!!Herman Verstappen

Particularly the years 1949-1959 were marked by extensive field 
investigations in many parts of Indonesia. Living for months in
the jungle, climbing volcanoes and traversing high mountain ranges
suited him as an outdoor man and aroused his scientific curiosity.
Following research on coastal evolution and coral reefs in Jakarta
Bay [{GoogleMap location='Jakarta Bay' zoom='4'}] and other localities in Java, he explored the Wissellakes area
in Central New Guinea (1949), Sumatra [{GoogleMap location='Sumatra' zoom='4'}] (5x in 1950, 1954 and 1955),
the Moluccas [{GoogleMap location='Moluku' zoom='5'}] (1956), the Birdshead of New Guinea [{GoogleMap location='New Guinea Australia' zoom='2'}]and the adjacent 
Radjah Empat islands [{GoogleMap location='Radjah Empat' zoom='8'}](1958) and took part in the Star Mountains 
Expedition in the Central Range that same island (6 months,1959). 
This work resulted in numerous publications, including two books, 
on the landforms of Sumatra (1964) and of the whole country(2000).
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[{Image src='scan0025.jpgnieuw1.jpg' caption='The ash covered glacier of the Nevado de Ruiz volcano, Colombia, during the ill famed eruption of 1985 (death toll 36,000 people)' height='400' alt='Nevado de Ruiz volcano' align='center'}]
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The research related to lowlands and reefs, raised coral reefs, 
volcanoes, tropical karst, coastal dunes etc. Two major lines of 
research gradually emerged, however. First, the interaction of 
climatic/neotectonic factors in landform evolution in Indonesia 
and in SE Asia at large. He revealed the effects of interannual 
variations of the monsoons already in his doctor's dissertation 
and extended this in later years to much larger variations during 
the Pleistocene. He also found that neotectonism in plate contact 
zones leads to processes and developments that differ essentially 
from that known from cratogene areas in humid tropical and savanna
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A second major line of research soon became applied geomorphology
of which he became a leading scientist. The fact that squatters 
were living on his doorstep in Jakarta prevented him from only 
concentrating on coral reefs and other fascinating geomorphologic
subjects and prompted him in 1956 to request a Commission Applied 
Geomorphology of the International Geographical Union (IGU). 
Applied research was carried out in relation to pioneer settlement
land use planning and environment, resource assessment, natural 
hazard zoning, etc.
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[{Image src='scan0029.jpg' caption='Herman Verstappen with an army helicopter used for observations' height='400' alt='Herman Verstappen with an army helicopter used for observations' align='center'}]
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These investigations in the humid tropics were followed by arid 
zone research in the 1960s and 1970s. Surveys in the context of 
UNESCO's Arid Zone Programme were carried out during missions in 
Pakistan (Quetta/LasBela 1964-1965) and in India (CAZRI Jodhpur/
Thar Desert, 1967). The central Sahara (Tibesti mountains [{GoogleMap location='Tibesti' zoom='4'}]and lake
Palaeochad [{GoogleMap location='Massakory Chad' zoom='7'}]) were visited in 1970 in collaboration with the German
Research Station in Bardai [{GoogleMap location='Bardai' zoom='6'}]. Drought susceptibility surveying was 
the aim of investigations carried out in the Kalahari [{GoogleMap location='Kalahari' zoom='5'}] and lake 
Palaeo-Makgadikgadi, Botswana, 1978.
At the same time research in Indonesia continued, mainly through 
university cooperation projects, and was complemented by work in 
S and E Asia, in Africa, Latin America and the Mediterranean area. 
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Research on applied geomorphology, methods of geomorphological 
survey and application of aerospace technology to natural resource
assessment and natural disaster reduction developed during his ITC 
years. Natural hazards and disaster mitigation became a major
specialization as early as 1980 and made him a leading scientist 
in this area.
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[{Image src='verstappen_hermann_kawah_ijen_java.JPG' caption='' width='600' alt='Prof. Verstappen at the solfatara of the Ijen crater on Eastern Java' class='image_left'}]Prof. Verstappen at the solfatara of the Ijen crater on Eastern Java. Kawah Ijen volcano is one of the volcanoes located in the 15km diameter Ijen Caldera in Easter Java, Indonesia. The caldera rim is still visible in places, but has been partially buried by Kawah Ijen, 2800m high Gunung Merapi. 
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[{Image src='verstappen_hermann_italy.jpg' caption='' width='600' alt='verstappen_hermann_italy.jpg' class='image_left'}] The hardships of student's fieldwork in southern Italy - with some good bread and a bottle of local wine!



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