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J. David Love, Sr. (1913-2002)

J. David Love was born in 1913 in Wyoming where he grew up on the family ranch. The only time Dave left the state of Wyoming was to get a PhD from Yale University and then to spend four years working for Shell Oil Company in the mid-continent region. He returned to Wyoming in 1942, when he was hired by the USGS Mineral Deposits Branch. After 45 years with the USGS, primarily spent mapping Wyoming, he retired in 1987, but remained with the organization as a scientist emeritus.

One of his continuing interests through his career was the connection between geology and human health, for example, poisonous trace elements like selenium and molybdenum found in some soils. After he discovered uranium in Wyoming, he passed up an opportunity to capitalize financially on this and chose instead to remain with the USGS as a field geologist.

He received many awards and honors, including the USGS Meritorious Service Award and the American Geological Institute’s very first Legendary Geoscientist Award. John McPhee’s book “Rising from the Plains” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 1986) is about Dave and the geology of Wyoming.

Both of Dr. Love’s son became geologists. David Love died in 2002 at the age of 89.

Additional Information About J. David Love, Sr.

Bartlett, K., 2000
A 'Legendary Geoscientist', Geotimes, March, 2000.
Bartlett, K., 2002
In Memoriam: J. David Love, Geotimes, August, 2002.
Bell, T., 2002
Farewell to David Love, Frontline Newsletter, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Fall, 2002.
McPhee, J. 1986
Rising from the Plains, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 214 p.
Tweit, S., 2002
For 60 years, J. David Love explored the West's geology, Writers on the Range, High Country News.

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Related Information

History of the USGS 1879-1989