Articles | Volume 23, issue 2
01 Nov 2004
 | 01 Nov 2004

Alan Charles Higgins (1936–2004)

Ronald L. Austin, Bernard Owens, and Edwin G. Spinner

Abstract. Alan Higgins was born in Hanley, Staffordshire on 16 December 1936, the youngest of three children. Throughout his childhood he was fascinated by the natural history of the nearby Peak District and it was not surprising that sciences played an important part in his education at Hanley High School. In 1955, he went to the University of Sheffield to study Geology and obtained a 2(1) degree in 1958. During those early years in Sheffield, he came under the influence of the late Professor Leslie Moore and, on graduation, was encouraged by him to undertake research on Namurian conodonts. At that time, little was known of the true potential of conodonts and, indeed, almost nothing of their occurrence in Upper Carboniferous rocks. Alan collected samples extensively throughout the southern Pennine region, often working closely with the staff of the Geological Survey and generated the first Namurian conodont zonation for the British Isles. He exploited every opportunity to prove the value of conodont studies outside the Carboniferous Period and, in 1962, published the results of an investigation on the microfaunas found in the Durness Limestone of northwest Scotland. His PhD was completed in 1961.

In late 1961, he was awarded a DSIR (Government) Fellowship which allowed him to work in Brussels at the offices of the Belgian Geological Survey whilst investigating the stratigraphic distribution of conodonts in the Namurian type sections of the Namur Basin. These studies, carried out in close collaboration with Jos Bouckaert, established detailed correlations with the British sequences . . .