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The History of Geophysics Showcased at IMAGE

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

The History of Geophysics by Bill Gafford

The Geoscience Center booth at the recent SEG/AAPG Image event was busy most of the time and we received many favorable comments, including some who said that we had the best booth. Our booth included a variety of items from our GSH Museum Collection and from the Bob Sheriff Library.

We had hats from many companies, past and present, attached to eleven dynamite loading poles which attracted people to the booth. Then the 1950’s vintage seismic recording doghouse was very popular along with the field office “Doodlebugger” desk from the same era. Near the desk a rotating slide show included pictures of various items in the GSH Museum Collection as well as pictures from various events held at the Geoscience Center.

There were three tables of surveying instruments, a variety of vintage geophones, both large and small, and Petty Geophysical refraction recording instruments from the 1920’s. The prototype air gun from the 1960’s drew attention also. In another area of the booth there were gravity and magnetic recording instruments from the early days of exploration along with early exploration reports and maps from southeast Texas.

The original files that were the basis for Bob Sheriff’s original “Encyclopedic Dictionary of Exploration Geophysics” were displayed along with many of the subsequent editions, including some in foreign languages. This display drew plenty of attention. The display case also included samples of the periodicals included in the Sheriff Library at the Geoscience Center and a variety of early seismic interpretation aids and charts.

We received a few donations of items for our museum collection and expect other donations of items or books for our library from individuals who support our preservation efforts. Several pictures of our booth are included with this article.

Bell Geospace is putting together a documentary on the history and future of gravity exploration which will include interviews with experts in the field and pictures of early and current gravity instruments. We are providing pictures and information on some of the instruments in our museum collection. Bell Geospace is currently hosting the SEG/SEGF Iverson gravity collection in their offices and will use many of those items in the production also. Their film crew conducted some interviews and videos in our booth on Wednesday morning. The GSH and SEG/SEGF will be recognized for helping with the documentary.

I want to thank our volunteers: Les Denham, Chuck Meeder, Haynie Stringer, Frank Dumanoir, and Rene Mott for helping with packing and unpacking our items, arranging the display, explaining what we had and why, and promoting the Geoscience Center and Library.

Our next Living Legends Doodlebugger event will be at the Geoscience Center on November 9. These quarterly events were begun for retired doodlebuggers but have become popular for anyone interested in visiting with friends and seeing some of the geoscience artifacts from our Museum Collection on display, including some of our mystery items.

Geoscience Center Hours

The Geoscience Center is usually open on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 until noon or by appointment, and visitors are always welcome.

Please contact me at or 281-370-3264 for more information.



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