Reflections on 40 years of progress in African Geosciences

Theme: Geoscience Diplomacy

Robert (Bob) Thomas obtained a First Class BSc Honours degree in Geology from the University of London in 1973, followed by a PhD degree in 1978 on the Precambrian geology of the Channel Islands. His subsequent career spans over 40 years; 28 years with the Geological Survey of South Africa/CGS and 12 years with the British Geological Survey (BGS). He spent the first half of this career on mapping projects in South Africa, specifically in the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces, while the second part exclusively involved working in and managing several major international, multi-facetted geological mapping projects in Morocco, Gabon, the UAE/Oman, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Tanzania and Malawi. These projects enabled Bob to mentor many young African geologists and collaborate with geoscientists from the wider world. It has resulted in the publication of over 70 geological maps of these countries at all scales from 1:10 000 to 1:1 million, along with explanatory notes and memoirs. Associated research has produced over 125 peer reviewed papers, two national geology textbooks (in the RSA and UAE) and more than 150 abstracts of papers presented at international geological conferences.

Bob has served on the editorial boards of several geological journals. He was recipient of the Jubilee Award of the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) in 2010, the Coke Medal of the Geological Society of London in 2013 and was elected a fellow of the GSSA in 2014. He is based at the Western Cape Regional Office of the CGS in Bellville.