Mary Louise Rhodes

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Mary Louise Rhodes
Born April 5, 1916
Clinton, Missouri
Died June 26, 1987
Midland, Texas
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Missouri
Known for Field Research in the Permian Basin
Scientific career
Fields Petroleum Geology

Mary Louise Rhodes (April 5, 1916 – June 26, 1987) was a petroleum geologist in the United States. Rhodes was born April 5, 1916 in Clinton, Missouri. She achieved a bachelor’s degree (1938) and a master’s degree (1939) in Geology at the University of Missouri. In 1942, Rhodes started her professional career in the production department at the Standard Oil Company of Texas (SOTEX), where she examined well samples, constructed sample logs, and prepared subservience maps and cross-sections. Later she transferred to the exploration department in 1946, she continued to work in this department for the rest of her career. Her duties in this department mainly included travelling the world to collect soil samples and collect to find oil reserves. Throughout her professional career, Rhodes became well-known as a carbonate stratigrapher and an expert on several of the Permian basin rock units. Rhodes died on June 26, 1987 from cancer in Midland, Texas.[1]


Rhodes was born on April 5, 1916 in Clinton, Missouri but grew up in Humansville. She graduated from Humansville High School in Missouri and after her high school graduation Rhodes enrolled in the University of Missouri to undertake a degree in journalism. This degree had a science requirement, to satisfy this she took a geology course, from here her interest in geology grew. She changed her major to geology after being inspired by Raymond E. Peck, who was a dedicated professor to her. After Rhodes changed her major to geology, she was taught by other well-known professors such as Edwin B Branson and Maurice G. Mehl. She achieved a Bachelor’s degree with distinction in 1938 and a master’s degree in 1939 at the University of Missouri. After graduation, Mary was active in the Jefferson Club, and she participated in several meetings of the University of Missouri Geology Department board for several years. Rhodes started her professional career as production department staff at SOTEX in April 1942 in Houston, Texas. With this job Mary examined well samples and constructed sample logs, prepared subsurface maps and cross sections, and recommended well locations to production management. Rhodes transferred into the department of Exploration Geology in February 1946, and spent the rest of her career working on various exploration assignments. Her outside interests included traveling throughout the world. Through dedicated work and interest, Mary became a distinguished carbonate stratigrapher and was considered to be an expert on several of the Permian basin rock units. She was also known to have taught hundreds of earth scientists who worked in the petroleum industry.[2] Rhodes and co-worker John Emery Adams[3] shared an interest in Permian basin and were coauthors of two papers, Starved Pennsylvanian Midland Basin[4] and Dolomitization by Seepage Refluxion.[5] Rhodes was also awarded honorary life memberships in the Permian Basin Section of Society for Sedimentary Geology in 1974 and to the West Texas Geological Society in 1978. Rhodes retired in December 1977, and moved back from Denver to Midland. She died from cancer 26 June 1987 in Midland, Texas.[1][6]

Personal life[edit]

Rhodes was a noted traveler during her time-off, a passion she shared with her two sisters, Ann R. Bradshar of Fort Collins and Doris E. Munroe, who lived with Mary until her death. Rhodes never married, and she did not have any children. She studied and was a TA at the University of Missouri, where she received her bachelor and master's degree in Geology. Mary enjoyed traveling around the world. Places Mary visited include England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, several trips to the south pacific islands, Hawaii, Alaska, Guadalupe Mountains, Mediterranean, several Caribbean islands, Teton Range, and the Ozarks.


  1. ^ a b Reese, Donald L.; Cheatham, Bruce N. (1988). "Memorial: Mary Louise Rhodes (1916-1987)". AAPG Bulletin. 72 (1): 92–93. 
  2. ^ "Memorial: Mary Louise Rhodes (1916-1987)". 72 (1). 1988-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Memorial: John Emery Adams (1899-1970)". AAPG Bulletin. 55 (4): 629–631. 1971. 
  4. ^ Johnson, David P.; Emery Adams, John; Frenzel, Hugh N.; Rhodes, Mary Louise (1951-01-01). "Starved Pennsylvanian Midland Basin: GEOLOGICAL NOTES". AAPG Bulletin. 35 (12). doi:10.1306/3d93436d-16b1-11d7-8645000102c1865d. ISSN 0149-1423. 
  5. ^ Rhodes, Mary Louise; Emery Adams, John (1960-01-01). "Dolomitization by Seepage Refluxion". AAPG Bulletin. 44 (12). doi:10.1306/0bda6263-16bd-11d7-8645000102c1865d. ISSN 0149-1423. 
  6. ^ Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey; Harvey, Joy Dorothy (2000-01-01). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415920407.