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Nora Noffke, a member of the faculty at Old Dominion University, has been named the winner of the 2007 James Lee Wilson Award of the Society of Sedimentary Geologists (SEPM).

The award, announced Sept. 14, is given annually to recognize excellence in sedimentary geology by a young scientist.

Research by Noffke, which was the subject of an article in the May 5 edition of Science magazine and of her paper in the April edition of the journal Geology, has provided some of the sturdiest evidence yet that life forms colonized Earth's sandy coasts at least 3.2 billion years ago.

As a doctoral student in her native Germany, Noffke became fascinated with felt-like microbial mats, which are living weaves of tiny organisms, or microbes. These mats can be found today blanketing sandy tidal flats in many coastal areas worldwide. Her research, which includes discoveries in Europe and Africa, builds a persuasive case that similar microbial mats existed in the Early Archean Age more than 3 billion years ago.

Work she published beginning in 2000 has helped to coin the scientific term, "microbially induced sedimentary structures."

Noffke, an assistant professor in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, will receive the Wilson Award at the Annual Convention and Exhibition of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in April 2007 in Long Beach, Calif.

Her award is among several top honors bestowed each year by SEPM. Other 2007 award winners are from Louisiana State University, University of Missouri, Virginia Tech, Rice University and Colorado School of Mines.

This article was posted on: September 14, 2006

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