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.

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