Profile: John Howell

Field Geologist

Originally from Wales, John Howell graduated from the University of Wales in 1988. After working for a year in industry, he read for a PhD at the University of Birmingham on the sedimentology of the Rotliegend gas reservoirs. He moved to Liverpool in 1992 where he spent 10 years, the first four years as a researcher and the rest as a faculty member. During that time he worked on projects from the North Sea, Utah, Namibia, South Africa, South East Asia, Argentina and Chile. In 1999 he spent a sabbatical in Saga Petroleum in Oslo learning to build reservoir models and developing methods for capturing outcrop data for modeling. In 2002 he moved to Norway permanently and started at the University of Bergen were he established the VOG Group. In 2004 he collaborated in the start up of Rocksource, a technology focused, independent E&P company also based in Bergen.
John considers himself to be a field geologist and a bit of a techno geek. He firmly believes that geology should be studied at outcrop, that all this new technology simply allows us to do better the things that we have always done and the old adage that “the best geologist is the one that has seen the most rocks”. He is happiest in the field and wishes that he could spend more time there. His favourite outcrops are the Book Cliffs of Utah and the wildest place he ever worked was the deserts of NW Namibia.

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Two Centuries of Map-Making: William Smith

This year marks the 200th anniversary since William Smith published his life’s work, a geological map of England and Wales, in 1815. While “Strata Smith” and his map are well known among geologists, this humble man and his amazing map do not receive the attention or wider recognition they deserve. Smith’s achievement was arguably as significant as Darwin’s, yet he resides in relative obscurity.

Category: History

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