Marie Morisawa

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Marie Morisawa
Born (1919-11-02)November 2, 1919
Toledo, Ohio
Died June 10, 1994(1994-06-10) (aged 74)
Nationality American
Fields Geomorphology
Institutions Bryn Mawr College, 1955-1959
Alma mater B.S. in mathematics, Hunter College, 1941; M.A. in theology; M.S. in Geology, University of Wyoming, 1952; Ph.D., from Columbia University, 1960
Doctoral advisor Arthur Newell Strahler
Known for Founded the journal Geomorphology in 1986; author of eight books

Marie Morisawa (1919–1994) was an American geomorphologist. Morisawa was an integral part of the revolution in the field that began in the 1950s. She studied the geomorphology of rivers, active fault zones, plate tectonics, coastal geomorphology, geological hazards, and environmental geomorphology.[1]

Morisawa was born on November 2, 1919 in Toledo, Ohio. She earned a B.S. in mathematics from Hunter College in 1941. She then earned an M.A. in theology before turning to geology and obtaining an M.S. from University of Wyoming in 1952. She taught at Bryn Mawr College from 1955 to 1959. In 1960 she earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Arthur Newell Strahler was the advisor for her doctoral work on the quantitative geomorphology of Pennsylvania streams.[1]

Morisawa wrote eight books, including Evaluating Riverscapes in 1971. She founded the journal Geomorphology in 1986 and was its editor in chief.[1] She became "the first female chair" of the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America and helped found "the annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposia."[2]

Morisawa died in a car accident on June 10, 1994.[1]

In 2009 the Geological Society of America established the Marie Morisawa Award in her honor. The award is presented annually to a woman M.S. or Ph.D. graduate student pursuing a career in geomorphology.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Gates, Alexander E. (2009). A to Z of Earth Scientists. Infobase Publishing. pp. 178–180. ISBN 978-1-4381-0919-0. 
  2. ^ "The Marie Morisawa Fund". Geological Society of America Foundation. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  3. ^ "QG&G Student Research Awards". Geological Society of America. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 

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