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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Tulsa Geological Society


Tulsa Geological Society Digest
Vol. 33 (1965), Pages 286-287

Geology, Geophysics, and Their Common Ground: Abstract

H. M. Thralls1


During the past ten to fifteen years many subjects for papers and topics for symposiums have hinged about pleas for closer cooperation between geologists and geophysicists. The popularity of the subject reflects the increased effort required to find new oil reserves and suggests the possibility that one group of professionals suspects the other of not doing all they can to make the job easier. This polite but definite pointing of the finger is a natural and human reaction to the necessity of facing an unexpected and unpleasant situation.

Any altercation between a geologist and a geophysicist can literally and figuratively be described as a family fuss—for a family we are. We feed from the same trough, we are subject to the same management, and we have exactly the same objectives; i.e., the discovery of more oil at less cost. In certain areas, we use the same tools and speak exactly the same language, but from the center lobby of subsurface interpretation, each of our two professions has built an extensive network of specialized branch structures between which there are few connecting hallways. We have in the oil industry, however, just one large building and if the geophysicists set fire to their end, your end will burn, and vice versa. If one group makes improvement in their part of the structure, the equity of the other group is equally enhanced, but no great stride forward will be possible until the whole structure is modernized.

The greatest weakness in our common structure is our lack of control of the basic plan. We geologists and geophysicists have been so engrossed in scientific endeavor, in gloating over our successes, or in crying over our failures, that we have abandoned exploration planning. We shoved aside this responsibility and left it to the accountants, the bankers, the mathematicians, the graduates of the School of Business Administration, or to conclusions drawn from data fed to electronic computers. Consequently we should not be surprised to find exploration programs now defined in terms of dollars instead of ideas, budget allocations determined by the size of the district office staff instead of program merit, and that a "deal" submitted by an outsider is more attractive to management than our own program because the outsider's deal can be fitted neatly into a fixed quarterly budget.

If we want a better building, then we must help design it. We may even be surprised to find that management will welcome our help.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Geo Prospectors, Inc., Tulsa

February 22, 1965

Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society