Friday, November 12, 2010

Buzz Ostrom, former State Geologist of Wisconsin

Meredith "Buzz" Ostrom, former Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey ((1972 - 1990), passed away yesterday, Thursday, November 11. Funeral and other arrangements have yet to be finalized. Buzz's wife Ann resides at Oakwood Village West, Apt. D-81, 6225 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53711. [photo credit, Univ. Wisc. Extension]

The following is excerpted from History of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey: Part 2
Originally published in "The State Geological Surveys: A History", © 1988 Association of American State Geologists

Buzz was appointed director and state geologist to succeed Hanson in July of 1972. Ostrom received his Bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois in 1952 and his Master’s (1954) and Doctor’s (1959) degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.

Ostrom worked for the Illinois State Geological Survey beginning in 1953 as a project assistant in Subsurface Geology and in the Coal Section. In 1955 he was appointed as an assistant geologist in the Industrial Minerals Section, where he worked on a variety of subjects including black shales, sandstones, carbonate rocks, and clays. He joined the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey in November 1959 as assistant state geologist with principal responsibility for geology and groundwater. In 1968 he was promoted to associate state geologist and to associate professor in the newly created UW–Extension Department of Geology and Geography.

Under Ostrom’s tenure beginning in 1972 the WGNHS base budget grew from $365,325 to more than $1,000,000. The staff has included as many as 10 geologists, 3 part time soil scientists, 4 hydrogeologists, 1.5 climatologists, 0.5 biologists, 3 technicians, 2 computer specialists, 1 editor, 4 cartographers, 1 administrative assistant, and 5 secretaries, plus more than 20 students. The period was marked by publication of a new 1:1,000,000 scale bedrock geologic map, the first 1:500,000 Pleistocene geologic map, and more than 200 maps and reports. Ostrom retired in 1990, and Assistant Director Ronald G. Hennings served as Acting Director and State Geologist until mid-1991.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Alabama's Nick Tew elected AGI Secretary

The American Geological Instituted installed its new officers last week in Denver at the Geological Society of America annual meeting.

Nick Tew, AGI’s incoming Secretary, is currently the Alabama State Geologist and Oil and Gas Supervisor, roles he has served since 2002. Dr. Tew is also involved in the Association of American State Geologists, serving as President (2008-2009); the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, where he is the incoming 1st Vice Chairman; the Geological Society of America; and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, where he is an Associate Editor. Tew has recently been appointed to the National Petroleum Council.

AGI is a nonprofit federation of 47 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

Peter Scholle to retire as State Geologist of New Mexico

Peter Scholle announced that he is retiring as State Geologist and Director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in June 2011, after serving in that position for 12 years. Peter also served as President of AASG among many other roles in the organization.

The official vacancy announcement for the position of director/state geologist has been posted on the New Mexico Tech web site (at, currently just below the job opening for a Test Range Gunner I at the university's explosives research center. The announcement is also posted on the Bureau of Geology web site ( If you know of people who would be interested in the Director Position (or Test Range Gunner), please pass along those web links.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Wunsch, Parrish, Kelly elected to Honorary status

AASG this morning elected three former state geologists to Honorary status in the Association: David Wunsch (NH), Jay Parrish (PA), and Bill Kelly (NY).

Honorary status is given for exemplary contributions to AASG by a State Geologist over a tenure typically of 7 years or longer.