the Tethyan region. In addition to his personal input to Turkish geology, Ozan contributed greatly to the geological studies at both TPAO and Turkish academe. He initiated collaborative field studies with Istanbul Technical University, where he personally proposed studies on critical problems. He revolutionized exploration activities in Turkey by bringing together geologists and geophysicists to work side by side at all scales of exploration activities -- from the regional field studies to prospect evaluation.

It was during his tenure that Turkey opened investment opportunities for international companies. Ozan took this opportunity to initiate overseas training program for all geoscientists across the company. These included internships at Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin, as well as continuing education programs at AAPG and SEG.

Ozan was a great supporter of AAPG, encouraging TPAO participation at international meetings and bringing AAPG Distinguished Lecture program. Ozan encouraged affiliation of Turkish Petroleum Geologists with AAPG.

Ozan was a distinguished earth scientist from Turkey in great part because he educated himself from the available data, information and services. Except for a short internship in 1981 at SUNY at Albany to work with professors John F. Dewey and Kevin Burke, he had no Western-style education.

His extraordinary curiosity for learning, knowledge and love of geology as well as his great discipline was instrumental in his self-education. It is an extraordinary mind that manages to develop the wisdom and knowledge in his short life, becoming one of the top geoscientists ever produced by Turkey.

The Turkish Research and Science Council (TUBITAK) honored Ozan post-mortem with their top Science Medal in 1991.

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