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Bureau honors retirees during NMT’s 49ers

Chuck Chapin (left) and John Hawley
(click for a larger version)
2022 Dan Koning

— October 24, 2022

On Friday, October 14, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology held a BBQ luncheon as part of 49ers weekend to honor our many retirees, Because of COVID we haven't, until now, been able to gather as a group to socialize and have fun together. Coincidentally, two of our notable emeritus Bureau staff, who were able to attend, just turned 90 in October: Charles (Chuck) Chapin and John Hawley.

Chuck completed his doctorate at the Colorado School of Mines in 1959, working on the Thirtynine Mile volcanic field in south central Colorado. He soon became faculty at NMT where he taught for five years (two as chair). In 1970 he joined the staff of the New Mexico Bureau of Mines (now Geology) and Mineral Resources, becoming Director in 1991 until his retirement in 1999. During his 34 years in Socorro, he supervised 45 graduate students and made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the geology of New Mexico and the Southern Rocky Mountains. Among his many contributions was understanding the significance of the Eocene erosion surface in the Rocky Mountains, the role that playa lake brines play in potassium metasomatism, and the role of strike-slip deformation in the evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains and Rio Grande rift. Chuck was also instrumental in establishing the world-class NM Geochronologic Research Laboratory at the Bureau.

For more information about Chuck's accomplishments, see:
Dedication to Charles E. Chapin, by Steven M. Cather, William C. McIntosh, and Shari A. Kelley, in: Tectonics, geochronology, and volcanism in the Southern Rocky Mountains and Rio Grande rift, Bulletin 160, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, 2004.

John started his career with the Soil Conservation Service, stationed in Las Cruces. There, he worked with Leland Gile in the Desert Project, where he provided essential geologic input in this excellent study that documented how soils changed with time and with landform position in an arid environment. John was hired by the Bureau of Mines (now Geology) in 1977 and charged with the development of an environmental geology program. Among his many notable achievements with the Bureau are a surficial geology map of New Mexico (OFR-462 part C) and development of a hydrogeologic model of the subsurface of the Albuquerque basin. His latest work applies his outstanding hydrogeology knowledge to the basin-fill aquifer system spanning Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua, Mexico.

For more information about John’s life and admirable accomplishments, see:

Dedication: John Hawley, by Les McFadden, in: 1999 NMGS Fall Field Conference Guidebook, Albuquerque Geology.

John Hawley: A geologic resources for New Mexico, by Will Keener, in: Divining Rod, v. XXXVI, n.2, 2013, New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute