March 1999


Sam Adams Receives USGS Powell Award

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gave its 1998 John Wesley Powell Award for Achievement in the Private Citizen Category to SAMUEL S. ADAMS, the 1995 president of AGI and chairman of AGI’s 50th Anniversary Committee. The award is named for the second director of USGS and recognizes significant contributions to advancing the survey’s principal mission: providing the nation with reliable, impartial information to describe and understand Earth. Adams received his award on Dec. 17, 1998, during the Survey’s Honor Awards Ceremony at the USGS National Center in Reston, Va.

Adams has worked for 35 years in mining and minerals exploration and is now a consulting geologist. In 1996, he served as chairman of the National Research Council panel that reviewed the Mineral Resource Surveys Program Plan of the USGS, and received the Powell Award in large part for his work with the panel.

When NRC released its review of the Survey’s Mineral Resource Surveys Program Plan, Adams personally presented the panel’s results to all the project chiefs of the Mineral Resources Program. “Your patience, professional stature, and generosity of time and advice were invaluable to successfully implementing the results of the review in a proactive, timely, and constructive manner,” Charles Groat, director of USGS, said in a letter to Adams. Groat added that Adams helped in the “reinvention and revitalization of the USGS’ oldest program.”

Adams earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1967. From 1986 to 1991, he headed the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America. 

In its December 1998 tribute to AGI presidents, Geotimes published the photograph of noted carbonate geologist JAMES WILSON. Problem is, that Jim Wilson was never a president of AGI (and just to confuse things more, both he and AGI’s former president worked for Shell Oil Company at the same time). AGI President Jim Wilson came to Shell as a field geologist, eventually becoming vice-president for exploration and production. He retired from a distinguished 35-year career in 1973 and began a second career as an international consultant for the petroleum industry. Soon afterwards, he served as president of the American Geological Institute.

Wilson’s years at Shell began in the late 1930s, but were soon interrupted by America’s entry into World War II. Six days after D-Day, he landed at Omaha Beach with the Third Armored Division. Wounded in the breakout at St. Lô a month later, he was reassigned to intelligence at the Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In his lectures, he emphasized the importance of geology in predicting beach and terrain conditions.

Years later, as he toured French vineyards on holiday, his interest in geology sparked another investigation: to discover how the chalk slopes of Champagne, the red-brown soils of Burgundy, and other unique characteristics of each wine-producing region in France produced their world-famous wines. The French call this environment — encompassing climate, water, soils, subsoils, and the vine itself — terroir. In his book, Terroir — The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wines, published recently by the University of California Press, Wilson has produced a fascinating story about the geologic conditions that create wine.
At Geotimes, we lift our glasses in salute to AGI’s 24th president and offer a sincere pardonnez-nous.

TRAVIS HUDSON, who has served as liaison between AGI and its Environmental Geoscience Advisory Committee since 1997, became AGI’s first Director of Environmental Affairs on November 1. AGI member societies are responding to a growing awareness that scientists and nonscientists need to understand how the earth sciences address environmental issues, Hudson says. “The member societies are getting more active in this arena, and AGI needs to be in a position to support them.”
     Hudson has more than 25 years of geoscience experience in basic research and environmental problems. He was manager of Remediation Technology and Support and an exploration manager for ARCO. He was also a research geologist for the Alaska branch of the U.S. Geological Survey. Hudson earned his Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University in 1976.

MARY LOWE GOOD, a professor at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, became president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in January. Good also serves as managing member for Venture Capital Investors LLC, a group of Arkansas business leaders who support technology-based enterprises. She is on the board of BIOGEN, a biotech company in Cambridge, Mass; IDEXX Laboratories of Westbrook, Maine; the Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation Board of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Whatman plc of Maidstone, U.K. Good also served as undersecretary for technology of the Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration during the early 1990s.

The 1998 William T. Pecora Award, sponsored jointly by the Department of the Interior and the Natural Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was given to the TOPEX/POSEIDON TEAM, part of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team uses data collected by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite, launched in 1992, to map global ocean topography every 10 days. The satellite has been instrumental in tracking the 1997–98 El Niño event.

ROBERT LAMONICA has been named president and chief executive officer of Leggette, Brashears & Graham, Inc., a groundwater and environmental engineering services firm headquartered in Trumbull, Conn., with 14 offices nationwide. Lamonica succeeds Russell G. Slayback, president-elect of the American Geological Institute, who will serve as chairman of the board. Lamonica joined the firm in 1976, and served as executive vice-president and chief operating officer. He is a member of several professional societies, including the American Institute of Professional Geologists and the Geological Society of America.


RANDALL T. KERHIN, deputy director of the Maryland Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, died Jan. 1 of complications following surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. He was 52.

Kerhin, a native of Gary, Ind., earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from St. Joseph’s College in Collegeville, Ind., in 1968. After he earned his master’s degree from Western Michigan University in 1971, he joined the Maryland Geological Survey. Kerhin became deputy director of the survey last year. His team approach to solving problems was instrumental in applying the results of scientific work to the state’s resource management issues, says Jeffrey Halka, a scientist with the survey. “His leadership and guidance will be sorely missed.”

Kerhin’s enthusiasm for geology, particularly for coastal processes, led to the growth of the Coastal and Estuarine Geology Program, Halka says. Under Kerhin’s direction, the program became involved in the early stages of the federal Chesapeake Bay Program. Kerhin advocated the need to understand that sediments provide the foundation for many of the bay’s living resources.

Kerhin worked to provide scientific understanding of the implications of sea-level rise on Maryland’s coastline. He also guided the development of mapping shoreline erosion throughout the state’s coastal waters. His efforts helped in identifying offshore sand resources used to restore some Maryland beaches.

Kerhin wrote numerous papers on coastal geology and was a member of the Society for Sedimentary Geology.



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