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Rodi Avila Medeiros, Outstanding Stratigrapher, Mentor and Teacher


Rodi Avila Medeiros (1935–1998) was a prominent geologist who spent most of his professional life teaching, lecturing, and mentoring many generations of geologists in stratigraphy, sedimentology and basin analysis. Born in Pelotas, Brazil, he graduated in Agronomical Engineering in 1958, and immediately joined the group that would be the first petroleum geologists in Brazil. Determined to make up a national work force, the newborn (1954) Petrobras established an internal school in Salvador, where tens of professionals aimed at the oil & gas industry would graduate in 1960–61. Only after the graduation of this first group of geologists that teaching effort could be discontinued. Rodi started working with surface and subsurface geology in the Paleozoic Parana Basin, and was soon sent to Troy, NY, to perform advanced studies in sedimentology with Gerald M. Friedman. As a consequence, his masterpiece, Sedimentary Facies, was published in 1969, co-authored by Friedman and Hannfried Schaller. He was a pioneer in facies analysis in Brazil, introducing modern sedimentology concepts in the Brazilian oil industry and in many of the Nation universities. He worked as a full-time teacher and mentor for hundreds of geologists involved in graduated studies, both in Petrobras and in many universities, up to the very end of his life, collaborating in hundreds of scientific papers, Theses, field mapping in the search for oil, and was the core reference in the foundation of a number of graduated courses in sedimentology and stratigraphy. Well ahead of his time, Rodi soon realized the need to correlate thick periglacial paraconglomerates with only one thin bed in a rhythmite succession 20 km away. He was also aware, in the early 70s, to the dynamic character of stratigraphy that would give birth to Sequence Stratigraphy many years later. Rodi performed an outstanding job as a field trip leader in tens of sedimentary basins in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and other countries. Many of his maps and stratigraphic schemes, field trip guides, and the application of those concepts to the petroleum geology, are still very influential for the analysis of several Proterozoic, Paleozoic, and Cretaceous Rift basins in Brazil. His influence is still felt today, by those who were happy to have known and respected him.