Part I—History and activities of the section of geophysics of the United States Geological Survey

Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union



From the beginning of time, all ingenuity of mankind has been concentrated upon the methods of finding gold and unusual deposits in the earth. An illustration (Fig. 1) from the old treatise by Agricola, “De Re Metallica,” published in 1580, will serve to show the implicit faith of that generation in divining methods. However, it was not until 1920 that real progress was made in prospecting by using the latest advances of the physical sciences. The public interest was stimulated by the successes of these methods on the part of commercial operators, and governmental agencies received many requests for information concerning their reliability. There were also, in the late 1920's, high‐pressure mine‐promotion schemes which used geophysical methods in a very questionable manner, symbolized in Figure 2 as of 1928 by an electrified forked stick. Authoritative information concerning such practices for public protection was needed to curb such notorious undertakings. Dr. Scott Turner, then Director of the United States Bureau of Mines, thoroughly understood the situation and was first in the governmental departments to recognize the possible value of a study of modern prospecting methods. The Bureau of Mines began this investigation by employing Drs. A. S. Eve and D. A. Keys of McGill University for short periods in the summer in 1927. Their first publication [see 1 of “References” at end of paper] served to illustrate the fundamental scientific principles which underlie geophysical prospecting. This was followed by a second publication [2] giving the results of field‐tests. In the light of the rapid improvements during the intervening ten years, these two papers take a historical position.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Part I—History and activities of the section of geophysics of the United States Geological Survey
Series title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
DOI 10.1029/TR020i003p00280
Volume 20
Issue 3
Year Published 1939
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Description 12 p.
First page 280
Last page 291
Country United States
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