At a farewell party, held only three weeks before his death, Ansel was described by a colleague as a gentleman scientist. This description, which touched him deeply, pin-pointed two salient features of his character. Firstly, he could always find time to discuss almost any aspect of geology with colleagues and students, offering ideas, encouragement and support. To him this was a genuine pleasure. Secondly, Ansel was a geologist with unusually wide ranging interests, which went well beyond the conventional boundaries of the subject.

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Ansel spent his early years in Stanhope where his first geological activity was hurling...

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