Françoise Gasse

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Françoise Gasse
Born1942 (1942)
Died22 April 2014(2014-04-22) (aged 71–72)
Occupation(s)paleobiologist, paleoclimatologist and paleohydrologist

Françoise Gasse (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swaz ɡas] (listen); born 1942;[1] died 22 April 2014[2]) was a French paleobiologist, paleoclimatologist and paleohydrologist. She specialized in environmental phenomena and more specifically the study of lacustrine sediments from ancient lakes in Africa[3] and Asia region.[4] F. Gasse had special impact in starting the first research projects that aim at rebuilding paleoclimatic variations and Quaternary paleoenvironments in different regions and precisely: the Sahara and the Sahel, East Africa and Madagascar, Western (Caspian) and Southern (Tibet), and in the Middle East (Lebanon).[1] She was a member of PAGES (Past Global Changes)/ The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.[5]


She earned her PhD in geology in 1975 from the University of Paris with a thesis on the evolution of Lake Abhé.[6] Her work became the first continuous dated African Pliocene-Pleistocene diatom record.[7] She entered the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and joined the Hydrology and Isotope Geochemistry lab of the Paris-Sud University in 1986, under the direction of professor Jean-Charles Fontes.[6] She moved to the Centre de Recherche et d’Enseignement de Géosciences de l’Environnement (CEREGE) in 1998.[6]

In 2005 she became the first woman to receive the Vega Medal from the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography.[8]

In 2010, she was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal bestowed by the European Union of Geosciences for her "contribution to the reconstruction of climate variability during the Holocene from continental archives and to a better understanding of climate mechanisms involved during this period."[5]


  1. ^ a b "Tropical Deserts and Lakes though [sic] time: Symposium in memory of Françoise Gasse". Centre de Recherche et d’Enseignement de Géosciences de l’Environnement. Archived from the original on 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  2. ^ "Françoise Gasse". Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (in French). Archived from the original on 2016-05-08. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  3. ^ Gasse, Françoise (2002-10-18). "Kilimanjaro's Secrets Revealed". Science. 298 (5593): 548–549. doi:10.1126/science.1078561. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 12386320. S2CID 140539026.
  4. ^ Gasse, Françoise; Arnold, M.; Fontes, J. C.; Fort, M.; Gibert, E.; Huc, A.; Bingyan, Li; Yuanfang, Li; Qing, Liu (1991-10-24). "A 13,000-year climate record from western Tibet". Nature. 353 (6346): 742–745. Bibcode:1991Natur.353..742G. doi:10.1038/353742a0. S2CID 4352968.
  5. ^ a b "EGU – Awards & Medals – Hans Oeschger Medal – Françoise Gasse". European Geosciences Union (EGU). Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  6. ^ a b c Gasse, Françoise (2013-05-26). "Reminiscences and acknowledgements from a lover of deserts near the end of her professional life" (PDF). Journal of Paleolimnology. 51 (1): 139–144. Bibcode:2014JPall..51..139G. doi:10.1007/s10933-013-9699-5. ISSN 0921-2728. S2CID 55230262. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  7. ^ Gasse, Françoise (1977-01-06). "Evolution of Lake Abhé (Ethiopia and TFAI), from 70,000 b.p". Nature. 265 (5589): 42–45. Bibcode:1977Natur.265...42G. doi:10.1038/265042a0. S2CID 4167947.
  8. ^ "Words from Dr. Florence Sylvestre on the passing of Françoise Gasse -- International Paleolimnology Association (IPA)". Archived from the original on 2015-07-31. Retrieved 2015-11-09.