Aleksis Dreimanis, 1914-2011

With great sadness I report the passing of Prof. Aleksis Dreimanis of the University of Western Ontario. He fell in his back yard and broke his hip on Monday July 4, seemed to be recovering from surgery in University Hospital, then on Friday July 8 his heart beat became irregular and stopped at 10:30 am. Born in Latvia in 1914, Aleksis emigrated to Canada in 1948 and retired from Western in 1980. He would have turned 97 on August 13, 2011.

Dreimanis was widely considered the world’s foremost Quaternary glacial geologist in the 1970’s and 80’s, largely due to his effective leadership on the INQUA Commission on Genesis and Lithology of Glacial Quaternary Deposits. He was instrumental in developing the Quaternary stratigraphic and climatic record of the Great Lakes region. He promoted structural analysis of glacial sediments and substrate, especially applied to mineral exploration using till (drift prospecting). Some of his other lasting contributions include: till genesis and classification; carbonate analysis of till matrix using chittick apparatus; bimodal distribution of grain sizes and development of terminal grades in subglacial tills; and mastodon extinction in eastern North America.

Aleksis Dreimanis published in eight different decades and his latest manuscript will soon be submitted by co-authors in the ninth. He never stopped working and he leaves a rich legacy of former students and postdocs.

Prof. Steve Hicock

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