Scholle has spent much of his career specializing in carbonate
sedimentology and diagenesis as well as exploration for hydrocarbons
in carbonate rocks throughout the world. He has worked on projects
for oil companies in over 40 countries and has published extensively
on a variety of topics.
from a guy who fell into geology after floundering around for a
major at Yale University.
was certainly never my plan," Scholle said. "I grew up in the Bronx
in New York City, and rocks were something you threw at cats."
he was interested in science as a teenager, the Bronx High School
of Science curriculum didn't cover geology. It was only when, in
an effort to avoid the rigors of Yale's science requirements, that
Scholle enrolled in a geology course.
rest, as they say, is history.
got caught up in geology — it appeals to the side of me that loves
mystery stories," he said. "Geology is basically solving mysteries,
except there is even less evidence than most detectives get. Petrography
in particular is all about looking at little clues to put together
to figure out whodunit."
love of travel was fueled early in his life. Following his undergraduate
work, Scholle spent a year on a Fullbright-DAAD fellowship at the
University of Munich in Germany. That was followed by a year at
the University of Texas, Austin where he studied with Bob Folk,
one of the premier petrographers in the United States.
brilliant and I was fortunate to work with him," Scholle recalled.
"He turned out an enormous number of talented petrographers that
succeeded him, although I don't think anyone has ever exceeded him."
on seeing the world, Scholle got his doctorate at Princeton University,
where he was able to work with scientists in Italy.
then spent two years with Cities Service Oil Co. in Tulsa.
a short career with Cities, because at the time I thought I really
wanted to do academic work," he said. "But those two years had a
tremendous influence on my career, because I have continued to do
a great deal of consulting for oil companies. I like the freedom
of consulting because I can take projects that appeal to me."
Cities Service to teach at the University of Texas at Dallas, but
just two years later he went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey,
completing the trifecta of geology — industry, academia, government.
at the USGS entailed less teaching, but it had the research flexibility
I wanted and I was able to work on oil and gas industry problems,"
he said. "I eventually became chief of the USGS oil and gas branch,
managing research in oil and gas and the resource evaluation program."
left the USGS to become chief scientist for carbonates at Gulf Research
later, T. Boone Pickens started his bid for Gulf that ended with
Chevron acquiring the company.
said, "I decided I didn't want to move to California so I went back
to academia at Southern Methodist University, where I was the Albritton
Professor of Geology for 14 years."
with the USGS and SMU broadened Sholle's overall professional interests
beyond carbonate sedimentology.
USGS I worked extensively on basin analysis of the clastic-dominated
eastern U.S. continental margin and on scientific management at
a variety of levels," he said. I dealt with geological and geophysical
studies, resource evaluation problems, environmental projects and
the like. At SMU I developed courses and research activities that
reflected those broadened interests. I taught introductory courses
in environmental science and oceanography, a field course in reef
ecology, a seminar class in global environmental problems, and occasional
classes in carbonate sedimentology."
once again fit nicely with his love of travel, since the field courses
were in locales such as the Cayman Islands, Barbados and the Bahamas.
is director and state geologist with the New Mexico Bureau of Mines
& Mineral Resources. He also is still very active as a consultant
with oil companies around the world. Recent projects have sent him
to such exotic destinations as Greenland, New Zealand, Greece, Qatar
and the Danish and Norwegian North Sea.
- Work on chalk diagenesis
in the North Sea.
- A CD-ROM based course
in carbonate petrography, which is a self-paced interactive computer
module to teach students and professionals the art and science
of examining carbonate rocks under the microscope.
- Depositional and
digenetic studies in Pennsylvanian and Permian carbonates of New
- Relationships between
depositional facies and digenetic history of the Late Cretaceous
limestones of the Greek Ionian islands.
- Diagenesis and dating
of hardgrounds and exposure surfaces in the Tertiary of the South
Island, New Zealand.
an avid photographer, said one of his most memorable projects, both
professionally and personally, was in the early 1980s when he traveled
to the Middle East to shoot two movies for AAPG's film series on
carbonate petrography and arid carbonate coastlines.
the opportunity to fly helicopters over places that, unless you
are military, you don't get to fly over," he said. "We filmed some
of the most fascinating modern depositional environments that make
marvelous analogs for things you see in the geologic record.
gave me a set of pictures and knowledge I could never have gotten
otherwise," he added. "To see things from a perspective few people
ever get was a real boon to my career."