It is with deep sorrow that we are having to report our dear and beloved Dr. Hans Ave Lallemant passed away on November 14, 2016. Born in 1938, Hans was a pioneer in the rheology of the mantle and the structural evolution of mountain belts all over the world.  His field work took him to all corners of the world, from Alaska to southeast Asia to the Caribbean. He was one of the first to calibrate a rheologic law for the ductile deformation of mantle rocks. He taught us about the significance of transpression and transtension in mountain belts.  He developed new models for the exhumation of high pressure rocks in accretionary prisms.

Many of us got our first experience in the field from Hans’ classes. He taught structural geology and field mapping at Rice from 1970 when he arrived as an assistant professor.  He will be missed by all.

Please join us to celebrate his life and career with his family, friends and colleagues at a reception on the patio of the Earth Science Building at Rice University beginning at 4 pm.  Your presence would mean a lot to Hans as Rice meant the whole world to him.  Food and drinks will be served. No RSVP is required, but if you would like, feel free to add comments about his life in the comments section below.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Lewy-Body Dementia Association (

Friday, 18 November, 2016

4-6 PM

Patio of the Earth Science Department, Rice University

Scroll to bottom of webpage for detailed map of our building

44 replies
  1. Sorena Sorensen
    Sorena Sorensen says:

    Hans was a great scientist, a fine person, and a most valued member of George Harlow’s eclectic group of ladrones vulgares–after all, Hans was the guy who really knew about the rocks! I especially appreciated his good counsel based upon wide expertise as a structural geologist, especially of serpentinites and his patient attempts to educate a “field geochemist” concerning about the serpentinites and eclogites of Guatemala and Venezuela.

    In the field, as well as at workshops and conferences Hans’ gentlemanly nature prevented hotter heads from prevailing. He educated and outcrop-tutored many colleagues, to the great advantage of jade-and-subduction research. He was a valued member of a collaboration carried out for nearly 15 years among an ever-increasing group of scientists.

    Hans didn’t look at outcrops, he absorbed them. During his field work, he also absorbed a lot of incendiary chili peppers. His youth in the Dutch East Indies had evidently addicted him to incredibly spicy food. In Guatemala, Hans carried a bottle of the hottest chili sauce he could find in the breast pocket of his shirt, in case the group might wind up eating something that needed gustatory reinforcement.

    Hans also liked good food with less personality. In 2002, I happened to run into him soon after an AGU conference hotel gave me 2 sets of complimentary dinner and drink tickets to apologize for problems with my room. At an appropriate time, we met at their very nice restaurant. Hours after the bottle of wine appeared at the table and the table and coffee were cleared, Hans was still chatting away about serpentinites with great knowledge and enthusiasm. (The food was good, too.)

    Now, we will have to seek our friend and colleague Hans on the seacliffs of Venezuela, in the quebradas of Guatemala, and indeed on every outcrop that received his critical attention we can conjure from our memories. I’m sorry I won’t be able to join you on Friday, but both you and Hans will be in my thoughts.

    Please convey my sincere condolences to Hans’ family.
    With my sympathy and best regards,

  2. Dr. James Edwards '78
    Dr. James Edwards '78 says:

    I always enjoyed my discussions with Hans. He was the vision I had of a college professor. While I was not one of his students, I looked forward to his challenges. Yes, it is a sad day. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend “A Celebration of his Life”. My forward wishes to his family.

    Dr. James Edwards ’78

    • Marjo Ave Lallemant
      Marjo Ave Lallemant says:

      Dear Sorena,
      Thank you very much for your words, for your warm en beautiful memories of so many of Hans’ life,
      his scientific stuff, his enjoyment in working with you and the Guatemala group, in camping and finding rocks, jade, in spicy food and good companionship, in every aspect of life.
      Thank you very much, I will not forget your words,
      Marjo Ave Lallemant, also on behalf of Alison and Alexander, our childrenThank you very much for your

  3. Lizette Leon-Rodriguez
    Lizette Leon-Rodriguez says:

    Hi Cin-Ty and Martha Lou,
    Please pass my condolences to his wife. I won’t be able to attend this Friday.
    I saw him and his wife not more than 5 months ago having wine at a French Bistro in the Rice Village; it was a lovely scene. I meant to say Hi but he was not able to reply, although Marjo seemed very pleased that one person was able to recognize him.
    I also had the chance to interview with him when I was applying to get into grad school at Rice. He was very open to talk to me, we even got to talk about one of his Masters students (Jose Maria Jaramillo) who later became one of my professors at Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
    Thank you for sending these sad news,

  4. Hannes Brueckner
    Hannes Brueckner says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear that Hans Ave Lallement died last evening. He was a wonderful mentor to me at Yale where he was a post-doc and I a graduate student. He taught me a lot about structure and metamorphic rocks, particularly peridotites. I was delighted to work with him again in Guatemala in 2012 and again, I think, 2013. I remember him patiently measuring Reidel Shears; measurement after measurement under the hot sun while I took notes. I hope that data doesn’t die with him. He was wonderful company with his sharp mind and gentle humor. I will really miss him.
    I attach the one picture I have of him in Guatemala, 2012.
    best wishes and sympathy to his family.
    Hannes Brueckner

  5. Julia Smith Wellner
    Julia Smith Wellner says:

    When I first came to Rice, I worked as a TA for Hans. While I made it clear from the beginning that I was actually going to pursue stratigraphy, he made each day I was in the structure lab with him to be a pleasure and always made me feel welcome despite the pending departure. He had recently published a photomicrograph, I think on the cover of Geology, of a pyrite crystal that had been rotated during shear. In one of the labs I was teaching, I was focusing the microscope, improperly, and shattered the thin section. His response was “at least we have a picture.” He was always that generous. Best wishes to his family and friends.
    Julia Wellner

    • Marjo Ave Lallemant
      Marjo Ave Lallemant says:

      Thank you for your kind words ,Hans mentioned your name regularly when he was talking and remembring the Guatemala work!
      Marjo Ave Lallemant

  6. Richard Arculus
    Richard Arculus says:

    I joined the Faculty at Rice in 1975 as a tenure-track assistant professor. My interests were in island arcs, and Hans Avé believed we could fruitfully collaborate in a study of some classic upper mantle-deep crustal outcrops representative (possibly) of an island arc system, located at Canyon Mountain, eastern Oregon. The NSF funded our research proposal more or less simultaneously with my recruitment by and departure to the Australian National University. Hans Avé and I nevertheless continued our nascent collaboration, and we spent a productive field season in the spectacular scenery and geology of Canyon Mountain, in the summer of 1977. There I learned to appreciate not only the scientific expertise and insights but also the humanity, humour, and wisdom of Hans Avé Lallemant. He was a pillar of the academic staff at Rice, hugely respected and liked by the graduate students, and I will miss him both personally and scientifically. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

  7. Layla Unger
    Layla Unger says:

    I was a student of Hans’ in the late 90’s. I am forever grateful that Hans took me on as student though I was clearly not a structural geologist! Since learning of his passing I’ve been thinking of some of my favorite memories of him. His stories of surviving a tiger attack while a young boy in Indonesia, drinking Polar in Venezuela every night after field work, and one memorable evening at the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at in Mina, Nevada come to mind. Dinners at his home with Marjo, other students, and distinguished visiting scientists were some of my favorite social occasions in grad school. Most of all Hans patiently guided me through the maturation process of a young scientist, instilling in me the confidence to draw my own conclusions and put forward my own independent thought. Hans made a difference in not only the Geological sciences but also in the life of his students. Much love to Marjo and his family during this sad time. I wish I could be there for the memorial but Alaska is too far away.

  8. Jay C Stormer
    Jay C Stormer says:

    I am saddened to hear that Hans passed away Monday. During my years at Rice, Hans and I did not always agree, but I know he was devoted to the best interests of the department. I remember him as always energetic and active, The condition with which he was afflicted I know was certainly tragic.

    My sympathy and best wishes, “Jay”
    Jay C Stormer

  9. Dipanjan Mitra
    Dipanjan Mitra says:

    I remember Hans from my graduate days. He was always a cheerful person, a real gentleman and a great scientist. We will all miss you. Currently I am in India or else I would have attended his memorial. Rest In Peace Hans

  10. Kent Campbell
    Kent Campbell says:

    Hans Ave Lallemant was such a truly great guy. I have such fond memories of his classes, field trips and working with him in a consulting gig. What little Latin I know, I got it from him. He was a true role model.

  11. Amanda Beardsley Guzofski
    Amanda Beardsley Guzofski says:

    I was honored to be Hans’ last graduate student and so enjoyed the formative experience from working with a kind, smart, patient advisor. Hans loved being in the field and always energetically led the way to the best outcrops, whether we were collecting data or running an undergraduate field trip. His office door was always open for discussion and questions – he was simply a pleasure to be around and always radiating an upbeat attitude.

    I fondly remember many of our conversations over beers… Hans has been such an influence and inspiration to me – as a scientist and as a friend.

    Hans and Marjo welcomed many students and faculty to their home and in their family – both are such generous and kind people. I send my love to Marjo and their family during this time.

  12. Tatsuki Tsujimori
    Tatsuki Tsujimori says:

    I’m so sorry to hear the sad news about Hans’ passing. I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  13. Mark Gordon
    Mark Gordon says:

    After meeting Hans at conferences several times, we submitted an NSF proposal for my postdoc work at Rice. We eventually received funding and went to Honduras. Hans was not only interested in upper mantle rocks, but also in anything to do with structural geology including faulting in the Miocene volcanic rocks. When Hans went to exotic areas for fieldwork he also tried to take in the culture. In Honduras he asked if we could swing by Copan to look at the archeology. We managed to combine it with some interesting fieldwork. Hans, Marjo, Alex and Allison always welcomed me and later my wife into their family. Although Hans and I did not keep up our collaboration after I started working in industry, we met socially with Hans and Marjo all the way up to the present. He will certainly be missed. Condolences to his family.


    I was very saddened to hear of Hans’s passing. I was one of his first graduate students (MA 1976), and I recall many hours with him, in the classroom, lab, and especially in the field. He was extremely demanding (my thesis being rewritten innumerable times), but his enthusiasm for geology, and particularly ophiolites at the time, was obvious and infectious. I recall joking with him that we were “Ophiolitists” – some of the few geologists that had done fieldwork in the Upper Mantle. “We didn’t go to it – it came to us!” I think he liked that. It’s hard to love a peridotite (ugly rock!), but crawling over outcrops of these ugly rocks with Hans was a real pleasure. His observational skills often put me to shame, not to mention his physical strength. I remember him yelling to me “You are too soft, Larry”, as he laughed and scrambled up the steep ridge we were on. Those were wonderful days – I wish I had had more time with him.

    My sincere condolences to his family. He lived an inspiring life. I think he touched many people’s lives as he did mine. We were very fortunate to have known and worked with Hans.

    Larry Standlee

  15. Will Maze
    Will Maze says:

    My condolences to Hans’ family. We will all miss him.
    I was fortunate to have known Hans and his family. While traveling with him to Hawaii, Switzerland, Cuba, Guatemala, and Venezuela, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn and discuss the local geology as well as see what a gifted and giving man he was. One day in Venezuela especially comes to mind. We were working near the coast and the waters of the Caribbean were beckoning. Yet Hans was not wanting to be distracted from the geology at hand and could not imagine going for a swim. When finally we convinced him it would be worth a few minutes away from the rocks, he enjoyed himself immensely in the crystal clear breakers coming in from the north. I will always remember the grin on his face that morning before breakfast.

  16. Mary Horan
    Mary Horan says:

    Hans Ave Lallement was a fine geoscientist, an inspirational mentor and kind person. How fortunate I was to work with him in the seventies while I was an undergraduate at Rice. My condolences to his family.

  17. David (DAP) Pickett
    David (DAP) Pickett says:

    Ave was one of my favorite geology professors as a Rice undergrad. I will always be indebted to him for introducing me to the mapping of crystalline rocks. Though that part of field camp was challenging, I appreciated the fact that he chose June Lake as a place for us to spend two beautiful summer weeks.

  18. Dave Phelps
    Dave Phelps says:

    I am very saddened to hear the news about Hans. Hans was a pivotal influence on me both as a scientist and as a person. I am quite certain that without his guidance and support I would not have made it through my PhD program. As I progressed through my career I realized the professionalism and integrity that Hans demonstrated daily and demanded from me during my PhD program were exceptional. These qualities were instrumental in the success that I obtained later in my career. I often thought how lucky I was to have been exposed to those qualities so early in my career. Hans will be missed by all who knew him.

  19. Dr. Albert W. Bally
    Dr. Albert W. Bally says:

    Hans Avé Lallemant

    Memories of Bert Bally

    For many years Hans Avé Lallemant was my good friend colleague .He already had joined our Geology Dept as Assistant and Associate Professor in the 1970ies and he just had become a Professor in 1981 . At the time he was already known to me as the author of a well -known thesis on the original Lherzolithe of the Lac de Lherz in southern France, (see References below )

    When I left Shell in the summer of 1981 to take on the challenges as the chairman of our Department of Geology , Hans stood by me and helped me to navigate the challenging waters of Academia. So much so that I gladly accepted his help Vice- Chairman of our Department. Early on Dieter Heymann was also very helpful . Later on in 1986 I was greatly relieved when Hans accepted to become the Chairman of our Department which by then had morphed into a “ Department of Geology and Geophysics”
    As incoming chairman of our Department I thought that it would be great to have a project that would involve a group of faculty members and their students working together . It all began when in the following summer Hans , John Oldow and I made an early reconnaissance in northern Yukon in an area I had worked in during my days with Shell Canada..
    Subsequently Hans , together with John Oldow developed a great field mapping program in Alaska that involved many of our students. Eventually Alan Levander joined us in this program with the acquisition of of unique seismic Transect across the Central Brooks Range . In addition two of my students contributed their thesis involving the interpretation of reflection reflection profiles on the N-slope basin of Alaska

    The crowning achievement of much of this work was publication of Oldow and Avé Lallemant 1998.
    Some of you may wonder why I myself did not get more involved with the Alaska project . As new incoming Chairman of the Department I simply did not have enough time to get involved in projects that demanded a lot geological field work . Instead edited a couple of Seismic Atlas projects that were published by the AAPG.

    Later on Hans and some of his students worked for many years in Venezuela on a variety of projects. Both Hans and I had good contacts with PDVSA because Klaus Graf an alumnus of our Geology Dept ( M.A. 1966, Ph D. 1968b ) in 1990 became PDVSA’s Exploration and Production Coordinator and 1991 he became Vice-President of Corpoven. In this context many Venezuelan students came to our department .

    I will always fondly remember the good times I was fortunate to share with Hans.

    Selected References :
    Avé Lallement H.G. 1968 Structural and petrofabric analysis of an “alpine type” peridotite : the lherzolite of the French Pyrénées Leidse Geol . Mededeelingen , 42 ,p 1-57 .
    Note that this “orginal Lherzolite” was already described by De Charpentier in 1812
    Verschure R.H. , Hebeda E.H. , Boelrigh N.A., Priem H.N,A, Avé Lallemant H.G. 1967 . K=Ar age of hornblende from a hornblendite vein in the alpine-type ultramafic mass of the Étang de Lers ( Ariege ) French Pyrenees. Leidsche Geol. Mededeelingen 42. p 59-60
    For more see :
    John Oldow , Hans Avé Lallemant (Eds) 1998 Architecture of the Central Brooks Range Fold and Thrust Bellt (Arctic Alaska ) Geol .Soc.Amer.Spec, Paper. 377 pp

  20. Cin-Ty Lee
    Cin-Ty Lee says:

    I arrived as an assistant professor at Rice in 2002. Hans and Marjo welcomed me with open arms, even having me over for Thanksgiving. I always remember Hans as being the perfect gentleman, always kind and wise. I felt a connection to him because immediately upon meeting him, we could talk about peridotites and mylonites. In 2006, when he retired, he gave me his Universal Stage Microscope. We now use EBSD, but the universal stage is most certainly a great memory of the past. I only wish I knew how to use it as well as Hans did. Hans was a pioneer in understanding microstructures and the rheology of rocks. He was one of the first to lay out a flow law for olivine-rich rocks. His work on using olivine grain size as a paleopiezometer is still being used today. He generated new models, all motivated from field observations, for the origin of mountain belts and the exhumation of high pressure rocks in accretionary prisms. Above all, he trained so many of our students in basic field observations and structure. His passing is a loss not just to our department, but also the Earth science community in general. Goodbye Hans.

  21. Hugh Davies
    Hugh Davies says:

    Sad news, it brings memories of past exciting times for me, I will be with you in spirit, saying farewell to a good man
    Hugh Davies, Papua New Guinea

  22. Chad Smith
    Chad Smith says:

    I was honored to be a student of Hans’. I was always impressed with how much he knew, and how he kindly taught me and encouraged me to work and think harder.

    One of my fun memories was listening to Hans critique a local Llano wine while camping during a field trip to the Llano uplift. He seemed to enjoy drinking it as much as critiquing it.

    The highlight of my time at Rice was traveling to Venezuela with Hans and Jinny Sisson. I remember we rented this old Ford truck and he handed me the keys. When I indicated I wasn’t very good at driving a stick-shift, he said in his usual calm manner, “Well, you’ll be driving after we leave, so you better learn now.” I was so fortunate to learn from him in the field, and contribute to his work on the exhumation of high pressure metamorphic rocks in Venezuela.

    My sincere condolences to his wife, family, and friends.

    Chad Smith

  23. Katie Cooper
    Katie Cooper says:

    Hans remains one of my favorite professors. I took Advanced Structural Geology from him my first semester of graduate school and it was EYE OPENING. I finally saw how all of the concepts I learned in my undergraduate degree fit together including vector based physics and calculus. The course was constantly challenging, but in the best possible way. I loved hearing about his childhood and all of his travels even if the stories were spurred by our profound lack of geography. He was regularly reminded of our ignorance when he asked us to identify the fault plane on focal mechanisms based on the regional tectonics in an area and we looked at him with blank faces. But I soon found myself excited when I saw the sheet of paper on the classroom table at the beginning of the class to discover a new place. I use a similar assignment in my courses now. Another lesson I learned in that course was on preparation. It was a small offering that semester (I think only four students in total) and one week we all had managed to miss the assigned reading. It was painfully obvious to Hans. He looked at us and said, “well, there’s no point in having class then” and rightfully walked out. I have never felt so disappointed in myself. AND I never showed up unprepared again. This was another educational tip I took from Hans – demand preparation and excellence from your students and do not let them get away with not meeting you halfway. He already had my respect prior to that day, but that moment elevated him to another level. He gave kind criticism and a cheery outlook (always important on field trips that often required early morning starts). Truly a giant of a man. He will be missed.

  24. Carolyn Miller
    Carolyn Miller says:

    Hans was a wonderful teacher and friend. I am sorry he is gone. We are living in Durango, CO now, otherwise I would attend Ave’s service.

  25. Scott MacDonald
    Scott MacDonald says:

    I was a graduate student a long time ago but remember him well. Very sad to hear of this news. I live on the east coast so regrettably not able to attend. Very nice of you to have this reception.


    Scott MacDonald

  26. Augusto Castro
    Augusto Castro says:

    I was very sad to hear about Ave’s passing.
    Even though I didn’t work directly with him, I was in his Advanced Tectonics classes, and I have good memories of him, as an excellent teacher and scientist. He taught me important lessons that I remember to this day.
    I will not be able to be at Rice next Friday, but please convey to his family and friends my deepest sympathy.

    Augusto Castro

  27. William P. Leeman
    William P. Leeman says:

    Hans Ave Lallemant was a great friend and colleague for many reasons. He and Marjo went to great lengths to welcome me to the Rice community and get me started on the Rice faculty. We shared many a great meal and many bottles of wine in the comfort of their home. Hans included me in several projects in the early days, most notably in eastern Oregon where we co-directed Dave Gerlach’s investigation of the Canyon Mtn. ophiolite complex. We shared many seminars and got into the field on many occasions, and it was always great fun to be on the outcrop with Hans. We shared many personal experiences, including the Eagle Scout award ceremony of his son, Alexander. I know Hans and Marjo were very proud to become American citizens, and I am still amused by Hans’ words when he bestowed the Texas flag on Alexander during the ceremony. Hans reminded his son of that old Texan slogan – “Don’t forget the Alamo”. Well, that lost a little of the original fire and spirit in the telling, but I would now say “Don’t forget Hans Ave Lallemant”.

    I am glad we have many fond memories of this remarkable human being, and I know he will be missed. I send my condolences to Marjo, Alexander, and Alison and their families, and to the community of Rice and the Earth Sciences, for we are lessened by Hans’ passing.

    I regret that I could not join you on this sad day, but I am with you in spirit and wish you all well.

  28. Liz Vanacore
    Liz Vanacore says:

    I am saddened to hear of Hans Ave Lallemant’s passing. My condolences to his friends and family, especially his wife. Hans always impressed me as a scientist and professor that could balance professionalism with genuine human kindness. It is a small comfort to know that his pioneering work will continue to influence studies and be taught for years to come not only here in the Caribbean but also in the global earth science community.

  29. Mike Unger
    Mike Unger says:

    I too have fond memories of Hans Ave Lallemant – memories of Advanced Structure, learning to use the Universal Stage, the reading, the reading, the reading! I learned from Hans to read the abstract, look at the pictures on the way to the conclusion, read the conclusion and only then read the paper. I remember Hans breaking out an umbrella on a field trip to Llano, and thinking “Wow, what a great idea – it’s not just for rain” as the sun beat mercilessly down on rest of us. I remember field trips to California to look at ophiolites, to Nevada to see core complexes, to Llano to see the crazy range of basement rocks that sit below the flat seds. I remember Hans’ fascination with sheath folds. I remember lovely dinners at his and Marjo’s house with distinguished scientists. I remember him testing on geography, thinking that American students (even graduate students) didn’t know enough about the rest of the world.

    A sad loss to Rice Department, a sad loss to the geological world. My thoughts to Marjo and their family.

  30. Bob Wegner
    Bob Wegner says:

    In 1975, as I entered the Department as a doctoral candidate, Hans entered as a newly minted Assistant Professor. Both immersed in yet unfamiliar surroundings. I looked up as I imagine he looked across the Archetecture of this Department. Our noddling glances in the hallway spoke silently to the stages of settling in…his smile was always there – a beacon of reassurance. A warmth kindled by a resilient smile and a gentle demeanor, a friendship shared. I shall miss him.

  31. Basil Tikoff
    Basil Tikoff says:

    Hans was a superb structural geologist and a gentleman, both scientifically and in the rest of life. His mantle work was far ahead of its time, in both the approach it employed and the type of questions it was asking. His work in the US Cordillera is known for its uniformly high quality and for being well focused on answering important tectonic questions. I enjoyed my interactions with him, and he was generous with his time, experience, and humor with a junior colleague. From the perspective of the structural geology community, I know he will be missed.

  32. John Valley
    John Valley says:

    Hans was a warm and inspiring mentor when I was a new Assistant Professor at Rice in 1980. He could read the fabric of a metamorphic rock with his fingertips and he carried the charm of a European gentleman in all activities. We enjoyed many gracious meals with Hans and Marjo. In the field, he was always game for extra spices. One summer in Alaska he hypothesized that if we ate a lot of fresh garlic, the mosquitoes wouldn’t like that and would stay away. I’m not sure we observed the predicted result, but the effects were remarkable on those not participating in the study!
    I keep a Norfolk pine Hans gave me in my office. It’s 35 years old and reached the ceiling long ago, but I can’t bear to cut it down. I think of him often.

  33. Julie Holloway
    Julie Holloway says:

    My deepest sympathy to the family and dear friends of Hans. I worked with him in Geology and Geophysics from 1987-1992. Hans was a kind man, scholar and a gentleman. He will be missed.


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