Every six months or so, I seek out a cover photograph that reflects the topic of a paper in the forthcoming part of the Proceedings. This part is no exception, although the cover photograph relates to not one, but two papers. The person featured on the cover will be familiar to many members of the Yorkshire Geological Society, and to many other geologists worldwide with whom he worked.
Robert Knox, a former Editor of the Proceedings, died suddenly and unexpectedly on the 18th March 2013, shortly after returning from a heavy mineral sampling trip to the Middle East (Obituary, Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 59, pp. 261–262, 2013, http://doi.org/10.1144/pygs2013-342). Robert had been a member of staff of the British Geological Survey (BGS) for 29 years before his retirement in 2002, but even in retirement he remained active, becoming an Honorary Research Associate of the BGS and continuing to pursue research on a number of themes. These included the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), Neogene and Quaternary stratigraphy of the United Arab Emirates, heavy mineral studies of Palaeozoic successions in the Arabian Peninsula, and the correlation and provenance of sandstones in the Paleocene of southern England. The range of topics reflects the varied research interests that Robert developed throughout his career.
Fittingly, friends and former colleagues celebrated Robert's scientific achievements at a meeting organised by the Yorkshire Geological Society, jointly with the East Midlands Geological Society, the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London and the British Geological Survey, and held at the offices of the British Geological Survey at Keyworth, Nottingham, on 29th March 2014. Contributions to the Keyworth meeting mirrored Robert's interests in the Jurassic of the Cleveland Basin, the use of heavy minerals in provenance studies, the Palaeogene stratigraphy of NW Europe, and the Palaeogene geology of the North Sea Basin (meeting report in Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 60, 240, 2015, http://doi.org/10.1144/pygs2015-371). Two of the papers published in this part arose from that meeting, and in their way bookend Robert's career.
The Jurassic rocks of the Cleveland Basin, North Yorkshire, and specifically the sedimentology of the Middle Jurassic Saltwick and Eller Beck formations, were the subject of Robert's Ph.D. research at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and he maintained a strong interest in the geology of the Cleveland Basin throughout the rest of his career. As well as providing new insights on the stratigraphy, sedimentology and structure of a part of the Jurassic succession in the Cleveland Basin, John Powell and Jim Riding note in their paper on the Callovian–lower Oxfordian succession at Castle Hill, Scarborough, that Robert's doctoral research and publications, especially in relation to the origin of ooidal ironstones in the Eller Beck Formation, are significant with regard to the berthierine and framboidal pyrite ooids that they describe (see http://doi.org/10.1144/pygs2016-365).
The second paper, of which he is a posthumous co-author, describes research that Robert was actively involved in at the time of his death. That paper, by Marie-Pierre Aubry, Christian Dupuis, William A. Berggren and others, discusses geological aspects of the management and conservation of the Theban Necropolis on the West Bank of the River Nile, Egypt (see http://doi.org/10.1144/pygs2016-366). As a collaborator in the Theban International Geoarcheological Project (TIGA), Robert continued to work on the Palaeogene of Egypt and, together with Christian Dupuis and the late Chris King, logged the >340 m thick Thebes Limestone Formation near Luxor.
Together, these two papers serve as an apt tribute to the breadth of Robert's interests and to his scientific career and achievements.