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Davidson, Martin J.1
(1) M.J. Davidson, Ltd, Dallas, TX

ABSTRACT: Early History of Surface Geochemical Exploration

History differs from science in many ways. History's focus is upon events and personalities, acting in many different settings.
Surface geochemical exploration (microseepage as opposed to macroseepage) was born in the mind of Gunter Laubmeyer during the 1920's at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin; one of the world's most prestigious institutions. It was embraced and brought to the United States by Dr. Ludwig W. Blau of the Standard Oil Development Company. Blau, one of the oil industry's leading geophysicists, had established the industry's first geophysical research laboratory in the early 1930's and had published the initial paper in the journal GEOPHYSICS. Surface geochemical exploration was initiated in the United States not by chemists nor by geologists but by geophysicists.
While Blau was never permitted to publish on the subject, he was responsible, however indirectly, for the creation of the first two commercial ventures to perform surface geochemical exploration. Geophysical Services, Incorporated (GSI) developed and used the DeGolyer-McDermott-Ransone method and Subterrex developed and used the Rosaire-Horvitz method.
V.A. Sokolov with the USSR Ministry of Geology advanced Laubmeyer's invention which led to the widespread use of surface geochemical exploration in the Soviet Union.
The paper will deal with the formation of the early surface geochemical contracting companies, some of their successes and failures, and some of the barriers they sought to overcome.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.