Christopher Scarfe, 1941–1988



Tragedy of major proportion befell the family of Chris Scarfe and the University of Alberta, Canada, at 8 a.m. on July 20, 1988, when an errant car killed Chris instantly while he was out jogging on his way to work.

Born in England, Chris graduated at the University of Durham, beginning his career in experimental petrology with Peter Wyllie at the University of Chicago. Returning to England, he completed a Ph.D. at the University of Leeds, assisting in the development of a high-pressure laboratory with Peter Harris. Appointed at the Univeristy of Alberta in 1972, he steadily developed a new facility, expanding the Department of Geology's embryonic high-pressure laboratory with equipment capable of pressures to 40 kbar and 2000°C. He also supervised research on basalts in the Atlantic Ocean, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. He spent 1987–1980 in the Geophysical Laboratory, where he met Eiichi Takahashi, establishing a friendship and a most fruitful working partnership. Quickly realizing t h e significance of very high-pressure equipment, Chris strenuously fought for a major equipment grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and secured it in time to have a Superpress delivered in February 1988, also utilizing support from the University. Quickly assembling a team of researchers, he brought the Superpress into immediate operation, producing diamonds within a month of start-up. Major discoveries concerning the range of stability of carbonates and on the petrogenesis of komatiites are well under way at pressures up to 200 kbar.