Clarence Allen, 1925–2021

Clarence Allen (MS '51, PhD '54), professor of geology and geophysics, emeritus, and a prominent seismologist, passed away on January 21, 2021. He was 96 years old.

Allen was born on February 15, 1925, in Palo Alto, California. He earned his bachelor's degree in physics from Reed College in 1949, and his master's and doctoral degrees from Caltech in 1951 and 1954, respectively. After he began his studies at Reed in 1942, Allen spent three years (1943–46) in the U.S. Army Air Corps before returning to finish his undergraduate degree.

Once he earned his PhD, Allen spent a year as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Allen then joined Caltech's faculty in 1955 as an assistant professor. He became an associate professor in 1959 and full professor in 1964. He also served as the interim director of Caltech's Seismological Laboratory from 1965–67 and was acting chairman of what was at the time called Caltech's Division of Geology (now the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences), from 1967–68.

During his career, he was most known for his contributions to the evaluation of seismicity and fault movements in regions where earthquakes are common.

He served as president of the Seismological Society of America as well as of the Geological Society of America, and was a member of numerous other professional societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Related:  Donald V. Helmberger, 1938–2020

Allen retired from Caltech in 1990, and was awarded the Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America in 1996.

A full memorial story will be posted at a later date.


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