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Thomas S. Lovering

(1896 –1991)


2007 Inductee from Mining's Past


Thomas Lovering was born on May 12, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His career is marked by broad experience in ores that began with his training as a Naval Aviator in the First World War. He returned to school and received an E.M. degree from the Minnesota School of Mines in 1923, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in economic geology in 1926 from the University of Minnesota. His graduate studies at Minnesota were influenced by Frank Grout and John Gruner, who stimulated life-long interests in the hydrothermal processes that form ores. His subsequent employment cycled between teaching and government work. After a year of teaching at the University of Arizona, he joined the U. S. Geological Survey in 1925 to conduct studies of mining districts in the Colorado Front Range under the supervision of B. S. Butler. Here he refined his interpretations of hydrothermal alteration from studies in the Colorado tungsten districts. He returned to teaching at the University of Michigan in 1934, but maintained work with the U.S.G.S., ultimately publishing professional papers on tungsten, precious, and base metal districts. He rejoined the U.S. Geological Survey, taking leave from Michigan, during the Second World War to assist the Strategic Metals Program.

His wartime work led to concern about domestic metal resources and a focus on methods of discovery of hidden ore bodies. He studied the alteration of the deeply concealed ore bodies at Tintic, Utah, as a full-time U.S.G.S. employee. This work at Tintic resulted in maps and interpretations of alteration that facilitated discoveries at East Tintic. He was appointed chief of the U.S.G.S. section of Geochemical Exploration and retired as a senior research scientist in the Geologic Division in 1966 at age 70. During retirement, he was a Research Professor at the University of Arizona and lectured at the University of Texas and the University of Utah.

Tom Lovering was a member of the National Academy of Science, a recipient of the “Distinguished Service Medal” of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the “Penrose Gold Medal” of the Society of Economic Geologists, the “Daniel C. Jackling Award”, the American Institute of Mining, and Metallurgical Engineers, and the “Achievement Award” of the University of Minnesota. Tom Lovering was a conscientious teacher and scientist who brought to colleagues and students the personal and professional habits of dedicated work, high ethical standards and intellectual honesty. He made fundamental contributions to the knowledge of ores, geology of mineral regions and mineral exploration.


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