INQUA Executive

The INQUA Executive Committee is the Union’s presiding body, consisting of the President, Immediate Past President, four Vice Presidents, Secretary General, and Treasurer. The Executive Committee serves for a period of four years, from the close of one Congress to the close of the next Congress.

Committee 2015-2019

President: Professor Allan Ashworth (United States of America)

Allan Ashworth is a researcher and a teacher in paleoecology at North Dakota State University who specializes in insects and their response to climate change.  He was educated at the University of Birmingham, UK, where he was a student of Quaternary researchers Russell Coope and Fred Shotton.  He has worked on Quaternary projects in several countries. Currently, he is studying full-glacial insect assemblages from the Lake Region of Southern Chile and from the Olympic Peninsula, U.S.A.  Additionally, he works on Miocene-aged fossiliferous deposits in Antarctica where modern organisms evolved adaptations to cold earlier than they did in the northern hemisphere.  He is also collaborating with a large group of scientists from around the world to develop the Neotoma Paleoecology Database. His research is featured in the film ‘Ice People’, the NOVA documentary ‘Secrets Beneath The Ice’ and in Science magazine. Fossil discoveries made in Antarctica are featured in articles in National Geographic and in the world press, and are recognized in the New Zealand Geographic Board citation for the Ashworth Glacier.  He has previously served as the Chair of the USNC INQUA and as a Vice-President of INQUA from 2007-2011.

Department of Geosciences

North Dakota State University

Fargo, ND 58108, U.S.A.

Ph: +1 701-231-7919



Secretary General: Dr Brian Chase

Brian Chase is a Director of Research with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifque (CNRS) with training and interests in palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology and archaeology. Working primarily in southern Africa, he is engaged in the development and evaluation of new palaeoenvironmental archives and proxies in arid to sub-humid environments and the study of low latitude climate change. Having previously been involved in the study and dating of the region’s extensive dune fields, he now works on developing proxies and obtaining records from fossilised rock hyrax middens. Using stable isotopes, fossil pollen and charcoal, and through the development of pdf-based botanical-climatological transfer functions, and comparisons with general circulation model simulations, Brian is working to reconstruct detailed synoptic scale patterns of past climate change and ascertain their impact on vegetation dynamics and human activity and evolution.

Brian is founder and steering committee director of the AFQUA (African Quaternary: Environments, Ecology and Humans), a steering committee member of the Southern Deserts research group, and the co-leader of Past Global Changes (PAGES) Africa2K Working Group. He is also a Immediate Past President of Southern African Society for Quaternary Research (SASQUA), and has been a member of the South African National Committee for INQUA and Vice President and an Advisory Board member for the INQUA Humans and Biosphere Commission (HABCOM). Brian is also a member of the INQUA Paleoclimate Commission (PALCOM) and the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project III (PMIP3) Working Group, and serves on the Editorial Board of Quaternary International.

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

UMR 5554

Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution-Montpellier

Bat.22, CC061, Place Eugène Bataillon

34095 Montpellier, France

Tel: +33 (0)4 67 14 49 03


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Treasurer: Professor Maria Rita Palombo (Italy)

Maria Rita Palombo is Professor of Palaeontology and Palaeoecology, and Director of the Museum of Palaeontology, in the Department of Earth Sciences of Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), President of AIQUA (Italian Association for Quaternary Research), and associate researcher of CNR-IGAG (National Research Council - Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering). She has a broad interest in the impact of Quaternary environmental change on ecosystem dynamics and evolution. Her research focuses on biochronology, paleobiogeography, paleoecology, and evolution of Cenozoic mammals, as well as origin and evolutionary patterns of insular mammals. The studies are performed combining empirical and theoretical approaches across a broad range of scales. Areas of interest include the application of innovative palaeoecological approaches for disentangling factors that regulate the evolutionary dynamics of mammalian fauna and validating the generality of ecomorphological rules. She has worked on Quaternary projects in several countries, mainly collaborating with groups of scientists from United States, Spain, Germany, France, Greece, and Russia. She serves as associate editor of AMQ (Alpine and Mediterranean Quaternary), and on the Editorial Board of, among others, Quaternary International and Integrative Zoology journals.

Vice President: Dr Frank Audemard (Venezuela)

Franck A. Audemard M. is a geological engineer who has been an active researcher at the Earth Sciences Department of the Venezuelan Foundation for Seismological Research –FUNVISIS- since 1986, being the Head of that Dpt. between 1998 and 2010, after being the Head of its Neotectonics section from 1994. Simultaneously, he has been Professor at the School of Geology, Mines & Geophysics of Universidad Central de Venezuela (Caracas, Venezuela) of Structural Geology, Photogeology, Geomorphology or Geodynamics at the undergraduate level since 1995, and of Earthquake Geology, Fault & Faulting, Caribbean Seismotectonics or Advanced Geodynamics at the graduate level since 1999. He is currently the President of the Geological Society of Venezuela (Sociedad Venezolana de Geólogos –SVG-) since 2008, as well as Vice-President of the Venezuelan Association of Geomorphologists since 2008. He served as Past Vice-President of the International Association of Geomorphologists –IAG- for the period 2005-2009. He is currently member of the Editorial boards of “Revista de la Facultad de Ingeniería UCV” (Venezuela), “Revista Geología Colombiana” (Colombia) and “Geología Norandina” (Colombia), as well as Regional Editor for Venezuela of the Journal of South American Easrth Sciences (Elsevier) since 2011.

His current research interests include both onshore (since 1982) and offshore (more recently; from 2006) Earthquake Geology in a very broad sense, including active morphotectonics, seismotectonics, active tectonics, microtectonics, historical seismology, paleosesimology and earthquake-induced effects –sliding, tsunami and liquefaction primarily. He has mainly conducted research and teaching in Venezuela, but has also worked jointly with local colleagues in scientific (also academic) projects in Argentina, Colombia and Perú, but also in Sweden.

Within INQUA, he is currently in his second term as a Vice President. He was coordinator of the project 0511 of the TEPRO Commission in 2006-2007. He served as co-coordinator of the Paleoseismicity Working Group (later upgraded to Sub-Commission) for two consecutive inter-congress periods (1995-1999 and 1999-2003), as well as full member of the freshly-reorganized Neotectonics and Paleoseismology Focus Group of the TERPRO Commission for the periods 2003-2007 and 2007-2011. He has been an active proponent and participant of the INQUA Environmental Seismic Intensity scale IES-2007.

He has produced more than 50 project reports and some 180 extended papers, of which 62 in peer-reviewed papers in leading international journals (46 international and 16 national), as well as over 25 book chapters, has co-edited 6 volumes (for Tectonophysics, twice in Geomorphology, Geological Society of America, Proyecto Multinacional Andino and Revista Facultad de Ingeniería-UCV), and has published two nationwide compilations (Maps of Active Faults and Focal Mechanism Solutions) and 2 fieldtrip guidebooks on Quaternary and Active Tectonics.

He has been the recipient of three awards for Best Geologic/Faculty member Publication of the Year (SVG 2001, Petrobras-UCV 2007 and APIU-UCV 2010), Best Researcher of FUNVISIS in 2002 in its first of two editions, and Order José María Vargas in second class (highest academic distinction deserved by Universidad Central de Venezuela –UCV-) in 2010. The same year, he was also awarded with the highest Venezuelan scientific distinction: The Honorific National Scientific Award by “Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Ciencia, Tecnología e Industrias Intermedias –Mppctii- de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela” (Venezuelan Ministry of Science & Technology).

Vice President: Professor Zhengtang Guo (China)

Zhengtang Guo is a research professor in the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGG-CAS) and also a professor in the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). His research interests are centered on the Cenozoic/Quaternary Geology, ranging from Paleoclimatology, Paleopedology, Biogeochemistry and human-environment interactions. He has particular expertise in exploring the climate information from the Neogene-Quaternary eolian deposits in China across a wide range of time scales. He and his colleagues extended the near-continuous loess-soil records in China from 8 Ma (million years) to 22 Ma that attest to the formation of the monsoon-dominated climate and inland deserts in Asia by the early Miocene due to the uplift of the Himalayan-Tibetan complex.

Zhengtang served as the vice-president of the INQUA Commission on Paleoclimates (1995-2003), as a member of PAGES Scientific Steering Committee (1996-2001) and as a co-leader of PAGES’ Australasian Pole-Equator-Pole (PEP-II) international project (1999-2002). He is now a vice-president of the China Association of Quaternary Research (CHIQUA), an editor of Global and Planetary Change, and a deputy editor-in-chief of Science China: Earth Science. He was elected as academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Vice President: Professor Thijs van Kolfschoten (Netherlands)

Thijs van Kolfschoten studied Geology and Biology and obtained his PhD in Palaeontology at the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Utrecht (The Netherlands). After a research position at the Institute of Palaeontology, University of Bonn (Germany) he moved to Leiden University (The Netherlands) where he is working as Professor in Palaeozoology and Quaternary Biostratigraphy at the Faculty of Archaeology.

His main fields of interest are Quaternary mammals, biostratigraphy, palaeoecology and taphonomy. His palaeontological research focuses on continental deposits with an age that ranges from the Early Pleistocene until the early Holocene. A major research project is the study of the mammalian vertebrate fossils from a sequence exposed at Schöningen (Germany); a sequence that plays an important role in the debate on the late Middle Pleistocene climatic and faunal history. The Palaeolithic sites of Schöningen yielded a large amount of mammalian remains with features that indicate exploitation by Lower Palaeolithic hominins. The study of these features is also part of the current research project.

During the past decade, changes in Late Pleistocene and early Holocene ecosystems in Europe north of the Alps have been investigated in close collaboration with Russian colleagues; past projects are: The evolution of the mammalian fauna and flora in Western, Central and Eastern Europe during the Pleistocene – Holocene transition (25 - 10 kyr B.P.) combining well-dated flora and fauna data and The Collapse of the Mammoth Steppe ecosystem (COMSEC) investigating the disintegration of the Mammoth Steppe ecosystem at the level of faunal assemblages as well as at species level. Currently, studies on the Late Pleistocene faunal evolution focus on eastern Siberia.

Thijs was President of the INQUA Subcommission (now Section) on European Stratigraphy (SEQS) from 1995 to 2003, and he was President of INQUA Netherlands from 1999 to 2008 when he was the national Delegate representative at the INQUA International Council meetings in Durham (1999), Reno (2003) and Cairns (2007). He has been regional Editor (Europe) of Quaternary International from 2003 to 2015. In addition, he has been a member of SACCOM from 2003 to present, and Secretary of SACCOM from 2011 to 2015. He was member of the steering-committee of APEX (Arctic Palaeoclimate and its Extremes), which forms an umbrella programme for European Arctic palaeoclimate research. He was secretary of the IUGS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, member of the scientific advisory board of Senckenberg Research Institute (Frankfurt, Germany) and the Centre of Archaeological Sciences (Leuven, Belgium).

Currently, Thijs van Kolfschoten is the director of a well-equipped laboratory for palaeozoological and archaeozoological studies at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University and head of the Bioarchaeology Research Group.

Vice President: Professor Ashok Singhvi (India)

Ashok Kumar Singhvi is currently working as a Honorary Professor and J.C. Bose National Fellow at the Physical Research Laboratory (Department of Space, Govt. of India), Ahmedabad, India. A physicist by training, he has close to four decades of experience in Quaternary Geochronology and Paleoclimatology. He is known for his fundamental work on luminescence dating of Desert Sands and has provided event chronologies for most deserts of the world. He suggested that different deserts responded differently and episodically, to same climate forcing. This implied the need for changes in conventional concepts. He has also worked on global dust sequences and demonstrated their episodic accretion to suggest fundamental difficulties in their correlation with marine and ice core records. He developed luminescence dating of pedogenic carbonates, fulgurites, carbonate, gypsum and volcanic ashes and has contributed extensively to the methodological development of this technique. He has contributed over 170 papers in peer reviewed journals, several book chapters and edited about 16 special issues of journals.

Singhvi has worked on the executive committee of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programs's - PAGES (Past Global Changes) core project; Science Program Committee of the UN- International Year of Earth and was the co-leader of two International Geological Correlation Programs IGCP-349 on Desert Margins and Paleomonsoons and IGC-413 on Past and Future Evolution of Deserts. He is on the Editorial Boards of Quaternary Research (Associate Editor), Quaternary Science Reviews, J. Quaternary Science, The Holocene, Ancient TL, J. Earth Environment Mediterranean Archeology and Archeometry, Episodes and is a Member of the Senior Adv. Panel of Springer Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science.

Singhvi is a Fellow of Indian National Science Academy, The Third World Academy of Sciences and is a Life time Honorary Fellow of the Geological Societies of London and India. He was the Chair Indian Committee for IUGS and INQUA and Chairs, Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences' funding committees for Geosciences and for Paleoclimates. Singhvi has been a recipient of several recognitions'/awards, including the Geological Society of America's Farouk El Baz Award for Desert Sciences.

Past President: Dr Margaret Avery (South Africa)

Margaret Avery is a palaeoecologist with an archaeological background whose long-time interest is exploring the multi-facetted information potential of micromammalian prey of barn owls. Arising from this has been the main thrust of her research, contributing to our knowledge of the environmental background to human biological and technological evolution. To this end she has worked on material from all of the important archaeological sites in South Africa as well as early hominid sites such as Sterkfontein and Swartkrans, and sites in Zambia. Another aspect has been applying information to global change studies and the assessment of human impact on the environment. Complementary studies of modern material, besides being important in their own right, help inform taphonomic analyses of fossil samples.

Margaret is a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Society of South Africa, and a Past President of the Southern African Society for Quaternary Research. She serves on the ICSU South African National Board and ex officio on the South African National Committee for INQUA. She was also Secretary-General of the XV INQUA International Congress held in Durban in 1999. She has been Editor of the South African Archaeological Bulletin and Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa.