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Graham Evans (1934 – 2021)

A highly regarded teacher, inspiring sedimentologist and devoted family man

Graham EvansIn 1956, Graham combined an Honours degree in Geology at Bristol University with the captaincy of the University Rugby Club. Then, upon receiving a V.C. Illing Bursary for a PhD at the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London, he moved to London to study the sedimentology and evolution of the intertidal flats of the Wash. This work resulted in a classical paper on the recent sedimentation of tidal flats that remains highly cited to this day.

In 1960, Graham won the prestigious Royal Society John Murray Travel Scholarship, which took him to Scripps Oceanographic Institution, California, to study modern sedimentary environments. He turned down a tempting offer of a full-time position at Scripps for one as a Lecturer at Imperial College London, but most importantly to marry Rosemary, whom he had met in London before leaving for America. They spent their 1962 honeymoon camping on Sadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, undertaking fieldwork.

Graham was one of the first Europeans to work in Abu Dhabi, leading to the discovery of an evaporite equivalent of the tidal flats of the Wash. His work with D.J. Shearman famously showed that anhydrites can form in sabkha sediments. Graham was lead author of a classical paper describing sabkha progradation along the ‘Evans Line’.


Graham taught at Imperial College London, until retiring in 1991, as Reader of Sedimentology and became an Honorary Professor at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton University.

His teaching was prolific and highly regarded, not least in his supervision and inspiration of 30 PhD students. Graham assisted as a visiting lecturer at Kingston, Bristol, Oxford, Cairo, Nanjing, Ankara and Sana, amongst many other places; and spent academic sabbaticals in Turkey and Greece. He developed his expertise in coastal sedimentology and Holocene stratigraphy that is evident in his 122 publications.

In demand

Since the early 1960s, Graham was in much demand as a consultant by international academic institutions, The British Council, and oil companies worldwide. In 1991 to 1992, Graham was a visiting Professor at Madrid and Vigo universities. He was a loyal and long-term member of the Geological Association (GA) of London and a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. He was awarded the Richardson Prize from the GA in 2006 for the best paper of 2005.

Graham led many field excursions to the Arabian Gulf for both the oil industry and for international symposia; he chaired many influential scientific committees; was a popular keynote speaker at International Conferences; and was advisor to UNESCO on coastal erosion in West Africa.


The centre of Graham’s world was his family, Europe, London and Welsh rugby. After Graham’s retirement, he and his family moved to Jersey where he continued to supervise and examine PhD students in the UK and Spain, and to publish influential articles on the Arabian Gulf.

Graham and Rosemary have two children (Flora and Bartholomew) and five grandchildren (Caspar, Felix, Mabel, Reuben and Clara) to whom he was devoted. Graham died at home in Jersey on 5 February 2021, surrounded by his loving family.

By Tony Kirkham and Carl Amos