Kansas Geological Survey
Fall 1999
Vol. 5.3

Survey Has New Director


"Directing the Kansas Geological Survey is one of the best jobs in geology in the country."



Survey Has New Director–page 1

From the Director–page 2

Earth Science Week–page 2

New Publications–page 3

Field Conference–page 3

A Place To Visit–page 4




Lee Allison, formerly the state geologist at Utah, is the new state geologist of Kansas and director of the Kansas Geological Survey. Allison is the ninth director in the history of the Kansas Survey, founded at the University of Kansas in 1889.

The decision to move from Utah to Kansas, Allison said, was based on several factors. "Most important was the reputation of the Kansas Survey. Its quality and its impact in the geologic community are well known."

The Kansas Survey's setting, as a division of KU, was also a factor. The Utah Geological Survey is part of that state's Department of Natural Resources, and is subject to changing political climates (a situation Allison described as "frustrating").

"The Kansas Survey has a statewide mission, but is housed within a university setting," said Allison. "Directing the Kansas Survey is one of the best jobs in geology in the country."

Allison began in Kansas in July 1999. He replaces Lee Gerhard, who directed the Kansas Survey from 1986 to 1999. Gerhard will remain at the Survey as principal geologist.

A native of Pennsylvania, Allison has an undergraduate degree in geology from the University of California-Riverside, a master's degree in geology from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Massachusetts.

Allison was the state geologist in Utah for ten years. While in Utah, he served as general chairman for annual meetings of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America, the two largest professional geoscience societies. Before directing the Utah Survey, he was a senior geologist at the University of Utah Research Institute, an exploration geologist for Standard oil Production Company in Texas, and a development and exploration geologist for Chevron in California.

Much of Allison's Utah work focused on geologic hazards, natural resources, and providing earth-science information. His priorities in Kansas are similar. "The Kansas Survey is a player in a variety of issues," he said. "We're involved with ground water and oil and gas, two important components of the Kansas economy. Geologic hazards are an issue too."

Though Allison has only been in Kansas for a few months, he has identified at least three areas of priority: improving internal communication, building a stronger geologic coalition on the KU campus, and producing and disseminating more information through the Survey's Geology Extension Program and the Data Access and Support Center.

"We need to pay as much attention to disseminating information as we do to producing information," he said. "We need an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to getting data analyzed, disseminated, and used."

Allison also has some longer-term goals in mind. "We need to look at where the Survey wants to be in 10 or 20 years—what is the role of geology in understanding ecosystems, where does geology fit in the issue of global climate change, what are the opportunities for Web-based and digital approaches to providing data? These are exciting issues. The people of Kansas have supported the Survey well. We have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of a diversity of issues that are relevant to the people of Kansas."

Lee Allison, Kansas Geological Survey Director and State Geologist.
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