Product has been added to the basket

John Mark Pike, 1949-2003

Mark graduated from Birmingham University in 1970 with a BSc (Geology) and worked for a small geological and groundwater consultancy until he went to Strathclyde University in 1973, acquiring a Diploma in Mining and Engineering Geophysics. From 1974 to 1975 he was at Imperial College, where in 1975 he gained an MSc in Applied Geophysics. From 1975, he was employed as a geophysicist, his responsibilities increased steadily, and in 1986 was an international co-ordinator of marine surveys. From then until his untimely, rapid and unexpected death from cancer at the age of 54 he was successively a freelance, a consultant, senior consultant and (from 1994) an independent geophysical consultant.

His mainstream career in geophysics embraced a wide variety of major projects. Mainly occupied with hydrographic surveys of marine pipeline and cable routes, he was also involved in groundwater and land and coastal civil engineering projects.

At sea, he worked in the Pacific, Atlantic, the Gulf of Thailand, the Caspian, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, the China Sea, the Irish Sea and others. When not riding the oceans of the world, he was active on land in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Hawaii, USA, Britain, Spain, Cyprus, Libya, Nigeria and Botswana. Much of his work required a flexible, original approach and he introduced innovative techniques. He somehow found time to write an important paper for the Hydrographic Society, of which he was a member (Pike JM and Beiboer, FL 1996. A comparison between algorithms for the speed of sound in sea water Hydrographic Society Special Publication No 34).

Mark and his wife Margaret settled in Alton, Hampshire. Their children are Elena aged 22, a graduate in Visual Communication and Sam, aged 17 and still at school. Though his work took him far away for long periods, when at home he found time and energy for involvement in local affairs. He revived the Friends of the Earth group in Alton, and was instrumental in re-establishing flow in the river Wey, which had been severely affected by major groundwater abstraction.

Mark adhered to Quaker ideals for many years. He read and argued prodigiously and was never dull. Whether on board ship or camped in some remote corner of the world, he entertained his colleagues with challenging, wide-ranging discussion on the natural sciences, on beliefs and philosophies. We all loved it, and miss him sorely. His colleagues travelled from places as far away as Hong Kong to attend his funeral in Alton.

Everything Mark undertook was carried out thoroughly and with dedication. His capacity for sustained work was remarkable. As a team leader, operating in difficult regions, he inspired his colleagues who held him in great affection. In 1992 he resolved to spend more time in the UK with his family. He became a Fellow of the Geological Society with the intention of becoming fully involved. Had he lived he would have continued to enrich our lives. Certainly he has made a difference.

Robin Hazell