Yemane Asmerom
Professor Yemane Asmerom, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences.

Yemane Asmerom, professor in the UNM Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA) recently.

Asmerom was one of more than 70 GSA Fellows honored during the 2015 GSA Annual Meeting Presidential Address & Awards Ceremony in Baltimore, Md. recently. Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of in the profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting.

Asmerom, who is also director of the Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory at UNM, was nominated for extensive research and publications applying isotopic studies to paleoclimate and to geomorphic evolution.

“It is nice to be recognized by my national colleagues for work that I truly enjoy doing,” Asmerom said. “Truth be told, whatever I have done is a collaborative effort involving many partners including my research partner Victor Polyak, students in the lab, collaborators at UNM and around the world.”

Asmerom’s research interests range from early evolution of the solar system to climate change on earth, geochemistry and applications of radiogenic isotopes for the study of the solid earth, oceans and climate through time.

His research initiatives include collaborative projects all over the world with project funding from a number of programs at the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy. Recent research projects include Dating Naia, a 13,000-year-old teenager that helped establish a link between ancient and modern Native Americans (May 2014) and establishing a link between rainfall reduction and industrial emissions (April 2015).

Professor Yemane Asmerom (l.) and Research Scientist Victor Polyak examine a sample. Polyak, who is Asmerom's research partner, manages the UNM Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory.

Asmerom’s research wouldn’t be possible without the support of many in the department, across campus and on an institutional level. “I want to thank all the people who provide support and maintain our amazing facilities in the Department and UNM Physical Plant Area 4. These recognitions are signposts telling us that we are in the right direction and not arrival signals; greater adventures lie ahead.”

GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.

Asmerom, who has been at UNM for more than 20 years, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1988 followed by postdoctoral and research work at Harvard and the University of Minnesota.