Kevin Burke

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Kevin Charles Antony Burke (born November 13, 1929 in London , † March 21, 2018 in Gloucester ) was a British geologist .


Burke studied at the University of London with a bachelor's degree in 1951 and a doctorate in 1953. In his dissertation, he mapped and dated igneous rocks in western Ireland. He taught at the University of Ghana from 1953 to 1956 and from 1956 to 1960 for the Geological Survey of Great Britain in the field of raw materials for the nuclear industry. From 1961 to 1965 he was a senior lecturer in geology at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and from 1965 to 1971 at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. 1971/72 he was visiting professor at the University of Toronto and from 1973 to 1982 professor of geology at the State University of New York at Albany. 1983 to 1988 he was director of the Lunar Planetary Institute in Houston and in 1983 was professor at the University of Houston .

He was known for contributions to plate tectonics, partly with J. Tuzo Wilson (in his time in the 1970s in Toronto) and with John F. Dewey in Albany, with whom he explored rift fractures, seam zones, hot spots and other geological phenomena with plate tectonics explained. He also published on planetary geology, paleomagnetism, and the geology of the Himalayas, Africa and the Caribbean.

He received the Penrose Medal in 2007 and was Du Toit Memorial Lecturer of the Geological Society of South Africa in 1995. He was an honorary professor at the University of Witwatersrand. In 2014 he received the Arthur Holmes Medal of the European Geosciences Union for contributions to plate tectonics on a global level, in particular the elaboration of the Wilson cycle , mapping and interpretation of suture zones , and aulakogenes as approaches to rift fractures associated with the breakup of continents (in an essay with J. Tuzo Wilson 1973). He recognized the long-term stability of plumes , which arise at the boundary between the earth's core and mantle and which significantly determine plate tectonics.

From 1997 to 2006 he was editor of the Journal of Asian Earth Sciences .


  • Burke, Dewey: Plume-generated triple junctions: key indicators in applying plate tectonics to old rocks, Journal of Geology, Volume 81, 1973, pp. 406-433
  • Burke, Dewey: Tibetan, Variscan, and Precambrian basement reactivation: products of continental collision, Journal of Geology, Volume 81, 1973, pp. 683-692
  • Paul Mann, Mark Hempton, Dwight C. Bradley, Kevin Burke: Development of pull-apart basins, Journal of Geology, Volume, 1983, pp. 529-554
  • The African Plate, South African Journal of Geology, Volume 99, 1996, pp. 341-409
  • Tectonic evolution of the caribbean, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, Volume 16, 1988, pp. 201-230
  • with AM Sengör: Relative timing of rifting and volcanism on Earth and its tectonic implications, Geophys. Research Letters, Vol. 5, 1978, pp. 419-421
  • with John Tuzo Wilson: Is the african plate stationary?, Nature, Volume 239, 1972, pp. 387-390
  • with John Tuzo Wilson: Hot Spot's on the earth's surface, Scientific American, Volume 235, 1976, Issue 2
  • KC Burke, C. Cooper, JF Dewey, P. Mann, JL Pindell: Caribbean tectonics and relative plate motions, Geological Society of America Memoirs 162, 1984, pp. 31-64
  • P. Mann, K. Burke: Neotectonics of the Caribbean, Reviews of Geophysics, Volume 22, 1984, pp. 309-362


  • Alexander E. Gates: Earth Scientists from A to Z, Facts on File, 2003

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Life and career data according to American Men and Women of Science , Thomson Gale 2004