Stratigraphy and Earth history, tectonics, stratigraphy of pelagic limestones.
- Research Interests
- Academic Background
- Awards & Honors
- Professional Activities
- Close Colleagues
- EPS C51 = LS C70X Big History (Cosmos, Earth, Life, Humanity)
- Former Ph.D. Students
- Former Postdoctoral Fellows
- History of Geology at Berkeley
- T. rex and the Crater of Doom
- The Mountains of Saint Francis
- Big History and ChronoZoom
Walter Alvarez was born and raised in Berkeley, attended Carleton College in Minnesota, and received his PhD in geology at Princeton. His thesis research (and honeymoon) was in the roadless desert of northernmost South America, living with Guajiro Indians and smugglers. He then worked for an oil company in Holland, and in Libya at the time of Colonel Gaddafi's revolution.
Having developed an interest in archeological geology, Alvarez left the oil company and lived in Italy, studying the Roman volcanic rocks and their influence on patterns of settlement in early Roman times. He then moved to Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, one of the centers where the plate-tectonic revolution was unfolding.
His work on tectonic paleomagnetism demonstrated that very small plates in the Mediterranean, Corsica-Sardinia for example, have moved around. That led to a study of the reversals of the Earth's magnetic field recorded in deep-sea limestones. At Gubbio, in Italy, Alvarez and his colleagues were able to date the geomagnetic reversal sequence on the basis of foraminiferal biostratigraphy through an interval of more than 100 million years of Earth history, providing a new tool for dating sedimentary rocks.
In 1977 he joined the faculty at U.C. Berkeley and began a study of the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period as recorded in the Italian limestones. Evidence from iridium measurements suggested that the extinction was due to impact on the Earth of a giant asteroid or comet, and many years later that hypothesis was confirmed by the discovery of the largest impact crater on the planet, in the subsurface of the Yucatán Peninsula, dating from precisely the time of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction.
From 1994 to 1997 Alvarez was Chairman of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and then returned to teaching and to research centered on Mediterranean tectonics, impact events, and Earth history as recorded in the beautifully exposed sedimentary rocks of the Colorado Plateau and in the deep-water limestones of Italy. He is currently interested in Big History, the emerging interdisciplinary field that aims to tie everything in our planet's past — its cosmic ancestry, its geological and paleontological evolution, and the pageant of human societies — into a coherent understanding of the grand sweep and character of history.
Alvarez is a recipient of the Penrose Medal (the highest honor of the Geological Society of America) and the Vetlesen prize, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is an honorary citizen of two Italian towns — Piobbico and Gubbio — and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Siena in Italy and the University of Oviedo in the Principality of Asturias in Spain, where his family originates.
Stratigraphy and Earth history, focusing on comet and asteroid impacts and their role in causing mass extinctions and influencing the course of evolution of life; tectonics of the Mediterranean region; global tectonics; geology of the Quaternary Roman Volcanic Province and its implication for dating glacial cycles and for understanding Roman archeology; stratigraphy of pelagic limestones; Big History.
1962 B.A. Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota (Major: Geology).
1967 Ph.D. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (Geology)
Thesis: "Geology of the Simarua and Carpintero areas, Guajira Peninsula, Colombia."
1983-1984 Guggenheim Fellow
1984 Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences
1985 G. K. Gilbert Award, Division of Planetary Geology, Geological Society of America
1986 Honorary Foreign Fellowship, European Union of Geosciences
1986 Honorary citizenship, Piobbico, Italy
1986-1987 Miller Research Professor, University of California, Berkeley
1988 Minor planet "Alvarez" (1985 HC), discovered 1985 by C. S. Shoemaker and E. M. Shoemaker, named for L. W. Alvarez and W. Alvarez
1989 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
1991 Rennie Taylor Award of the American Tentative Society (Science Journalists)
1991 Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
1992 Elected Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences
1993 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1993 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Illinois Wesleyan University
1994 Honorary citizenship, Gubbio, Italy
1998 Journalism Award of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
1998-2002 Chancellor's Professor, University of California, Berkeley
2001-2002 Miller Research Professor, University of California, Berkeley
2002 Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America
2003 Honorary Doctorate of Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
2003 Honorary Member of the Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Geólogos (Spanish Association of Geologists)
2005 Laurea ad Honoris Causa (honorary doctorate), Universitá di Siena (Italy)
2005 Founders' Council Award of Merit, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
2006 Nevada Medal of the Desert Research Institute
2008 Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Award, Beyond (Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, Arizona State University)
2008 Doctor Honoris Causa, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain
2008 Vetlesen Prize
1963-66 Four field seasons' work in Guajira Peninsula (Colombia, South America).
1966 Oceanographic cruise in the Caribbean on Scripps vessel Thomas Washington.
1967-68 Exploration geology and geophysics in North Sea area.
1968-70 Exploration studies of the regional geology of western Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia.
1968-71 Field study of volcanic stratigraphy north of Rome, Italy, in connection with archaeological excavations of the British School at Rome.
1972-present Extensive field work in Italy and nearby areas (Sardinia, the Alps, Corsica, Spain, Cyprus, Tunisia) on problems relating to Mediterranean tectonics, the pelagic stratigraphic record, and geomagnetic reversal history.
1977, 1979 Geological study of induced seismicity at Nurek Reservoir, Tadzhikstan, and Toktogul Reservoir, Kirghizia (Soviet Central Asia), as part of a US-USSR co-operative program in earthquake prediction.
1977-present Extensive research on impacts and mass extinctions, in particular the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) boundary event, starting with the evidence from an iridium anomaly at Gubbio (Italy) for a massive event at the KT boundary, and culminating in studies showing that the 180-km Chicxulub Crater in the subsurface of the Yucat�n Peninsula dates from precisely the time of the KT extinction.
1988-96 Geological-archaeological research in the Roman Forum.
1992-present Active in founding the Geological Observatory of Coldigioco (Italy).
1995-present Stratigraphic research in Utah.
2007-present Big History (Cosmos, Earth, Life, Humanity)
Geology of the Simarua and Carpintero areas, Guajira Peninsula, Colombia: Ph.D. Thesis, Princeton University, 168 p., 1967.
1. Geology and History of Sicily: Petroleum Exploration Society of Libya, Tripoli, 271 pp., 1970 (W. Alvarez and K.H.A. Gohrbandt, eds.).
2. T. rex and the Crater of Doom: Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 185 p., 1997.
3. The Mountains of Saint Francis — Discovering the geologic events that shaped our Earth: New York, W.W. Norton, 304 p., 2009.
1. Estudios recientes en la Guajira: Geozóico (Bogotá), v. 1, no. 2, p. 2-4, 1965.
2. Geology and History of Sicily: Petroleum Exploration Society of Libya, Tripoli, 271 pp., 1970 (W. Alvarez and K.H.A. Gohrbandt, eds.).
3. Introduction to the geology of Sicily, in, Phillips, R.W. (ed.), Road log for Sicily field trip: Petroleum Exploration Society of Libya, Tripoli, p. 1-4, 1970.
4. Fragmented Andean belt of northern Colombia: Geological Society of America Memoir 130, p. 77-96, 1971.
5. Recent Italian research: Geotimes, v. 17, no. 2, p. 14-17, 1972.
6. Rotation of the Corsica-Sardinia microplate: Nature Physical Science, v. 235, p. 103-105, 1972 (LDGO no. 1758).
7. The Treia Valley north of Rome: volcanic stratigraphy, topographic evolution, and geological influences on human settlement: Geologica Romana, v. 11, p. 153-176, 1972 (LDGO no. 1786).
8. Uncoupled convection and subcrustal current ripples in the Western Mediterranean, in, Shagam, R. (ed.), The H.H. Hess volume: Studies in Earth and Space Science: Geological Society of America Memoir 132, p. 119-132, 1972.
9. The ancient course of the Tiber River near Rome: an introduction to the middle Pleistocene volcanic stratigraphy of Central Italy: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 84, p. 749-758, 1973 (LDGO no. 1838).
10. The application of plate tectonics to the Mediterranean region, in, Tarling, D.H. and Runcorn, S.K. (eds.), Implications of continental drift to the earth sciences: Academic Press, London, v. 2, p. 893-908, 1973 (LDGO no. 1793).
11. Palaeomagnetism of Plio-Pleistocene basalts from northwest Sardinia: Nature Physical Science, v. 243, p. 10-11, 1973 (W. Alvarez, S. Franks, and A.E.M. Nairn, LDGO no. 1937).
12. Base surge deposits in Pleistocene volcanic ash near Rome: Bulletin Volcanologique, v. 37, no. 4, p. 553-572, 1973 (P.H. Mattson and W. Alvarez, LDGO no. 2078).
13. Rotation of the Italian peninsula: Nature, v. 251, p. 285-288, 1974 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez, LDGO no. 2074).
14. Sardinia and Corsica: one microplate or two?: Rendiconti del Seminario della Facoltá di Scienze, Universitá di Cagliari, supplemento, p. 1-4, 1974 (LDGO no. 2038).
15. The tectonics of central-eastern Sardinia and the possible continuation of the Alpine chain to the south of Corsica: Rendiconti del Seminario della Facoltá di Scienze, Universitá di Cagliari, supplemento, p. 5-34, 1974 (W. Alvarez and T. Cocozza, LDGO no. 2056).
16. Fragmentation of the Alpine orogenic belt by microplate dispersal: Nature, v. 248, p. 309-312, 1974 (W. Alvarez, T. Cocozza, and F.C. Wezel, LDGO no. 2056).
17. Paleomagnetismo della scaglia rossa umbra e rotazione della penisola italiana: Societá Geologica Italiana, Bollettino, v. 93, p. 883-891, 1974 (W. Alvarez and W. Lowrie, LDGO no. 2184).
18. The Pleistocene volcanoes north of Rome, in, Squyres, C. (ed.), Geology of Italy: Earth Science Society of the Libyan Arab Republic, Tripoli, p. 355-377, 1975 (LDGO no. 2196).
19. Paleomagnetic evidence for rotation of the Italian Peninsula: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 80, p. 1579-1592, 1975 (W. Lowrie and w. Alvarez).
20. Eruptive source of the "Tufo rosso a scorie nere", a Pleistocene ignimbrite north of Rome: Geologica Romana (Rome), v. 14, p. 141-154, 1975 (W. Alvarez, A. Gordon, and E.P. Rashak, LDGO no. 2344).
21. A former continuation of the Alps: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 87, p. 891-896, 1976 (LDGO no. 2046).
22. Potassium-argon ages on pyroclastic rocks from the Pleistocene Sabatini Volcanic District, north of Rome: Rendiconti della Societá Italiana di Mineralogia e Petrologia, v. 32, p. 147-152, 1976 (W. Alvarez, M. Nicoletti, and C. Petrucciani, LDGO no. 2326).
23. A propos des relations Corse-Sardaigne: Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, ser. 7, v. 18, p. 1216, 1976.
24. Formation of spaced cleavage and folds in brittle limestone by dissolution: Geology, v. 4, p. 698-701, 1976 (W. Alvarez, T. Engelder, and W. Lowrie, LDGO no. 2377).
25. The tectonic significance of Mediterranean volcanoes: Geologica Romana (Rome), v. 15, p. 311-313, 1976.
26. Paleomagnetic studies of the Scaglia Rossa limestone in Umbria: Proceedings of the Conference on Paleomagnetic Stratigraphy of Pelagic Carbonate Sediments, Perugia, Italy, September, 1976, Societá Geologica Italiana, Memorie, v. 15, p. 41-50, 1976 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez, LDGO no. 2431).
27. The role of calcium carbonate dissolution in deformation of the Scaglia Rossa limestone: Proceedings of the Conference on Paleomagnetic Stratigraphy of Pelagic Carbonate Sediments, Perugia, Italy, September, 1976, Societá Geologica Italiana, Memorie, v. 15, p. 33-40, 1976 (W. Alvarez, T. Engelder, and W. Lowrie, LDGO no. 2442).
28. In Perugia -- Pelagic carbonates: Geotimes, v. 16, no. 4, p. 16-17, 1977.
29. Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene magnetic stratigraphy at Gubbio, Italy, III. Upper Cretaceous magnetic stratigraphy: Geological Society America Bulletin, v. 88, p. 374-377, 1977 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez, LDGO no. 2378).
30. Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene magnetic stratigraphy at Gubbio, Italy. V. Type section for the Late Cretaceous-Paleocene geomagnetic reversal time scale: Geological Society America Bulletin, v. 88, p. 383-389, 1977 (W. Alvarez, M.A. Arthur, A.G. Fischer, W. Lowrie, G. Napoleone, I. Premoli Silva, and W.M. Roggenthen, LDGO no. 2379).
30a. Paper 30, reprinted in Kennett, J.P., Magnetic stratigraphy of sediments (Benchmark Papers in Geology, v. 54): Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Stroudsburg, PA, p. 209-215, 1980.
31. History of the Earth's magnetic field recorded in the Italian Apennines: Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Yearbook 1975-1976, p. 46-49, 1977 (W. Alvarez).
32. A former continuation of the Alps -- reply to discussion by G. Chabrier and G. Mascle: Geological Society America Bulletin, v. 77, p. 1695-1696, 1977 (W. Alvarez).
33. Late Cretaceous geomagnetic polarity sequence: detailed rock and paleomagnetic studies of the Scaglia Rossa limestone at Gubbio, Italy: Geophysical Journal, v. 51, p. 561-581, 1977 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez, LDGO no. 2571).
34. Paleomagnetism and tectonics in Umbria, Italy: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 39, p. 199-210, 1978 (J.E.T. Channell, W. Lowrie, F. Medizza, and W. Alvarez).
35. Classification of solution cleavage in pelagic limestones: Geology, v. 6, p. 263-266, 1978 (W. Alvarez, T. Engelder, and P.A. Geiser, LDGO no. 2646).
36. Fold distortion: a new indicator of tectonic transport direction: Geology, v. 6, p. 657-660, 1978 (W. Alvarez).[Download PDF]
37. Upper Cretaceous palaeomagnetic stratigraphy at Moria (Umbrian Apennines, Italy): verification of the Gubbio section: Royal Astronomical Society Geophysical Journal, v. 55, p. 1-17, 1978 (W. Alvarez and W. Lowrie).
38. A comment on: "Biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy of Paleocene terrestrial deposits, San Juan Basin, New Mexico", by E.H. Lindsay, L.L. Jacobs, and R.F. Butler: Geology, v. 7, p. 66-67, 1979 (W. Alvarez and D.W. Vann).
39. Paleomagnetism and rock magnetism of the Pliocene rhyolite at San Vicenzo, Tuscany, Italy: Journal of Geophysics, v. 45, p. 417-432, 1979 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez).
40. Anomalous iridium levels at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary at Gubbio, Italy: Negative results of tests for a supernova origin, in, Christensen, W.K., and Birkelund, T. (eds.), Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary Events Symposium, University of Copenhagen, v. 2, p. 69, 1979 (W. Alvarez, L.W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H.V. Michel).
41. Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction: Experiment and theory: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Report, LBL-9666, 86 pp., 1979 (L.W. Alvarez, W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H.V. Michel).
42. Lower Cretaceous magnetic stratigraphy in Umbrian pelagic carbonate rocks: Royal Astronomical Society Geophysical Journal, v. 60, p. 263-281, 1980 (W. Lowrie, W. Alvarez, I. Premoli Silva, and S. Monechi).
43. Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction: Experimental results and theoretical interpretation: Science, v. 208, p. 1095-1108, 1980 (L.W. Alvarez, W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H.V. Michel).
44. A review of magnetic stratigraphy investigations in Cretaceous pelagic carbonate rocks: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 85, p. 3597-3605 (Norman Watkins Memorial), 1980 (W. Lowrie, J.E.T. Channell, and W. Alvarez).
45. Franciscan-complex limestone deposited at 17° south paleolatitude: Geological Society of America Bulletin, Part I, v. 91, p. 476-484, 1980 (W. Alvarez, D.V. Kent, I. Premoli Silva, R.A. Schweickert, and R.L. Larson).
46. Stratigraphic evidence for crustal thickness changes on the southern Tethyan margin during the Alpine cycle: Geological Society America Bulletin, Part I, v. 91, p. 681-689: Part II, v. 91, p. 2558-2587, 1980 (B. D'Argenio, and W. Alvarez).
47. Asteroidal extinction hypothesis: Science, v. 211, p. 648-656, 1981 (comments on paper no. 43 by D.V. Kent; G.C. Reid; R.E. Brown; reply by L.W. Alvarez, W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H.V. Michel).
48. Penrose Conference Report -- Role of pressure solution and dissolution in geology: Geology, v. 9, p. 44-45, 1981 (T. Engelder, P.A. Geiser, W. Alvarez).
49. One hundred million years of geomagnetic polarity history: Geology, v. 9, p. 392-397, 1981 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez).
50. Structure and permeability: geologic controls on induced seismicity at Nurek reservoir, Tadjikistan, USSR: Geology, v. 9, p. 440-444, 1981 (W. Leith, D.W. Simpson, W. Alvarez).
50a. Paper 50, reprinted in Spall, H., and Simpson, D.W. (eds.), The Soviet America exchange in earth-quake prediction: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 81-1150, p. 97-101, 1981.
51. Geochemical anomalies near the Eocene-Oligocene and Permian-Triassic boundaries, in, Papers presented to the Conference on large body impacts and terrestrial evolution: geological, climatological, and biological implications (October, 1981): Lunar and Planetary Institute, p. 2, 1981 (F. Asaro, L.W. Alvarez, W. Alvarez, and H.V. Michel).
52. Upper Cretaceous to Eocene pelagic limestones of the Scaglia Rossa are not Miocene turbidites: Nature, v. 294, p. 246-248, 1981 (W. Alvarez and W. Lowrie).
53. Distribution of iridium and other elements near the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in hole 465A: Preliminary results: Initial reports of the Deep Sea Driling Project, v. 62, p. 847-849, 1981 (H.V. Michel, F. Asaro, W. Alvarez, and L.W. Alvarez).
54. Results of a dating attempt: Chemical and physical measurements relevant to the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions, in, Currie, L.A. (ed.), Nuclear and chemical dating techniques -- Interpreting and environmental record: American Chemical Society Symposium series, v. 176, p. 401-409, 1982 (F. Asaro, H.V. Michel, L.W. Alvarez, and W. Alvarez).
55. Iridium anomaly approximately synchronous with terminal Eocene extinctions: Science, v. 216, p. 886-888, 1982 (W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, H.V. Michel, and L.W. Alvarez).
56. Paleogene magnetic stratigraphy in Umbrian pelagic carbonate rocks: The Contessa sections, Gubbio: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 93, p. 414-432, 1982 (W. Lowrie, W. Alvarez, G. Napoleone, K. Perch-Nielsen, I. Premoli Silva, and M. Toumarkine).
57. Geological evidence for the geographical pattern of mantle return flow and the driving mechanism of plate tectonics: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 87, p. 6697-6710, 1982 (W. Alvarez). [Download the PDF]
58. Mesoscopic fault array of the northern Umbrian Apennines fold belt, Italy: geometry of conjugate shear by pressure-solution slip: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 93, p. 1013-1022, 1982 (S. Marshak, P.A. Geiser, W. Alvarez, and T. Engelder).
59. Spaced cleavage of solution origin in the Scaglia Rossa, Italy: solution cleavage and estimates of shortening, Umbrian Apennines, in, Borradaile, G.J., Bayly, M.B., and Powell, C.McA. (eds.), Atlas of deformational and metamorphic rock fabrics: Berlin, Springer-Verlag, p. 176-179, 210-211, 1982 (W. Alvarez and T. Engelder).
60. Stylolitic solution cleavage from Silurian-Devonian limestones, Pennsylvania, in, Borradaile, G.J., Bayly, M.B., and Powell, C.McA. (eds.), Atlas of deformational and metamorphic rock fabrics: Berlin, Springer-Verlag, p. 206-207, 1982 (T. Engelder and W. Alvarez).
61. Iridium and other geochemical profiles near the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in a Brazos River section in Texas, in, Maddocks, R.F. (ed.), Texas Ostracoda (Guidebook of excursions and related papers for the Eighth International Symposium on Ostracoda, 1982): Houston, Department of Geosciences, University of Houston, p. 238-241, 1982 (F. Asaro, H.V. Michel, W. Alvarez, L.W. Alvarez, R.F. Maddocks, and T. Bunch).
62. Geochemical anomalies near the Eocene-Oligocene and Permian-Triassic boundaries: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 190, p. 517-528, 1982 (F. Asaro, L.W. Alvarez, W. Alvarez, and H.V. Michel).
63. Current status of the impact theory for the terminal Cretaceous extinction: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 190, p. 305-315, 1982 (W. Alvarez, L.W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, H.V. Michel).
64. Magnetic polarity stratigraphy (in U.S. National Report to the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics): Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics, v. 21, p. 620-626, 1983 (L.S. Chan and W. Alvarez).
65. Spheroids at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary are altered impact droplets of basaltic composition: Geology, v. 11, p. 668-671, 1983 (A. Montanari, R.L. Hay, W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, H.V. Michel, L.W. Alvarez, and J. Smit).
65a. Reply to comment by Bruce Bohor on paper 65: Geology, v. 12, p. 696, 1984 (A. Montanari, R.L. Hay, W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, H.V. Michel, L. Alvarez, and J. Smit).
66. Abundance profiles of iridium and other elements near the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in Hole 516F of Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 72: Initial reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, v. 72, p. 831-936, 1983 (H.V. Michel, F. Asaro, W. Alvarez, L.W. Alvarez, and D.A. Johnson)
67. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record: Science, v. 223, p. 1135-1141, 1984 (W. Alvarez, E.G. Kauffman, F. Surlyk, L.W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H.V. Michel).
68. The end of the Cretaceous: sharp boundary of gradual transition?: Science, v. 223, p. 1183-1186, 1984 (W. Alvarez, L.W. Alvarez, F. Asaro, and H.V. Michel).
69. Magnetic stratigraphy applied to synsedimentary slumps, turbidites, and basin analysis: the Scaglia Limestone at Furlo (Italy): Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 95, p. 324-336, 1984 (W. Alvarez and W. Lowrie).
70. Evidence from crater ages for periodic impacts on the Earth: Nature, v. 308, p. 718-720, 1984 (W. Alvarez and R.A. Muller). 70a. Reply to comments on paper 70: Nature, v. 312, p. 380, 1984 (R.A. Muller, P. Hut, M. Davis, W. Alvarez).
71. The precursor of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clays at Stevns Klint, Denmark, and DSDP Hole 465A: Science, v. 226, p. 137-143, 1984 (M. Kastner, F. Asaro, H.V. Michel, W. Alvarez, and L.W. Alvarez).
72. Lower Cretaceous magnetic stratigraphy in Umbrian pelagic limestone sections: Earth Planetary Science Letters, v. 71, p. 315-328, 1984 (W. Lowrie and W. Alvarez).
73. The possible influences of sudden events on biological radiations and extinctions, in, Holland, H.D., and Trendall, A.F. (eds.), Patterns of change in earth evolution: Dahlem Workshop Reports -- Physical, Chemical, and Earth Sciences Research Report, v. 5, 432 p., p. 77-102, 1984 (K. Padian, Rapporteur, W. Alvarez, T. Birkelund, D.K. Fütterer, K.J. Hsü, J.H. Lipps, D.J. McLaren, D.M. Raup, E.M. Shoemaker, J. Smit, O.B. Toon, and A. Wetzel).
74. Structure of the Vakhsh fold-and-thrust belt, Tadjik S.S.R.: geologic mapping on a Landsat image base: Geological Society of American Bulletin, v. 96, p. 875-900, 1985 (W. Leith and W. Alvarez).
74a. Reply to comment by E.A. Silver and N. Breen on paper 74: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 97, p. 906-909, 1986 (W. Leith and W. Alvarez).
75. Radiometric time scale for the upper Eocene and Oligocene based on K/Ar and Rb/Sr dating of volcanic biotites from the pelagic sequence of Gubbio, Italy: Geology, v. 13, p. 596-599, 1985 (A. Montanari, R. Drake, D.M. Bice, W. Alvarez, G.H. Curtis, B.D. Turrin, and D.J. DePaolo).
76. Magnetic stratigraphy of the Scaglia Rossa: implications for syndepositional tectonics of the Umbria-Marche Basin: Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, v. 91, p. 219-258, 1985 (L.S. Chan, A. Montanari, and W. Alvarez).
77. Paleolatitudes of Franciscan limestones: Geology, v. 13, p. 741, 1985 (J.A. Tarduno and W. Alvarez).
78. Synsedimentary slides and bedding formation in Apennine pelagic limestones: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 55, p. 720-734, 1985 (W. Alvarez, R. Colacicchi, and A. Montanari).
79. Elemental profile of iridium and other elements near the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in Hole 577B: Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, v. 86, p. 533-538, 1985 (H.V. Michel, F. Asaro, W. Alvarez, and L.W. Alvarez).
80. Radiometric dating of the Eocene-Oligocene boundary at Gubbio, Italy, in, Ch. Pomerol and I. Premoli Silva (eds.), "Terminal Eocene Events", Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 41-47, 1986 (A. Montanari, R. Drake, D.M. Bice, W. Alvarez, G.H. Curtis, B.D. Turrin, and D.J. DePaolo).
81. Toward a theory of impact crises: EOS, v. 67, no. 35 (2 September), p. 649-658, 1986 (W. Alvarez).
82. Acceptance of the G.K. Gilbert Award, from the Planetary Geology Division, Geological Society of America: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 97, p. 1407-1408, 1986 (W. Alvarez).
83. Comet showers as a cause of mass extinctions: Nature, v. 329, p. 118-126, 1987 (P. Hut, W. Alvarez, W.P. Elder, T. Hansen, E.G. Kauffman, G. Keller, and E.M. Shoemaker).
84. The Scaglia limestones (Late Cretaceous-Oligocene) in the northeastern Apennines carbonate sequence: stratigraphic context and geological significance, in, I. Premoli Silva, R. Coccioni and A. Montanari (eds.), "The Eocene-Oligocene boundary in the Marche-Umbria Basin (Italy)", International Union of Geological Sciences, Ancona, p. 13-30, 1988 (W. Alvarez and A. Montanari).
85. Small Late Eocene iridium anomalies in the Contessa Highway III section, in, I. Premoli Silva, R. Coccioni and A. Montanari (eds.), "The Eocene-Oligocene boundary in the Marche-Umbria Basin (Italy)", International Union of Geological Sciences, Ancona, p. 187-188, 1988 (F. Asaro, W. Alvarez, A. Montanari, H. V. Michel, and L.W. Alvarez).
86. Radioisotopic dating of the Eocene-Oligocene boundary in the pelagic sequence of the Northern Apennines, in, I. Premoli Silva, R. Coccioni and A. Montanari (eds.), "The Eocene-Oligocene boundary in the Marche-Umbria Basin (Italy)", International Union of Geological Sciences, Ancona, p. 195-208, 1988 (A. Montanari, A. L. Deino, R.E. Drake, B.D. Turrin, D.J. DePaolo, G.S. Odin, G.H. Curtis, W. Alvarez, and D.M. Bice).
87. Luis W. Alvarez, 1911-1988, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Berkeley, in University of California, In Memoriam, p. 1-5, 1988 (R.D. Watt, W.P. Trower, M.L. Stevenson, R.A. Muller, and W. Alvarez).
88. Synsedimentary tectonics in Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary pelagic basin of the Northern Apennines: SEPM Special Publication, v. 44, p. 379-399, 1989 (A. Montanari, L. S. Chan, and W. Alvarez).
89. Evolution of the Monte Nerone seamount in the Umbria-Marche Apennines: 1. Jurassic-Tertiary stratigraphy: Societá Geologica Italiana, Bollettino, v. 108, p. 3-21, 1989 (W. Alvarez).
90. Evolution of the Monte Nerone seamount in the Umbria-Marche Apennines: 2. Tectonic control of the seamount-basin transition: Societá Geologica Italiana, Bollettino, v. 108, p. 23-29, 1989 (W. Alvarez).
91. Uniformitarianism and the response of Earth scientists to the theory of impact crises, in S.V.M. Clube (ed.), "Catastrophes and evolution: astronomical foundations", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 13-24, 1989 (W. Alvarez, T. Hansen, P. Hut, E. G. Kauffman and E. M. Shoemaker).
92. Pattern of extensional faulting in pelagic carbonates of the Umbria-Marche Apennines of central Italy: Geology, v. 18, p. 407-410, 1990 (W. Alvarez).
93. Jurassic-Early Cretaceous stratigraphy and tectonics of Monte Nerone (Umbria-Marche Apennines), in G. Pallini, F. Cecca, S. Cresta and M. Santantonio (eds.), "Atti del Secondo Convegno Internazionale &emdash Fossili, Evoluzione, Ambiente", Comitato Centenario Raffaele Piccinini, Pergola, p. 13-17, 1990 (W. Alvarez).
94. The origin of the white beds below the Cretaceous -Tertiary boundary in the Gubbio section, Italy: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 98, p. 303-312, 1990 (W. Lowrie, W. Alvarez and F. Asaro).
95. No relative rotation detected between Corsica and Sardinia: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 98, p. 313-318, 1990 (L. Vigliotti, W. Alvarez and M. McWilliams).
96. Geochemical studies of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in ODP Holes 689B and 690C, in P. F. Barker and J. P. Kennett (eds.), "Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results", v. 113, p.159-168, 1990 (H. V. Michel, F. Asaro, W. Alvarez and L. W. Alvarez).
97. What caused the mass extinction? An extraterrestrial impact: Scientific American, v. 263, p. 78-84, 1990 (W. Alvarez and F. Asaro).
98. Geologic evidence for the plate-driving mechanism: The continental undertow hypothesis and the Australian-Antarctic Discordance: Tectonics, v. 9, p. 1213-1220, 1990 (W. Alvarez). [Download PDF]
99. Iridium profile for 10 million years across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at Gubbio (Italy): Science, v. 250, p. 1700-1702, 1990 (W. Alvarez, F. Asaro and A. Montanari).
100. Interdisciplinary aspects of research on impacts and mass extinctions; a personal view: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 247, p. 93-97, 1990 (W. Alvarez).
101. Mobile-hinge kinking in layered rocks and models: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 13, 243-259, 1991 (K. G. Stewart and W. Alvarez).
102. The gentle art of scientific trespassing: GSA Today, v. 1, p. 29-34, 1991 (W. Alvarez).
103. Tectonic evolution of the Corsica-Apennines-Alps region studied by the method of succesive approximations: Tectonics, v. 10, p. 936-947, October 1991 (W. Alvarez).
104. The search for the KT crater: Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future, p. 88-101, 1992 (W. Alvarez).
105. The extinction of the dinosaurs, in Bourriau, J., ed., Catastrophes: Cambridge University Press, p. 28-56, 1992 (W. Alvarez and F. Asaro).
106. Tektite-bearing, deep-water clastic unit at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico: Geology, v. 20, p. 99-103, 1992 (J. Smit, A. Montanari, N. Swinburne, W. Alvarez, A. Hildebrand, S. Margolis, P. Claeys, W. Lowrie, F. Asaro).
107. Proximal impact deposits at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Gulf of Mexico: A reinterpretation of DSDP Leg 77 sites 536 and 540: Geology, v. 20, p. 697-700 , 1992 (W. Alvarez, J. Smith, W. Lowrie, F. Asaro, S. Margolis, M. Kastner, A. Hildebrand).
108. Coeval 40Ar/39Ar ages of 65.0 million years from Chicxulub Crater melt rock and Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary tektites: Science, v. 257, p. 954-958, 1992 (C. C. Swisher III, J. M. Grajales-Nishimura, A. Montanari, S. V. Margolis, P. Claeys, W. Alvarez, P. Renne, E. Cedillo-Pardo, F. J.-M. R. Maurrasse, G. H. Curtis, J. Smit and M. O. McWilliams).
109. "Tektites" and microkrystites at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundry: Two strewnfields, one crater?: Proceedings of Lunar and Planetary Science, v. 22, p. 87-100, 1992 (J. Smit, W. Alvarez, A. Montanari, N. Swinburne, T.M. Van Kempen, G.T. Klaver and W.J. Lustenhouwer).
110. Stanley V. Margolis (1943-1992): EOS, v. 74, p. 612-613, 1993 (W. Alvarez, J.P. Kennett, P. Kroopnick and J.F. Mount).
111. Tektite-bearing, deep-water clastic unit at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico: Reply: Geology, v. 21, p. 191-192, 1993 (W. Lowrie, W. Alvarez, A. Montanari and J. Smit).
112. Tsunami-generated beds at the KT boundary in northeastern Mexico, in G. Keller, W. Stinnesbeck, T. Adatte, N. MacLeod and D. R. Lowe, eds., "Field guide to Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sections in northeastern Mexico", Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, p. 95-101, 1994 (J. Smit, A. Montanari and W. Alvarez).
113. Deposition of channel deposits near the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico: Catastrophic or "normal" sedimentary deposits?: Comment; and Is there evidence for Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary-age deep-water deposits in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico?: Comment: Geology, v. 22, p. 953-954, 1994 (J. Smit, T. B. Roep, W. Alvarez, P. Claeys and A. Montanari).
114. Chicxulub y la teoria del impacto como causa de las extinciones en masa en el Cretácico-Terciario: Revista de la Sociedad Mexicana de Paleontología, v. 7, n. 1, p. 1-13, 1994 (W. Alvarez).
115. Emplacement of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary shocked quartz from Chicxulub Crater: Science, v. 269, p. 930-935, 1995 (W. Alvarez, Ph. Claeys, S. W. Kieffer).
116. Quaternary fluvial-volcanic stratigraphy and geochronology of the Capitoline Hill in Rome: Geology, v. 24, p. 751-754, 1996 (W. Alvarez, A.J. Ammerman, P.R. Renne, D.B. Karner, N. Terrenato, A. Montanari). [Download PDF]
117. Trajectories of ballistic ejecta from the Chicxulub Crater, in G. Ryder, D. Fastovsky, and S. Gartner, eds., The Cretaceous-Tertiary event and other catastrophes in Earth history: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 307, p. 141-150, 1996 (W. Alvarez).
118. Coarse-grained, clastic sandstone complex at the K/T boundary around the Gulf of Mexico: Deposition by tsunami waves induced by the Chicxulub impact, in G. Ryder, D. Fastovsky, and S. Gartner, eds., The Cretaceous-Tertiary event and other catastrophes in Earth history: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 307, p. 151-182, 1996 (J. Smit, T. B. Roep, W. Alvarez, A. Montanari, P. Claeys, J. M. Grajales Nishimura and J. Bermudez).
119. Tectonic setting of the Miocene Northern Apennines: the problem of contemporaneous compression and extension, in Montanari, A., Odin, G.S., and Coccioni, R., eds., Miocene stratigraphy: an integrated approach: Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 167-185, 1997 (G. Pialli and W. Alvarez).
120. Introducción, in A. L. Carreño and M. Montellano-Ballesteros, eds., Extinción masiva del límite Cretácico-Terciario: mitos y realidades (Monografía No. 4): Unión Geofísica Mexicana, Mexico City, p. v-ix, 1997 (W. Alvarez and J. Smit).
121. L'impact de Chicxulub et la limite Crétacé-Tertiaire dans la région du golfe du Mexique: Société Géologique de France Bulletin, v. 169, p. 3-9, 1998 (P. Claeys, J. Smit, A. Montanari and W. Alvarez).
122. Synsedimentary deformation in the Jurassic of southeastern Utah - a case of impact shaking?: Geology, v. 26, p. 579-582, 1998 (W. Alvarez, E. Staley, D. O'Connor and M. A. Chan).
123. Introducci�n, in A. L. Carre�o and M. Montellano-Ballesteros, eds., "Extinci�n masiva del l�mite Cret�cico-Terciario: mitos y realidades (Monograf�a No. 4)", Un�on Geof�sica Mexicana, Mexico City, p. v-ix, 1997 (W. Alvarez and J. Smit).
124. L'impact de Chicxulub et la limite Cr�tac�-Tertiaire dans la r�gion du golfe du Mexique: Soci�t� G�ologique de France Bulletin, v. 169, p. 3-9, 1998 (P. Claeys, J. Smit, A. Montanari and W. Alvarez).
125. Synsedimentary deformation in the Jurassic of southeastern Utah � a case of impact shaking?: Geology, v. 26, p. 579-582, 1998 (W. Alvarez, E. Staley, D. O'Connor and M. A. Chan). [Download PDF]
125a. Synsedimentary deformation in the Jurassic of southeastern Utah; a case of impact shaking? (Reply to discussion by Bridges, L. W. D.): Geology, v. 27, p. 661-662, 1999 (W. Alvarez, E. Staley, D. O'Connor and M. A. Chan).
126. Drainage on evolving fold-thrust belts: a study of transverse canyons in the Apennines: Basin Research, v. 11, p. 267-284, 1999 (W. Alvarez). [Download PDF]
127. Chicxulub impact ejecta from Albion Island, Belize: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 170, p. 351-364, 1999 (K. O. Pope, A. C. Ocampo, A. G. Fischer, W. Alvarez, B. W. Fouke, C. L. Webster, F. J. Vega, J. Smit, A. E. Fritsche and P. Claeys). [Download PDF]
128. Chicxulub impact: the origin of reservoir and seal facies in the southeastern Mexico oil fields: Geology, v. 28, p. 307-310, 2000 (J. M. Grajales-Nishimura, E. Cedillo-Pardo, C. Rosales-Dominguez, D. J. Mor�n-Zenteno, W. Alvarez, P. Claeys, J. Ru�z-Morales, J. Garc�a-Hern�ndez, P. Padilla-Avila and A. S�nchez-R�os). [Download PDF]
129. Foreward, in B. Peucker-Ehrenbrink and B. Schmitz, eds., "Accretion of extraterrestrial matter throughout Earth's history", Kluwer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, xi-xii, 2001 (W. Alvarez).
130. Eastbound sublithosphere mantle flow through the Caribbean gap and its relevance to the continental undertow hypothesis: Terra Nova, v. 13, p. 333-337, 2001 (W. Alvarez). [Download the PDF]
131. Cathodoluminescence petrography and isotope geochemistry of KT impact ejecta deposited 360 km from the Chicxulub crater at Albion Island, Belize: Sedimentology, v. 49, p. 117-138, 2002 (B. W. Fouke, A. L. Zerkle, W. Alvarez, K. O. Pope, A. C. Ocampo, R. J. Wachtman, J. M. Grajales Nishimura, P. Claeys and A. G. Fischer).
[ download the PDF ]
132. Distribution of Chicxululb ejecta at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 55, p. 55-68, 2002 (P. Claeys, W. Kiessling and W. Alvarez).
133. Permian-Triasic boundary in the southwestern United States: Hiatus or continuity?: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 356, p. 385-393, 2002 (W. Alvarez and D. O'Connor).
134. The mesoscopic response to positive tectonic inversion processes: An example from the Umbria-Marche Apennines, Italy: Società Geologica Italiana Bollettino, v. speciale n. 1, p. 715-727, 2002 (E. Tavarnelli and W. Alvarez).
135. Comparing the evidence relevant to impact and flood basalt at times of major mass extinctions: Astrobiology, v. 3, p. 153-161, 2003 (W. Alvarez). [ Download PDF ]
136. Implications of fault reactivation and structural inheritance in the Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Italy, in U. Crescenti, S. D'Offizi, S. Merlini and R. Sacchi, eds., "Geology of Italy (Special Volume of the Società Geologica Italiana for the IGC 32, Florence 2004)", Società Geologica Italiana, Rome, p. 209-222, 2004 (E. Tavarnelli, R. W. H. Butler, F. A. Decandia, F. Calamita, M. Grasso, W. Alvarez and P. Renda).
137. Early Triassic Ophiuroids: their paleoecology, taphonomy, and distribution: Palaios, v. 20, p. 213-223, 2005 (R. J. Twitchett, J. M. Feinberg, D. D. O'Connor, W. Alvarez and L. B. McCollum).
138. Structure of the Monte Reventino greenschist folds: a contribution to untangling the tectonic-transport history of Calabria, a key element in Italian tectonics: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 27, p. 1355-1378, 2005 (W. Alvarez).
139. Verso una sintesi della storia dell'uomo e della terra — Toward a synthesis of human history and geologic history: Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Universitá degli Studi di Siena, Siena, 82 p., 2005 (W. Alvarez).
140. Chicxulub impact event is Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary in age: new micropaleontological evience: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 249, p. 241-257, 2006 (I. Arenillas, J.A. Arz, J.M. Grajales-Nishimura, G. Murillo-Muñetón, W. Álvarez, A. Camargo-Zanoguera, E. Molina, C. Rosales-Domínguez).
141. The character of Earth history: International Journal of Ecodynamics, v. 1, p. 380-388, 2006 (W. Alvarez and E. Tavarnelli).
142. Clastic-injection pipes and syndepositional deformation structures in Jurassic eolian deposits: Examples from the Colorado Plateau, in A. Hurst and J. Cartwright, eds., Sand injectites: Implications for hydrocarbon exploration and production (American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 87), v. 87, p. 233-244, 2007 (M.A. Chan, D. Netoff, R. Blakey, G. Kocurek and W. Alvarez).
143. Memoriam, David L. Jones, Professor of Geology, Emeritus, Berkeley 1930-2007: University of California Academic Senate, Online Biographies (http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/inmemoriam/p2.html#secj), 2008, (W. Alvarez and M.A. Richards).
144. BOOK: The Mountains of Saint Francis: Discovering the geological events that shaped our Earth: W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 304 p., 2009 (W. Alvarez).
145. The historical record in the Scaglia limestone at Gubbio: magnetic reversals and the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, in Bernoulli, D., Cita, M.B., and McKenzie, J., eds., Major discoveries in sedimentary geology, Sedimentology, v. 56, p. 137-148, 2009 (W. Alvarez).
146. Time-scale construction and periodizing in Big History: from the Eocene-Oligocene boundary to all of the past: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 452, p. 1-15, 2009 (W. Alvarez, P. Claeys, A. Montanari).
147. Thegeological relationships between Sardinia and Calabria during Alpine andHercynian times: Società Geologica Italiana Bollettino — Italian Journal ofGeosciences, v. 128, no. 2, p. 257-268 (W. Alvarez, and D.H. Shimabukuro).
Some close colleagues with websites
Frank Asaro, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Birger Schmitz, University of Lund (Sweden)
Philippe Claeys, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Christian Koeberl, University of Vienna
Henrique Leitão, History of Science, University of Lisbon
Richard Muller, U.C Berkeley Physics
David H. Shimabukuro
University of California, Berkeley
Jan Smit, Free University of Amsterdam
EPS C51 = LS C70X
BIG HISTORY: COSMOS, EARTH, LIFE, HUMANITY
Usually when we think of "history," we have in mind the story of humanity — what has happened to people over the last few thousand years — the history that is written down in books and documents.
But there is another, much broader view — that "history" is everything that has ever happened — not just to human beings, but to all living organisms, and to the Earth, and to the entire cosmos.
Here at Berkeley, many different departments are involved in reconstructing the past. The Astronomy and Physics Departments are figuring out Cosmic history. The Department of Earth and Planetary Science studies the history of the Earth and the Planets. IB and MCB focus on the history of Life. And the history of Humanity is spread across many different departments in Humanities and Social Sciences. Any yet, up to now, no one has tried to tie all these kinds of history together.
EPS 51, Big History, is a class that takes this very broad viewpoint, and investigates all of history.
Why you might want to take EPS 51:
• Whatever kind of history you find interesting — from the solar system, to rocks and fossils, to classical civilizations or 20th century politics — EPS 51 will give you a very broad perspective, helping you to see the deep significance and relevance of your own particular interests. Or it may introduce you to fascinating topics that you have not yet even thought about majoring in.
• In EPS 51, we will study some of the most exciting things that have happened in the past — the Big Bang that started our universe, the formation of the Earth, and ice ages, volcanoes, giant impacts, strange animals from the past, and the great revolutions through which humanity has achieved its present dominance.
The Instructor: Walter Alvarez is the geologist on the Berkeley research team that discovered the first evidence that impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, and was involved later in the proof that the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico was the site of that impact.
EPS 51 meets in Spring semester, Tuesday and Thursday, 2:10-3:30, in Room 265, McCone Hall. There is also a 2-hour discussion section.
Roy Kligfield (Columbia University) Thesis, 1978: "Continental margin deformation in the Northern Apennines (Italy): A structural study in the Alpi Apuane region." Present position: Adjoint Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder.
Lung S. Chan Thesis, 1984: "Paleomagnetism and tectonic studies of the Scaglia rossa pelagic limestones (Upper Cretaceous-Eocene) from the Umbria-Marches Apennines, Italy." Present position: Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong.
Alessandro Montanari Thesis, 1986: "Event stratigraphy of Cretaceous and Tertiary pelagic limestones from the Northern Apennines, Italy." Present position: Director, Geological Observatory of Coldigioco, Frontale di Apiro (MC), Italy. http://www.acad.carleton.edu/curricular/GEOL/coldigioco/
Kevin G. Stewart Thesis, 1987: "A study of compressional and extensional structures in the Northern Apennine fold-and-thrust belt." Present position: Associate Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
David M. Bice Thesis, 1988: "Studies in carbonate sedimentation and the tectonic evolution of the Northern Apennines." Present position: Professor of Geosciences, Penn State University.
Mark H. Anders Thesis, 1989: "Studies of the stratigraphic and structural record of large volcanic and impact events." Present position: Associate Professor, Columbia University/Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory
Philippe Claeys Thesis (jointly UC Berkeley and UC Davis), 1993): "Geochemical and sedimentological record ofimpact events in earth history : Examples from the late Pliocene,Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and Frasnian-Famennian boundary."Present position: Professor, Free University of Brussels,Belgium.
Daniel B. Karner Thesis, 1997: "40Ar/39Ar age calibration of the 100,000 year Middle Pleistocene climate cycle." Present position: Associate Professor of Geology, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Diane D. O'Connor Thesis, 2004: "The Permian-Triassic boundary in the Great Basin, Western U.S.A." Present position: ExxonMobil, Houston
Michael D. Carr
Giusy Lavecchia (http://www.unich.it/geosis/aboutus/page-lavecchia.htm)
Bruce Fouke (http://www.geology.uiuc.edu/~bfouke/)
FORMER FACULTY MEMBERS IN GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS AT UC BERKELEY
These descriptions of our former Professors come from the Memorials of the University of California.
Andew Cowper Lawson (1861-1952)
Andrew Cowper Lawson was born in Anstruther, Scotland, July 25, 1861. In his sixth year his parents moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where he received his early education. He was granted the B.A. degree in 1883 by the University of Toronto as gold medalist in Natural Science, and joined the staff of the Canadian Geological Survey. Five seasons of field work on Archaean rocks led to new interpretations which were considered rank heresy in Canada. They were, however, well received at the International Geological Congress, London, 1888, and later generally accepted. In later years he returned several times to work in Canada, and his contributions to the earth's primitive history were among the most important in his career. In the meantime, he had continued graduate work and received the M.A. degree, Toronto, in 1885, and the Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, in 1888.
Early in 1890 he resigned from the Canadian Survey and went to Vancouver as a consulting geologist. In October, 1890, he accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Mineralogy and Geology at the University of California and remained with that institution the rest of his life, becoming Associate Professor in 1892, Professor in 1899, and Professor Emeritus in 1928.
Concerning Lawson's appointment, Professor Le Conte explained that he had brought this able young man to the University to develop the scientific side of geology, while he would devote himself to the philosophical aspects. Lawson lived up to the expectation. He organized courses in mineralogy and petrography and developed a systematic field course in geology, the first in the West and possibly in America. He found the unsolved problems of his new surroundings stimulating, and spent all the time available, either alone or with students, in the study of Coast Range geology. He was so wrapped up in his work that the first Mrs. Lawson, when asked what his religion was, said, "He is a geologist."
He established the first scientific publication series at Berkeley, The Bulletin of the Department of Geology, the first number of which appeared in May, 1893. Within the first three decades, besides his Coast Range studies he made contributions based on observations in the Sierra Nevada, the Tehachapi Mountains, the western desert region, and on ore deposits in Nevada and Montana. In 1906, as Chairman of the State Earthquake Investigation Commission, he organized an extensive field program, to which many geologists contributed their services, and prepared the most complete and informative report ever published on a great earthquake. In the early 1920's he became interested in isostasy and its geological consequences, and almost all of his publications from then on were devoted to this subject, eighteen appearing in the following three decades, the last in 1950. From 1900 on, he also served as consultant in economic and in engineering geology.
Professor Lawson took an active interest in faculty affairs, served on various committees, especially the Editorial Committee and the Library Committee, of each of which he was chairman for a number of years. On Dean Christy's death he accepted temporarily the deanship of the College of Mining (December, 1914), which he held for three and a half years, during which he developed a new and more flexible curriculum for the College. In 1919 he took active part in a movement that resulted in a reform of the organization of the University faculty and its relation to the Administration.
He was one of the founders of the Faculty Club and for many years was a regular and active attendant of the Kosmos Club and the Berkeley Club, both discussion groups of wide range.
His hobby was collecting paintings, and he enjoyed building construction; for example, he personally constructed an art gallery annex to his home. He also wrote a number of short poems, some appreciative of the beauties of Nature, others on various themes which gave evidence of kindly, sentimental, and philosophical traits only rarely shown otherwise to his acquaintances.
Lawson was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (President, 1926); a member of the Society of Economic Geologists, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Seismological Society of America (President, 1909), National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society; and an honorary member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He was Chairman of the Division of Geology and Geography, National Research Council, 1923-1924. He was Faculty Research Lecturer, 1926-1927. He was granted the honorary degrees of D.Sc., University of Toronto, 1923; LL.D., University of California, 1935; and the D.Sc., Harvard University, 1936. He was awarded the Hayden Medal of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, 1936, and the Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America, 1938.
In 1889 Lawson married Ludovika von Jansch of Br�nn, Moravia. She died in 1929 after a long illness. In 1931 he married Isabel R. Collins of Ottawa. He had four sons by his first wife and one by his second. He died June 16, 1952, and is survived by his widow and three sons.
Andrew Cowper Lawson lived a long and active life, during which he contributed abundantly to geology and to the training of geologists. His was a remarkable personality of many facets--stimulating, provocative, friendly, crusty, kindly, irascible--whose positive influence was felt by all with whom he came in contact.
Memorial written by G. D. Louderback, N. L. Taliaferro, and H. Williams
George Davis Louderback (1874-1957)
George Davis Louderback was born on April 6, 1874, in San Francisco, the son of Davis and Frances Caroline (Smith) Louderback. He graduated from Boy's High School (now Lowell) in San Francisco in 1892 and then entered the University of California, from which he received the degree of A.B. in 1896 and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1899. Dr. Louderback married Clara Augusta Henry on October 3, 1899. His classmate in the University, she was a devoted wife and inspiring companion throughout his life. Louderback's first teaching position was as Assistant in Minerology in the University of California from 1897 to 1900. He then taught at the University of Nevada from 1900 to 1906 and also was Research Assistant of the Carnegie Institution, 1903-1905. In 1906 Louderback returned to the Berkeley campus as Assistant Professor of Geology. He became Associate Professor in 1907 and Professor in 1917. From 1920 to 1922 and again from 1930 to 1939 Professor Louderback was Dean of the College of Letters and Science.
While at the University of Nevada, Professor Louderback began studies of the structure of the Great Basin, particularly of the Basin ranges. He also investigated the gypsum deposits of Nevada and the Mesozoic formations of southern Oregon. Shortly after his return to Berkeley he identified, described, and named the gem Benitoite and discussed its mode of occurrence; he also named and described the associated new mineral Joaquinite. This contribution is considered one of the finest descriptions of a new mineral ever published. He also wrote a paper on the relation of radioactivity to vulcanism, and undertook a study of the glaucophane and associated schists of the Coast Ranges. He also cooperated in the study of the effects of the earthquake of 1906. Subsequently he began an intensive stratigraphic and structural study of Mount Diablo which continued through several years. In 1913 he published an important memoir on the Monterey Series in California. During this period of research he began a study of sedimentation in San Francisco Bay which engaged his attention intermittently throughout his life.
From 1914-1916 Louderback headed an expedition into the interior of China to investigate the possibilities of the occurrence of petroleum in that region, initially for private interests but subsequently under a commission from the Chinese government, and in 1916 he traveled in the Philippine Islands.
During World War I Louderback was Chairman of the Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the State Council of Defense and was in charge of cooperation with the United States Geological Survey, the United States Bureau of Mines, and the State Council of Defense in investigations of the occurrence of California minerals yielding metals. From 1920 to 1924 he served on the Committee on Sedimentation of the Division of Geology and Geography of the National Research Council. He also resumed his studies on the structure of the Basin Ranges in Nevada and published three notable papers. In later years he was concerned with practical problems of construction, such as the foundations of large dams. Professor Louderback's research was recognized by his election as Faculty Research Lecturer, 1940. His influence still is felt through the students he trained.
Professor Louderback was a participant in the movement after World War I which resulted in the creation of the Academic Senate and devoted his administrative ability and critical judgment on behalf of progressive University government. He served as Chairman of the Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations and also as Chairman of the Committee on Committees. Upon the creation of Northern and Southern Sections of the Senate, Professor Louderback served as Chairman of the Special Committee on Reorganization of Academic Government. When Santa Barbara College was acquired by The Regents, Professor Louderback served on the Advisory Administrative Board for the College. He was Vice-Chairman of the Northern Section of the Academic Senate in 1933-1934 and from December, 1942, to June, 1945. Professor Louderback was truly the Nestor of the Academic Senate. After his retirement in 1944, the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon him in 1946 by the University.
Professor Louderback was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and also of the Geological Society of America, in the Cordilleran Section of which he held office. He was a member of the Seismological Society of America, of which he was first Secretary and later President in 1914 and 1929-1935; of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers; of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists; of the Society of Economic Geologists; of the California Academy of Sciences; of the Washington Academy of Sciences; of the Mineralogical Society of America; of the American Geophysical Union; of the American Geographical Society; of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. He was a delegate to the Pacific Science Congress, Java, 1929, and from 1935 was editor of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Professor Louderback was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity; of Theta Tau geological and mining professional fraternity; of Phi Beta Kappa; of Sigma Xi; of Tau Beta Pi; of Phi Lambda Upsilon. He belonged to the Faculty Club and was President thereof from 1939 to 1946; to the Kosmos Club; to the Berkeley City Commons Club; to the Athenian-Nile Club of Oakland; to the LeConte Geological Club; and to the Commonwealth, Engineers, Sierra, and Bohemian clubs of San Francisco.
Professor Louderback died in Berkeley on January 27, 1957, and is survived by his wife. During his long career he saw the University of California grow from an isolated small college into a statewide University, and through his wisdom and devotion contributed in large measure to that development. He was one of the founders of the scientific tradition of the University of California and the most influential statesman in academic government of his era.
Memorial written by N. Taliaferro, T. Buck, and V. F. Lenzen
Nicholas Lloyd Taliaferro (1890-1961)
When Nicholas Lloyd Taliaferro was killed suddenly in an automobile accident near Lafayette on November 16, 1961, a colorful personality was lost, a prince among geological surveyors, one who knew more about the geological history of California and mapped more of its surface than any in his profession ever did or are likely to do. He was born on October 6, 1890, in Augusta, Kentucky, and hence was generally and affectionately called "Tucky," though a few bewildered freshmen incurred his fleeting wrath when they first met him by pronouncing his name as it is spelled. His family on both sides came to this country more than 250 years ago, and among them he counted some of English, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, French, and Italian origin.
Tucky received his B.S. degree on the Berkeley campus in 1913, and during the following year, after a brief spell as engineer at the Yellow Aster Mine in Randsburg, he served as a Teaching Assistant. From 1914 to 1916, he traveled widely in China and the Philippines, doing geological exploration for the Standard Oil Company under the direction of the late Professor Louderback. In 1917, as Junior Engineer in the U.S. Bureau of Mines, he was engaged in war-minerals investigations. Then, between 1918 and 1920, he was one of two instructors who, along with Professors Lawson, Louderback, and Eakle, and a Teaching Fellow, constituted the entire Department of Geology at Berkeley. He was awarded the Ph.D. degree in 1920, his thesis dealing with the manganese deposits of the Sierra Nevada.
Tucky had already begun a lifelong and successful career as a consulting geologist, specializing in oil exploration, while still an Instructor. After receiving his doctorate, he left the campus for six years to devote full time to this work, chiefly in the western states, but also in Mexico and Alaska. During part of this period, he was Chief Geologist for the Ventura Consolidated Oil Fields and subsidiary companies.
Oil geologists were in great demand in those days and the ones immediately thereafter; accordingly, Professors Lawson and Louderback invited Tucky to return to Berkeley to take charge of instruction in field mapping and in structural and non-metalliferous economic geology. He was appointed Associate Professor in 1926 and served in that capacity for a decade. From 1936 until he retired in 1958, he was Professor of Geology, and between 1937 and 1945 he also served as Chairman of the Department.
Tucky was first and foremost a field geologist and few, if any, equalled or excelled him in this role. His devotion to mapping was passionate; no sooner had he finished one quadrangle than he had immediately to start on the next. Mapping became for him as much an end in itself as a means to an end. He loved the geologic hunt; he cared much less for skinning, cooking, and serving the quarry. He mapped no less than twenty-six quadrangles in the State, covering more than 6,000 square miles, and in doing so he walked across the California hills for well over 50,000 miles! Interpretations inevitably become modified, but the lines he drew on his maps and the structure-sections he made from them will long continue to be valuable guides for future work.
Tucky's important contributions to our understanding of the geological history of California were greatly augmented by the rigorous field training he gave to more than a thousand students, many of whom have since risen to high positions in oil and mining companies and in State and Federal surveys. For thirty-three years he ran the Geology Summer Camp, a record unlikely ever to be equalled, and much of the fine standing now enjoyed by the department is attributable to the splendid training he gave in field geology. It was there, in the field, that he was at his best; he worked the students hard and long, yet only the slackers fail to recall him with feelings of respect and affection. He was gruff at times, and his vocabulary could be salty, but always those who liked him best were those who got to know him best.
Tucky was not a voluminous writer, and most of his important papers were published between 1933 and 1944, but when he took pencil in hand he wrote easily and clearly, filling unfilled bluebooks by the dozen! Invariably, however, another unmapped quadrangle beckoned, so that many sheets he mapped were left without an explanatory statement. His principal published contributions deal with the geology of the Coast Ranges of California, for while he did an immense amount of work in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, little of what he discovered there reached the printed page. Among his publications, these are perhaps the chief: The Relation of Volcanism to Diatomaceous and Associated Siliceous Sediments (1933); Contraction Phenomena in Cherts (1934); Some Properties of Opal (1935); Geologic History and Correlation of the Jurassic of Southwestern Oregon and California (1942); Franciscan-Knoxville Problem (1943); Cretaceous and Paleocene of the Santa Lucia Range (1944); and Geology of the San Francisco Bay Counties (1952).
New dating techniques and additional field work have led to modification of some of Tucky's cherished views, especially concerning the Franciscan Formation and the amount of lateral movement that has taken place along the San Andreas Fault, but the vast accumulation of carefully collected data that he left on the geology of California will always be a rich mine for others to exploit.
Just as Tucky's main contributions to geology were concentrated within the State, so his main contributions to the University were concentrated in his department. He took little part in general University affairs and cared little for administration and committee work, for which he was temperamentally unsuited.
He was sincere and emotional, and in all that he did he was forthright, quite incapable of sham. One always knew where Tucky stood on any issue; his likes and dislikes were pronounced. He greatly enjoyed the role of host and raconteur, and he entertained his guests bounteously, with a delightful, warm, southern hospitality. His wife, Ann F. Watson, whom he married in 1937, and their son, Anthony, survive him; so does his son Nicholas, by his first wife, Dorothy Gebhardt Fagan, who died in 1933.
Memorial written by Howell Williams, R. M. Kleinpell, and E. H. Wisser
Norman Ethan Allen Hinds (1893-1961)
Norman Ethan Allen Hinds was born in Denver, Colorado, on July 5, 1893. He was the son of William Richardson Hinds and Isabella Eugenia Andrus Hinds. He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado in 1914. In the summers of 1911 and 1913 he had been a field assistant on the Colorado Geological Survey, thus early adopting geology as a career. Upon graduation he became assistant geologist on the Survey, where he remained until 1917. He then entered Harvard University as an Assistant in Geology and Geography, but his student career was interrupted by the war. He served as second lieutenant in the Air Force in France during 1918-19. Returning to Harvard, he received his master's degree in 1920. He then proceeded to the Hawaiian Islands to make field studies for his doctor's thesis. During this period he was successively Sheldon Travelling Fellow, Research Associate (Bishop Museum), and Yale-Bishop Museum Fellow. Returning to Harvard in 1922, he became Instructor in Geology and Geography for a year, and received the Ph.D. degree in 1924.
In 1923 he became Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of California, where he remained until his retirement as Professor of Geology, Emeritus, in 1959.
Professor Hinds' great interests were in the fields of geomorphology and pre-Cambrian geology. The latter was an outgrowth of his extreme interest in the Grand Canyon region. Of his works we might cite The Late Pre-Cambrian of North America, XVII International Geological Congress, Moscow (1937); Evolution of the California Landscape, California State Division of Mines Bulletin 158 (1954); Geomorphology, Prentice-Hall (1943); and Climatic Fluctuations in Arid Regions During Late Earth History, UNESCO Arid Zone Program (1952). He was widely known as a fluent and clear writer, and all his works were beautifully illustrated.
But it is as a teacher that most people always thought of him. He was a magnetic lecturer. The size of his classes in Geology 1 was limited only by the capacity of Wheeler Auditorium--and not completely by that, for he could count on fifty absences a day and enroll fifty more than the room can seat. He liked to speak for the first ten minutes of the hour's lecture on the state of the nation or on athletics. He was most liberal of his time in advising students; after an examination in Geology 1 there would be lines of students at his door. As the result of generations of large classes, enthralled by Hinds, he was widely known throughout the State. When other members of the Geology Department travel about, they frequently are asked by businessmen and housewives, "How is Professor Hinds? He gave me a lifelong interest in the landscape about me."
Another salient feature of his life was his affection for the Indians of New Mexico. He advised them on water problems, represented them in contacts with the government, and helped with the knotty problem of their ages during the draft in World War II. He was initiated into membership of the Tesuque Tribe and was a member of the tribal council, which gave him the privilege of "descending into the kiva," a signal honor in the tribe. In middle life he became a Roman Catholic, and, although he never married, he adopted a son from the Tesuque Tribe. His son resided with him in Berkeley.
Professor Hind's happy times were in the summers when he roamed the southwest. But in winters the card table at the Faculty Club gave him much pleasure, and if one were to believe him, some profit.
Professor Hinds had been troubled by his heart for the last few years, and on June 26, 1961, succumbed to it.
He is survived by his son, Patrick, and two grandchildren.
Memorial written by P. Byerly, C. G. Higgins, L. B. Simpson
Perry Byerly (1897-1978)
Perry Byerly, Geological Sciences: Berkeley
1897-1978 Professor of Seismology, Emeritus Director, Seismographic Stations, Emeritus
The passing of Perry Byerly on September 26, 1978 in Oakland, was the end of a pioneering era in seismology at Berkeley. For 38 years he had supervised the University's network of seismographic stations, keeping track of earthquakes in central and northern California. He was born in Clarinda, Iowa, on May 28, 1897, the only child of Perry Byerly and Pauline Watson Byerly. All his great-grandparents as well as his grandparents and parents were born in the United States, moving west with the frontier. Perry first attended the University of Redlands and the University of Southern California, as a mathematics major. At the end of his junior year, Byerly was told by his professor that he should transfer to a university offering more mathematics, so in the Fall of 1920, he entered the University of California at Berkeley. He received his A.B. in 1921, M.A. in 1922 and Ph.D. in 1924, all in physics. He then spent a year as instructor at the University of Nevada.
The University had established in 1887, at Berkeley and at Mount Hamilton, the first seismographic stations in the Western Hemisphere on a permanent basis. These stations had been in the charge of the Astronomy Department, Civil Engineering, and the Geology Department. However, in 1925, Professor Andrew C. Lawson, then Chairman of Geology, asked Byerly to join the Department and make the siesmographic stations his life work.
As a professor of seismology with a responsibility to develop a graduate research program, he was, of course, breaking new ground. The award of one of the new Guggenheim Fellowships in 1928 to 1929 opportunely broadened his horizons and he went to Cambridge University, England, where he began a lifetime friendship with Sir Harold Jeffreys. At Cambridge his first wife, Ardis (nee Gehring) died of Hodgkin's disease, then incurable.
Back at Berkeley, Byerly's relations with Professor Lawson were lively but ultimately close. Byerly was Lawson's last appointment to the Department staff before he became Emeritus, but Lawson remained active for almost another twenty years. Later in Byerly's career, the mix of geologists and geophysicists in the Department of Geological Sciences became normal and, in due course, Byerly had a turn (1949-1954) as chairman of the Department. This provided an opportunity to request his own appointment as Director of the Seismographic Stations (September 21, 1950).
He became Secretary of the Seismological Society of America in 1931, taking over from Professor S. T. Townley of Stanford. He retained this influential post until 1956, but into the late sixties he was often asked to give advice on the welfare of the Society. After his research achievements of the 1930s, Byerly became increasingly widely known. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also served on many National Research Council and government panels, being chairman of the Panel on Seismology and Gravity for the International Geophysical Year (1957-58). He was a fellow and, for a term, president of the Section of Seismology of the American Geophysical Union. He was Condon lecturer in Oregon in 1952 (Byerly, 1952). He was awarded a second Guggenheim fellowship in 1952 to 1953 and was Smith-Mundt lecturer at the University of Mexico in 1954, and had a Fulbright scholarship that took him back to Cambridge, England in 1960 to 1961.
At the University of California, he was at times a member of various Senate committees -- Courses of Instruction, Graduate Council, Memorial Resolutions -- but he did not regard himself as a good committee man, being too impatient. (One proud accomplishment was on the Committee on Public Ceremonies, where he persuaded the administration to lend caps and gowns to the faculty without charge on days of public ceremonies.) He served as Assistant Dean of the College of Letters and Science for a few years. Socially, he partook in a number of University clubs, including the Faculty Club, of which he was voted an Honorary Member in 1964.
His contributions at Berkeley were marked by the naming of the seismographic station Strawberry Canyon as the Byerly Station, and the award of the Honorary LL.D. degree in 1966.
A substantial part of Byerly's seismological work, particularly after his becoming Emeritus in 1965, involved consultations on geophysical and seismological questions. He was consultant also for the U.S. Air Corps and in the sixties for the Atomic Energy Commission on seismic safety considerations for the underground nuclear testing in Nevada and the Aleutians. He took a "conservative" position regarding these nuclear tests and held that the national interest would be harmed if those obstructing them were successful.
In contrast to some of his seismological contemporaries who concentrated on research, Byerly taught a large number of graduate and undergraduate students over the years, not only seismology majors but also geology and engineering students. He supervised many master's and twenty-one doctoral theses. His distinctive pedagogical method combined elements of irony and paradox with anecdotes so that more was left behind than mere technical knowledge. This large group of students constitutes at the present time an important professional base in American seismology and earthquake engineering. During World War II, to assist the Physics Department from which many of the faculty had left for war work elsewhere, Byerly taught Physics 105A-B, the upper division course in analytic mechanics. He was as well qualified as many of the physics faculty to teach such a course. The schedule was one of year-round operation, and the number of students was large because of service groups; but he enjoyed it and taught from 1942 through 1945.
In 1932, Perry Byerly had married Elsie Gillmor and there were two sons. Divorce occurred in 1940. In 1941, he married Lillian Nuckolls, to whom he was devoted.
Byerly was a man of wide knowledge and much practical wisdom. He played a germinal role in the growth of seismology in the United States during its formative years as a separate discipline. His influence will live on through his students and the Seismological Society of America, which he nurtured for some forty years. Those who knew Perry Byerly well were much influenced by him. In casual encounters his kindliness and humor were sometimes hidden by a crusty manner of speaking. In fact, he had an abiding love of words, exemplified in his wide reading and knowledge of poetry. His anecdotal abilities were well known, both at the University and in the geophysics community and many Byerly stories and wise sayings have circulated widely.
Lillian and three sons, Perry Edward, David, and Donald survive him.
Memorial written by Bruce A. Bolt, Carl Helmholz, Don Tocher, and Howel Williams
Howel Williams (1898-1980)
1898-1980 Professor of Geology, Emeritus
Howel Williams, world-famous volcanologist and distinguished member of the University faculty for nearly fifty years, died in Berkeley on January 12, 1980, as the consequence of a stroke.
Williams was born of Welsh parents in Liverpool, England, on October 12, 1898. He studied at the University of Liverpool, receiving a B.A. in geography in 1923 and an M.A. in archeology in 1924. His first publications were in archeology and it was because of his field work in this area that he changed to geology. After a few years of study at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, he came to Berkeley in the summer of 1926 on a three-year appointment as a Commonwealth Fund fellow.
In California, Williams immediately took up field studies in areas of volcanic activity which were to be his dominating interest throughout his career. His report on "A recent volcanic eruption near Lassen Peak, California," the first of many to appear in the University of California Publications in the Geological Sciences, was issued May 19, 1928. Even before that he had finished his first major work in volcanology which was reported at the twenty-seventh annual meeting of the Cordilleran Section of the Geological Society of America, held in Berkeley in March, 1928. For this Williams received instant recognition and was awarded a prize, provided by Professor Lawson, for "Geology of the Marysville Buttes, California," for having contributed "the most satisfactory and the most important paper setting forth the results of his own research in geology." This appeared as a monograph published by the UC Press the following year. In 1928, he also received the degree of D.Sc., from the University of Liverpool.
In 1929, after three years in California and also studies in Tahiti, Williams returned to England, where he held a post at the Royal School of Mines in London for one year. He so impressed Professor G. D. Louderback, Dean of the College of Letters and Science and Chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences, that he was invited to join the department in 1930 as Associate Professor of Geology.
When Williams returned to the department it had only seven other members, six of whom were California Ph.D.s, and only one full professor. His arrival was a blessing, bringing fresh stimulus to a department that had been criticized for inbreeding. He took charge of instruction in microscopic petrography from the start and taught the basic course in this subject, a mainstay of the department, for thirty-six years. The laboratory work was based entirely on thin sections of rocks, and students were required to make sketches and colored drawings to record their observations. At the same time Williams participated in teaching the rigorous full-year field course required for all major students, which had been instituted by Lawson as an innovation a generation earlier. In volcanology he not only started a seminar but gained disciples among his younger colleagues. One of these, Charles Anderson (later to become chief geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey), turned from economic geology to volcanology and carried out a number of independent volcanological studies in northern California.
After definitive studies of the most notable California volcanoes, Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta, Williams first extended his work to Oregon. Through his great monograph on "The Geology of Crater Lake National Park," published by the Carnegie Institution, a translation of this into Spanish, and through a U.C. Press book on Crater Lake intended for the general public, he became known and appreciated in ever wider circles. To most, the recognition of the collapse or engulfment of the mountain peak of Crater Lake, and his subsequent survey of calderas and their formation throughout the world are his greatest works, but Williams' own greatest love was Sutter Buttes, the study of which began his career in California and ironically, ended it when he returned "to correct the mistakes I made there a half century ago." Most of Williams' publications were based on carefully detailed field work, and here he was a master with few, if any, peers. His ability to go into a new volcanic area and with miraculous swiftness identify the major units, lava flows, ash flows, volcanic domes, and establish their chronology accurately was a talent that awed and amazed those privileged to accompany him. His genius in this respect was recognized early in his career by the great British field geologist, Edward Greenly, who chose Williams to co-author a book on methods in geological surveying (1930). In contrast to Greenly, however, who always worked alone in the field to maintain his concentration, Williams enjoyed having field companions and delighted in both pointing out the salient features of the geology to his associates and keeping up a commentary on his developing geologic hypotheses. His detailed field maps, meticulously and artfully drafted and colored, would grow magically before his companions' eyes. Nothing escaped Williams' keen eyes in the field, including the maidenly blush on the cheeks of the farmer's daughter upon whose land he found himself.
During protracted field work in foreign lands, Howel steeped himself in the lore and culture of the countries, often singing and drinking with the local people and collecting their art. His main mission, however, was never far from his mind, and evenings were frequently spent in reconnaissance geology by car: his enthusiams for geologic discovery never flagged.
One observes in awe the tremendous area carefully studied by Williams during his career. His published geologic maps total over 10,000 square miles. Only some of the early giants of western reconnaissance geology, Powell, Gilbert and King, published more, but not nearly in the detail of Williams.
Williams was a master of the art of field sketching, formerly practiced by many naturalists. Many of his papers were illustrated with his meticulously done pen and ink drawings. Such drawings of the microscopic features of rocks of all types, done by Williams, were used exclusively in the very successful textbook, Petrography, by Williams, Turner, and Gilbert. Williams' publications were equally characterized by his lucid and elegant prose; he greatly relished reviewing student manuscripts, and his skill at reducing their length substantially while increasing the information they contained was valued by students until his death.
"Willie," as he was affectionately known, was an ideal field companion and a much sought-after participant in multidisciplinary programs. He was a founding member of the Associates in Tropical Biogeography. One of us remembers fondly the picture of Howel and paleontologist R. A. Stirton kneeling in the desert sand of Baja California, amiably assisting the beleaguered botanist of the biogeographers' expedition in preparation of plant specimens. Williams' accomplishments include numerous studies with current and former students in geology, as well as those with Robert Heizer (anthropology) on Mexican archaeology, particularly in tracing the sources of megaliths. Willie was especially noted for his relaxed civility and complete imperturbability in all situations and on all occasions.
During the period of his able chairmanship of the department, 1945-1949, the faculty was increased from seven to eleven members. More importantly, by the addition of Turner and Verhoogen to the faculty in 1946 and 1947, the transformation of the department had been initiated. Within a few years the department was represented in the National Academy of Sciences by four members, whereas previously the department had never had more than one member in the Academy.
He was married twice, both marriages ending in divorce. In his later years his stepdaughter, Tony Ray, and her son, Geoffrey, moved in with him and cared for him, becoming his true family and heirs. He is survived by his twin brother, David, in Britain, also a geologist of world renown.
Memorial written by A. Pabst, I. S. E. Carmichael, L. Constance, and G. H. Curtis
Adolf Pabst (1890-1990)
Adolf Pabst was born on November 30, 1899, in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois in 1925, his education having been interrupted by the First World War. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and, following graduation, came to Berkeley to study geology under A.C. Lawson and George D. Louderback, and mineralogy under Arthur S. Eakle. Eakle was aging and about to retire and could not have been much of an inspiration to Pabst; so it is not surprising that Pabst, under Louderback's guidance, chose a petrologic rather than a purely mineralogic subject for his thesis, which was an investigation of the inclusions in the granitic plutons of the Sierra Nevada. As with all of his work, this thesis was based on careful field observations coupled with chemical analyses made by himself and accurate mineralogic and petrographic descriptions, and still serves today as the basic reference on this subject.
His Ph.D. was completed in just three years and was awarded to him in 1928. Even before its completion and at Louderback's suggestion, Pabst applied for and won an American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship to do postdoctoral studies with V.M. Goldschmidt at the Universitets Mineralogiske Institute in Oslo, Norway. There he met and married Gudrun Lisabeth Bert, who, after over 40 years, predeceased him. He returned to Berkeley as an Instructor in 1929 and was appointed Assistant Professor in 1931 and Full Professor in 1944. After his retirement in 1967 he was recalled as Research Geologist to the Department of Geology and Geophysics for many years. Until 1984 he published yearly at least one and sometimes as many as five papers, together with book reviews and commentaries. After his wife died, he moved to an apartment a mile from campus, walking to and from his office, where he worked five to 10 hours every day. He was still in good health at the time of his 90th birthday three months before his death, at which time he enjoyed the acclaim of his friends and former students who had come from all over the world to celebrate the occasion at The Faculty Club. He died in Alta Bates Hospital on April 3, 1990, from complications following a fall in his apartment in early February.
The outstanding quality and importance of all of Pabst's research was recognized by his peers when he was awarded the Roebling Medal in 1965. This medal is the preeminent mark of distinction in American mineralogy, indeed, probably in the entire mineralogical world, and is based not on one important contribution to this field but on the importance of the entire scientific output of the recipient over his professional career. The outstanding characteristic of his research was great attention to detail. He never failed, for example, to correct all errors in his publications by meticulous corrigenda.
Among other honors that Pabst received was a Guggenheim Fellowship to study at the British Museum of Natural History in 1938-1939, and a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Vienna in 1955-56. The Friedrich Becke Medal was awarded to him in 1974 by the Austrian Mineralogical Society. At that time, only about six other scientists had been awarded this medal, including Backlund, Eskola, and Machatschki. In 1978, the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies presented him with their "Honorary Award." Perhaps of even more significance than these honors is his having served as President of the Crystallographic Society of America (1948-49), of the Mineralogical Society of America (1961), and of the International Mineralogical Association (1980). In addition, he held memberships in seven other important mineralogical societies.
Pabst held important posts on the Nominating Committee and the Publications Committee of the American Crystallographic Association and on the Subcommittee on Standards in Crystal Optics of the American Standards Association. In addition to his Presidency of the Mineralogical Society of America, he had served on the Nominating Committee, the Mineralogical Abstracts Committee, the Nomenclature Committee, the Roebling Medal Committee, the Committee to Investigate the International Union of Mineralogists, and the Committee on Honors for the 50th Anniversary of that august society. In the National Research Council he served as a member of the U.S. National Committee for Crystallography. He was a member of the Mineralogical Society of London, and an Honorary member of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Finally, he was a member of The Faculty Club (since 1927), the Sierra Club (since 1935), and Sigma Xi.
At the University of California he served on a number of committees including Chairman of the Board of Editors, University of California Publications in Geological Sciences, and member of the Advisory Committee of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. He was a long-time member of the Herbert Evans History of Science Dinner Club and took much interest in the roots of geology.
He was indefatigable in his efforts to promote the study of mineralogy all over the world. He served on the editorial board of the Mineralogical Society of America for many years, was Associate Editor of the American Mineralogist, served as contributor and as abstractor for Chemical Abstracts, also as contributor and abstractor for Mineralogical Abstracts. He was a referee for many journals, such as Acta Crystallographica, American Mineralogist, American Journal of Physics, Canadian Mineralogist, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Journal of the American Ceramics Society, Inorganic Chemistry, and the Geological Society of America Bulletin.
During his retirement, Pabst was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor of Mineralogy and Crystallography at the University of Nevada, Reno (1967-68), and Professor of Mineralogy at the University of Oregon (1968-69). He was a Fulbright Professor at the Universities of Kiel and Berlin in 1970-71.
Anecdotes about Adolf are many and generally fall into two diverse categories. The first and largest category is that of his extraordinary help to others, both mineralogically and in other ways--he never stinted in his efforts to help students and friends with mineralogical problems, and he always gave generously to help students. For many years he worked with geologists from the State Division of Mines and Geology, opening his laboratory facilities to their use. One of the fruits of this cooperation was the naming of seven new minerals from the Sierra Nevada in Fresno County. On another occasion, State geologists found a new limestone-metamorphic mineral which proved to be an analogue of the barium titanium mineral benitoite, tin replacing titanium. In his honor the new mineral was named pabstite, after Pabst had visited the field location and confirmed the properties of the new mineral himself. Pabst was consulted over many years in the identification and properties of rare minerals by the mineralogy curators at the California Academy of Sciences. He was elected a Fellow of this Academy in 1967.
The second category concerns his rebellion against Department and University authority. Department chairmen were his particular targets for sharply worded notes about rules, regulations, doors left unlocked, lights left on at night, and personal behavior of his colleagues. But although somewhat gruff in appearance, he was always courteous and kind. He was totally devoted to his science, to his teaching, to his students, colleagues, and friends, and to his university.
Memorial written by Garniss H. Curtis, Bruce A. Bolt, and John Verhoogen
T. rex and the Crater of Doom is an account of the research that led to the Berkeley impact theory for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
The hardback version is available from Princeton University Press.
Princeton University Press � T. rex and the Crater of Doom
The paperback version is available from Amazon.com
T. rex and the Crater of Doom
Cloth | 1997 | $45.00 / $29.95 | ISBN: 0-691-01630-5
236 pp. | 6 x 9 | 8 pages of color illus. 12 halftones
Sixty-five million years ago, a comet or asteroid larger than Mt. Everest slammed into the Earth, causing an explosion equivalent to the detonation of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. Vaporized impactor and debris from the impact site were blasted out through the atmosphere, falling back to Earth all around the globe. Terrible environmental disasters ensued, including a giant tsunami, continent-scale wildfires, darkness, and cold, followed by sweltering greenhouse heat. When conditions returned to normal, half the genera of plants and animals on Earth had perished.
This horrific story is now widely accepted as the solution to a great scientific murder mystery what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? In T. rex and the Crater of Doom, the story of the scientific detective work that went into solving the mystery is told by geologist Walter Alvarez, one of the four Berkeley scientists who discovered the first evidence for the giant impact. It is a saga of high adventure in remote parts of the world, of patient data collection, of lonely intellectual struggle, of long periods of frustration ended by sudden breakthroughs, of intense public debate, of friendships made or lost, of the exhilaration of discovery, and of delight as a fascinating story unfolded.
Controversial and widely attacked during the 1980s, the impact theory received confirmation from the discovery of the giant impact crater it predicted, buried deep beneath younger strata at the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. The Chicxulub Crater was found by Mexican geologists in 1950 but remained almost unknown to scientists elsewhere until 1991, when it was recognized as the largest impact crater on this planet, dating precisely from the time of the great extinction sixty-five million years ago. Geology and paleontology, sciences that long held that all changes in Earth history have been calm and gradual, have now been forced to recognize the critical role played by rare but devastating catastrophes like the impact that killed the dinosaurs.
"Appealing and accessible, an excellent introduction to the subject."--Kirkus Review
"A fascinating proof of a once ridiculed theory. In fitting together the puzzle of dino demise, Alvarez excitingly shapes the story for the widest audience."--Booklist
"[D]eft and readable . . . T. rex and the Crater of Doom gets the facts across in a lighthearted, almost playful manner. But it's also solid science, a clear and efficient exposition that conveys plenty of cogent detail while keeping an eye on the subtle interplay of thought, action, and personality that makes scientific research such arresting human behavior. . . . [An] estimable account from the world's leading authority on death from above."--Timothy Ferris, New York Times Book Review
"A geologist (who happens to be a kind of working philosopher) gives a deft, readable explanation of the extinction of the dinosaurs."--New York Times Book Review
"A nicely told and well-written tale of scientific discovery."--Library Journal
"The book is very well written and so engrossing that a reader with little or no background in the earth's geologic history will enjoy an easy and vastly entertaining summary of how we came to our present understanding of the past. It is a wonderful adventure in science."--Dale Russell, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Alvarez's book recounts this scientific detective story in an authoritative yet consistently engaging manner. Once considered absurd, the idea that extraterrestrial factors were involved in some of the great crises in the history of life has become widely accepted."--Hans-Dieter Sues, Toronto Globe and Mail
"A first-rate, swiftly paced tale of how science can propel its participants down avenues of surprising discovery to breathtaking conclusions."--Charles Petit, San Francisco Chronicle
Table of Contents:
Ch. 1 Armageddon 3
Ch. 2 Ex Libro Lapidum Historia Mundi 19
Ch. 3 Gradualist versus Catastrophist 43
Ch. 4 Iridium 59
Ch. 5 The Search for the Impact Site 82
Ch. 6 The Crater of Doom 106
Ch. 7 The World after Chicxulub 130
History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science
The Mountains of Saint Francis
Discovering the Geologic Events That Shaped Our Earth
The major new work by the best-selling author ofT. Rex and the Crater of Doom� a fascinating exploration of the Earth�s history.
WalterAlvarez and his team made one of the most astonishing scientific discoveries of the twentieth century —that an asteroid smashed into theEarth 65 million years ago, exterminating the dinosaurs. Alvarez hadthe first glimmer of that amazing insight when he noticed something oddin a rock outcrop in central Italy. Alvarez now returns to that richterrain, this time to take the reader on an excavation of the Earth's distant past. We encounter the volcanoes that formed the Seven Hills ofRome; the majestic limestone Apennine mountains that started to developmillions of years ago under water; the evidence that theMediterranean Sea completely evaporated to a sunken desert, perhapsseveral times; and the proof that continental plates once overran oneanother to form the Alps. In Alvarez's telling, all major geologicepisodes are as dramatic as the great impact that killed the dinosaurs,even when they happen over eons and without huge creatures to witnessthem.
Walter Alvarez is a professor of geology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the best-selling T. Rex and the Crater of Doom.He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and a past recipientof the Penrose Medal, the highest award given by the Geological Societyof America. He lives in Berkeley, California.
January 2009 / hardcover / ISBN 978-0-393-06185-7