Vincent Ellis McKelvey
|Vincent Ellis McKelvey|
McKelvey as Director of USGS, 1971
April 6, 1916|
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA
|Died||January 23, 1987
St. Cloud, Florida, USA
|Institutions||U.S. Geological Survey|
|Alma mater||Syracuse University
University of Wisconsin
|9th Director of the United States Geological Survey|
1971 – 1978
|Preceded by||William Thomas Pecora|
|Succeeded by||Henry William Menard|
Vincent Ellis McKelvey (April 6, 1916 – January 23, 1987) was an American geologist. He was married to Genevieve Bowman McKelvey. They had one son, Gregory McKelvey of Spokane, Washington. Dr. McKelvey was an earth scientist who spent 46 years with the United States Geological Survey. Dr. McKelvey was recognized as an international authority on deep-sea mineral deposits. From 1968 to 1982, he served as scientific adviser and senior deputy to the United States delegation to the Law of the Sea Conference of the United Nations, where fellow delegates often depended on his ability to render complex scientific issues into plain English.
He joined the Geological Survey, a branch of the Department of the Interior, in 1941. He was placed in charge of its explorations for uranium after World War II, was assistant chief geologist for economic and foreign geology by 1962 and was named senior research geologist three years later. Dr. McKelvey was named chief geologist of the Geological Survey in 1971 shortly before he became its ninth director, a post he held through 1977.
The McKelvey diagram (or box), a visual representation of how to classify a particular mineral resource based on the value of its production (economic, marginal, etc.) and the geologic certainty of its presence (measured, inferred, hypothetical, etc.), is named after him.
In 1971, after William Thomas Pecora became Under Secretary of the Interior, Chief Geologist Vincent E. McKelvey, a career scientist with the Survey since 1941, became Director. McKelvey, a graduate of Syracuse University with a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, had served in several research and administrative capacities in the Geological Survey. He was internationally known for his studies of phosphates, had headed the Survey's program of exploration and research for the Atomic Energy Commission for several years, had been deeply involved in sometimes controversial estimates of long-range energy and mineral-resource needs, and had most recently been engaged in studies of seabed resources.
McKelvey's term as Director was marked by an increase in multidisciplinary studies and in the diversity and complexity of Geological Survey operations, as well as an increased effort to make scientific information acquired through years of research available in a form most easily used in the solution of such contemporary problems. In 1973, the Geological Survey moved its National Headquarters from downtown Washington to a new building designed expressly for its needs in Reston, Virginia. It took on primary responsibility for operational research in seismology and geomagnetism by agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and 10 units of NOAA were transferred to the Geological Survey.
In 1976, Congress transferred jurisdiction of the Petroleum Reserve in Alaska from the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Interior, effective June 1, 1977. Responsibility for administration of the continuing petroleum exploration program on the Reserve and operation of the South Barrow Gas Field was delegated to the Director of the Survey. The new activity brought with it a 50-percent increase in funds, but most of the increase was for contractual services.
In September 1977, Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus announced that he had accepted McKelvey's resignation as Director but that McKelvey would remain with the Survey as a research scientist. From 1978 until his death at his home in St. Cloud, Florida, Dr. McKelvey continued to work as senior research geologist for the Geological Survey and also taught at the Florida Institute of Technology during the early 1980s.
Awards and honors
- 1963 - Distinguished Service Award, Department of the Interior
- 1972 - Career Service Award from the National Civil Service League
- 1973 - Rockefeller Public Service Award
- 1975 - Honorary Degree - Syracuse University
- 1977 - Special Award for Meritorious Service from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
- 1977 - Distinguished Public Service Award from the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
- 1978 - 6,680-foot-high peak in the Thiel Mountains of Antarctica was named for him by the Interior Department's Board on Geographic names
- 1979 - Human Needs Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
- Honorary Degree - South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- There is an annual scientific symposium in his honor, the V.E. McKelvey Forum on Mineral and Energy Resources
- A building on the Menlo Park, California campus of the USGS is named in his honor
- "Subsea mineral resources" US Geological Survey bulletin No. 1689-A (1986)
- McKelvey, V. E. and Nancy A. Wright and Roger W. Bowen, "Analysis of the world distribution of metal-rich subsea manganese nodules" US Geological Survey Circular No. 886, 1983.
- "Investigations needed to stimulate the development of Jordan's mineral resources" US Geological Survey Open-file Report No. 79-1569. 1979
- "The collected speeches of Dr. V. E. McKelvey, Director, U.S. Geological Survey, 1971-1977" US Geological Survey, 1978
- "The oceans : the national and international policy frontier" Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1976.
- "Subsea mineral resources and problems related to their development" US Geological Survey Circular No. 619, 1969.
- "Search for uranium in the United States" US Geological Survey and the US Atomic Energy Commission. Trace elements investigations report No. 476, 1954
- "Search for uranium in the United States" US Geological Survey bulletin No. 1030-A, 1955
- "Search for uranium in western United States" US Geological Survey and the US Atomic Energy Commission. Trace elements investigations report No. 199, 1953
- Saxon, Wolfgang (1987-01-26). "Obituary: Dr. Vincent E. McKelvey, 70; Once Led Geological Agency". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- USGS History: A New Age Begins - accessed January 10, 2009
- Geophysics: The Leading Edge of Exploration - accessed January 10, 2009
- Portrait of Vincent McKelvey from U.S. Geological Survey Museum Collection
- Two photographs of Vincent E. McKelvey from U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library (Portraits Collection)
- Photograph of Vincent E. McKelvey from U.S. Geological Survey History (USGS: A New Age Begins)