E-an Zen

1928 - 2014

E-an Zen was born in Peking (Bejing), China, on May 31, 1928. When war between China and Japan broke out in 1937, his family split up and endured numerous difficulties during the war. They returned to “Free China” in 1942 and lived in Chungking from 1942 to1946.

In 1946 the family came to the United States on a converted troop ship and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where E-an attended high school. Prior to this, his early education was provided by tutors, parents and through self-learning. As an undergraduate he attended Cornell University from 1947-51 where in 1950 he attended field camp in Phillips, Maine. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955, he spent three years as a postdoc at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and then as Assistant Professor at North Carolina University. E-an joined the United States Geological Survey in 1959 until his retirement in 1989, going on “sabbatical” about once a decade to teach at Caltech, 1962, MIT, 1972, Princeton, 1981.

E-an worked primarily in the northern Appalachians, especially on paleogeographic reconstructions and the origins of exotic terranes in New England. Much of his geologic contributions centered on the Taconic Mountains in Vermont where he refined its internal stratigraphy and structure and identified and confirmed the reality of the Taconic over-thrust (klippe) and its relationship to the newly emerging theory of Plate Tectonics.

E-an has received: the 1986 Arthur L. Day Medal, Geological Society of America; Roebling Medal, Mineralogical Society of America, 1991; John Coke Medal, Geological Society of London, 1992; Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Dept. of Interior, 1979; Outstanding Contributions, American Geological Institute, 1994 and the Thomas Jefferson Medal, Virginia Museum of Natural History, 1995. He served on many elected and honorary positions including: President, Geological Society of Washington, 1973; President, Mineralogical Society of America, 1975-1976; elected to National Academy of Sciences, 1976; elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1982; and President of the Geological Society of America 1991-1992.

Extracted from: Wikipedia; Memorial by U.S.G.S.

Head of Border Trail Between US and Canada
E-an Zen

Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail • 27 Blake Street * Presque Isle, ME 04769