Published: Sept. 19, 2017
DMG president Reiner Klemd and Joseph R. Smyth (Boulder, USA)

The Abraham Gottlob Werner Medal in silver is the highest award of the German Mineralogical Society and honours outstanding contributions
to research in mineralogy and closely related fields. The 2017 medal is awarded to Joseph (Joe) R. Smyth, Professor of Geological
Sciences at the University of Colorado (USA). Joe’s research in mineralogy and crystal chemistry was central in starting a field of study
dealing with the role of water in nominally anhydrous minerals and the global H2O cycle. Joe is distinguished for his early prediction, nearly
thirty years ago, that a high-pressure polymorph of olivine (Mg2SiO4) called wadsleyite, which is stable in the mantle transition zone (410–660 km depth) may contain the largest
geochemical reservoir of H2O on Earth. His idea had far-reaching implications for plate tectonics, mantle dynamics, and even the origin of water on Earth.