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Bay named for UK geophysicist

Professor Donald Griffiths 1917-2007

Donald Griffiths (1917-2007) honoured by decision

Geoscientist Online 19 May 2008

The Antarctic Placenames Committee has accepted a suggestion by Dr Rob Larter (British Antarctic Survey) that a bay on the Antarctic Peninsula should be named for Professor Donald Griffiths (1919-2007, picture).

The Gazeteer entry will read: Griffiths Bay 64 deg. 23' S, 58 deg. 52' W bay, approx. 10km long and 7km wide, N of Longing Peninsula, Trinity Peninsula, formed during the break-up of the Prince Gustav Ice Shelf in 1995 and subsequent deglaciation. Named after Professor Donald Harrison Griffiths (1919-2007), Professor of Geophysics at Birmingham University from 1963, pioneer of marine geosciences in Antarctica and the study of plate tectonics of the Rift Valley in East Africa (APC, 2008).

Dr John King, Principal Investigator on the Antarctic Climate and Earth System Programme, British Antarctic Survey, said he hoped this would be "seen as an appropriate commemoration of Don's life and work.".

In 1950 Donald Griffiths accepted an appointment to start up geophysics at the Geology Department at the University of Birmingham. He did so against the advice of his Professor, Sir William Pugh (later Director of the British Geological Survey), who warned him that there was "no future" in geophysics.

Griffiths was promoted to Professor of Geophysics in 1965, one of the first such appointments in a UK geology department.

Read Griffiths's obituary by Prof. Aftab Khan