January 1st., 1999: GEORGE F. HART, Professor emeritus, Geology & Geophysics, Louisiana State University.

My professional career as a geologist spans a 40 year period and progressed from research, to the Head of a Research Unit, to extensive teaching, to administration of the entire Research Program of the Louisiana Geological Survey. During the whole time I have been actively involved with applied studies involving various aspects of stratigraphy, fuel resources [oil, gas, coal, and lignite], paleobiology, and environmental analysis, using the tools of stratigraphy, palaeontology, sedimentology, statistics and computer analysis. Throughout my entire career I have worked in deltaic detrital systems commencing with my Ph.D. on the Karroo coal bearing deltaic sediments, to my recent work on the deltas of Peninsular India and the initiation of the World Delta Database [].

 In addition to my varied research and consulting work I have taught 19 different graduate classes and 7 different undergraduate classes in four main areas of geology [petroleum geology, data analysis, palaeontology, and field geology]. I have supervised Ph.D. students in Geology, Economics, Computer Science, Petroleum Engineering and Marine Sciences. At Louisiana State University I was on most committees at one time or another, in addition to having served as the Chairman of the Chancellors Committee for the establishment of the M.S. in Experimental Statistics. During my whole career I have maintained a strong link with industry. Administrative experience includes Head of a research unit at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Director of a Museum of Geoscience,  and Director of Research, of the Louisiana Geological Survey.


I have lived for extended periods in Britain [24 years], Soviet Union [2 years], South Africa (5 years), USA [40 years], and India [2 years total]. I was the first western geologist allowed into the Soviet Union on a long term basis after Stalin's death. General geological field visits have been made in Britain, Norway, Sweden, Finland, USSR, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, India, Nepal, Tibet, Australia, Botswana, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, and the USA. In addition, I have worked on material from Antarctica, Tanzania, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Congo, South West Africa, and Pakistan. Published works and research activities have included investigations on all continents. In general these studies have centered around studies of detrital systems and paleobiology. A list of my publications is provided in my full curriculum vitae attached.

My reputation as an internationally recognized scientist is backed by the fact that I have held the following international research fellowships and awards.


My professional career is naturally divisible into five parts each involving different aspects of geology:

My early training was in Britain where I studied the biostratigraphy of some African (Tanganyikan) coal fields. The sediments were Permian deltaic deposits and this study initiated my interest in the energy resources of deltaic environments. During this time I was awarded a British Council Fellowship to visit West Germany and study with Robert Potonie and Hilda Grebe who were leading experts in coal-field biostratigraphy. Following Ph.D. work in England I spent a year (1960-61) in the USSR where I studied under Professor A. A. Bogdarnov, Professor of Tectonic Geology at Moscow State University. It was at this time I developed an interest in the relationship between tectonism and depositional systems. My study concerned the Permian System of the USSR, and I was fortunate enough to work most of the time at the Geological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR under the tutelage of S. N. Naumova [as her foreign graduate student], and later with A. A. Luber and Valts (leaders in soviet Palaeozoic coal-field biostratigraphy). During the spring, as a graduate assistant,  I helped to teach field geology at Moscow State University's Crimean Field Camp. In the Crimean  I was able to study the local geology and collect samples from the Cenozoic deposits. In 1961 I went to Africa as NATO Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In Africa I studied the deltaic coal-fields of the Karroo Succession. During this period I worked with Dr. Edna Plumstead, an authority in Gondwana Paleozoic Palaeobotany; and, with Ray Dart, the palaeo-anatomist. I organized a research unit called the Microstratigraphy - Basin Analysis Research Unit which studied the sedimentology and paleontology of the Karroo, initially with regard to coal but later hydrocarbons. Other studies involved the Cretaceous System of coastal Natal. This Research Unit had seven scientists working within it when I left Africa. During my time in Africa I was a consultant to all of the major mining companies and also to the South African government. I taught many of the late 20th C leaders in the South African mining industry. I regularly spent 2-3 months per year in the field studying principally the Karroo deltaic deposits and the Cape Fold Belt. The University is a "hard rock" school and it was at this time I developed an interest in igneous and metamorphic terranes, making seven field trips to the Bushveld Igneous Complex.

In 1966 I emigrated to the USA with my wife and three sons and commenced teaching palynology and biostratigraphy, with a heavy statistical emphasis, at LSU. My prime interest was data interpretation and this led to a series of Ph.D. dissertations involving "problems of biostratigraphy", and included work on coccoliths, diatoms, dinocysts, Ostracoda, invertebrates, and organic debris. In 1969 I spent the summer at Berkeley teaching; and, in 1970 went to Rio de Janeiro as one of six international keynote speakers invited to inaugurate the Brazilian Academy of Sciences First Symposium on Paleontology. The Brazilian government provided a visit to the Amazon Basin so that I could observe the environment first hand.

I returned to the Soviet Union in 1973 as a Senior Fellow of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, where I worked principally in the Geological Institute of the Academy of Sciences [with Sergei Meyen], and Academik Goradok (West Siberian Basin). These studies concerned the palaeogeographic development of the Soviet Union (Cambrian to Holocene Periods); and, the tectonics and stratigraphy of the North-East Province of the USSR. A special project involved computer use by geologists in the USSR.

My interest in oil and gas began in South Africa but essentially developed with the numerous proprietary studies that were completed when I owned a small exploration geochemistry consultant company [Carbon Systems Inc., Baton Rouge]. This firm was eventually sold to Woodward - Clyde Corporation. In 1974 I began to concentrate on studies related to the generation of oil and gas in clastic systems. This work actually started with a study for TEXACO Inc, Lafayette in 1970 on lease boundary problems in the Atachafalaya Basin and concluded with a major study, commencing in 1979, on the Louisiana Deltaic Plain for a combination of oil companies (Texaco, Arco, Superior, Tenneco, EXXON, Chevron, and Conoco). An extension of this study was completed in 1986 involving organic matter in carbonate systems (financed in part by Sun Oil, and SOHIO). This work formed the basis of three chapters in the textbook Sedimentation of Organic Particles for Cambridge University Press [edited by Professor Alfred Traverse].

My interest in subsurface hydrocarbon exploration and production was stimulated during a sabbatical leave [1982-83], when I worked for Texaco Inc., New Orleans, as a regular explorationist, with the intent of developing a set of University level courses on Petroleum Geology. During the 15 months at Texaco I was in charge of the STARFAK Prospect [Offshore Vermilion Parish, Louisiana], which became one of Texaco's leading prospects during the period I worked upon it. I sited numerous oil and gas wells (all of which successfully found oil, gas and condensates, in multiple pays), and initiated the testing of the shallower "U sands". For a short while during the summer (1983) I worked on the Destin Dome from the viewpoint of source rock potential and geohistory modeling using Lopatin methods. STARFAK became a more general research area when I returned to LSU and projects in Organic Petrology, Sandstone Diagenesis, Biostratigraphy, Clay Mineralogy, and Diplog analysis were completed by Faculty and Graduate Students.

At the end of 1983 I went to India as a United Nations consultant. This involved  a Lecture Series on Petroleum Geology but my primary task was the assessment of the program in Geology at Andhra State University for further UNDP funding. At the same time preliminary arrangements were made to undertake research on deltas along the east coast of India. These were believed to be analogues of some Cenozoic deltaic systems of the USA. Funds were obtained from the Smithsonian Institute for research on the deltas of peninsular India, and I returned to India during the summer of 1987, as a representative of the Smithsonian Institute, to discuss future research work on these east coast deltas. Since that time I have made numerous trips to India the most recent being in 2000.

During 1985-86 I was a consultant for Texaco Inc., New Orleans, on the West Delta 109 Unitization problem. This was the largest Unitization effort ever attempted by industry in the Gulf Coast. My role was general quality control of reservoir mapping. The excellence of this work earned a special award from Texaco.

Problems concerning the application of computers to solving geological problems have interested me since 1966 when I first became involved with data analysis. Artificial Intelligence attracted my early interest and one of my earliest studies involved placing all of my knowledge concerning African Permian Palynology into an information storage and retrieval system. A large amount of effort during the past twenty years has involved data analysis using a variety of computer systems [commencing with IBM mainframes, VAX, IBM micro, Amiga, Wicat and currently Macintosh, PCs and SGI]. This has included consulting work for ARCO on developing Geological and Palaeontological Workstations; and, statistical analysis of Alaskan data.

My last administrative experience involved the management of the entire research program for the Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge. Most of the research studies during that period concerned environmental aspects of geology, and I initiated a major  study in coastal geographic information systems. The work at the LGS involved the administration and financial management of numerous contracts from a variety of sources [see curriculum vitae]. Duties involve establishment and interpretation of administrative policy in coordination with the Executive Director of the Geological Survey [Chip Groat: later Director of the USGS]; approving and establishing contract budgets; interaction with Federal and State agencies; working with University administrators to establish a research unit that is both accountable and auditable under Federal regulations; reviewing all contract research deliverables produced by the Geological Survey; interacting with industry to obtain industrial cooperation and input into oil and gas research; and, establishment and development of a graphical information system for handling LGS spatial data bases.