The RMAG Newsletter: A Technological Aphrodisiac? (Part 2 of 3)

Title: The RMAG Newsletter: A Technological Aphrodisiac? (Part II of a Three Part Series)
Author: Hugh N. Krye, former Outcrop Roving Reporter
Publication: The Outcrop, July 2003, p. 12-13

Editors’ note: The following history of the RMAG Outcrop was originally written for the special issue of the Mountain Geologist commemorating the 75th anniversary of RMAG. It was recently submitted to us by longtime contributor Ripley Marks, who discovered it languishing behind his kitchen stove. We have elected to run it us a three-part series, and hope that you find it both entertaining and informative.

By 1960, employment problems occupied much space, with the Jobs Wanted listings rising to 42 biographies covering 4 1/2 pages. Only the USGS was hiring geologists at GS-5 and GS-7 levels for $5,335 and $6,345 a year respectively. Even so, the first list of RMAG Publications For Sale, philosophical articles on life and living, limericks and some serious poetry were also featured.

Employment and depletion problems continued through the next couple of years, along with opposition to an AAPG dues increase. In 1962, the masthead was moved to the inside front cover, with the vacated cover being devoted to hype for the Golf Tourney and Stag Party and other major events. Highlights included reports of four geologists joining the Peace Corps in Tanganyika, articles by Maury Travis on survival in the Rockies during nuclear war and announcement by the Salt Lake AAPG-RMS convention committee that there would be “no theme and no time limit an papers!”

In early 1963, the first picture of new officers appeared. This was followed in July by a cartoon promotion of the Stag Party that was to presage future problems. Many offsetting positive items, however, included start of the first regular President’s Page by Art Brunton, proposal for a “Professional Journal” by Steve Oriel, itineraries for “Do-lt-Yourself Field Trips” by Maynard Boos and a long article on “Students and the Automobile” by Judge Sherman Finesilver. Filler material featured a poll (90% in favor) and discussion on the founding of AIPG in Golden and the evils of competition by federal agencies with consulting geologists.

John Rold passionately expanded the President’s Page in 1964 and lengthy discussions for and against proposed certification by AAPG left little room or inclination for humor. Nevertheless, jokes made a comeback in 1965 and Gunther Von Gotsche began his long-running contributions of clever cartoon commentaries. Others, however, were responsible for the May and June cover and inside full page cartoons crudely hyping the Golf Tourney and Stag Party, which probably represent the all-time high for bad taste in an RMAG publication. Also of interest, the Personal column was renamed Revisions, Moves and Gyrations and the first non-government job opportunity appeared in the Help Wanted column.

In 1966, the editorial reins were assumed by John Dolloff. A modernized format was designed and appeared with the march issue. In August, a letter to the editor, praising the first AAPG Geological Highway Map, appeared that was to be the first of a long series of philosophical comments on current events and personal achievements and problems by Ripley and Lamina Marks and various relatives and associates. Ripley even announced as a candidate for Past President that fall.

By 1967, the reactivation of the Colorado Geological Survey, a proposed “RMAG Atlas,” proclamation of a Colorado Geology Week by the Governor, an RMAG TV Series on geology and discussion of the Ruedi Dam controversy were prominent items. Self-appointed RMAG Poet Laureate, Maury Travis, contributed efforts urging cooperation between geologists and engineers and support for the new COS. Ripley responded with “The Driller’s Lament,” an earthquake prediction contest and Allen Dille contributed the first comic strip. Industry trends were reflected by the 65 new members that were listed in the December issue alone!

The remainder of the 1960s saw attention given to emerging concerns. These included toxic waste disposal, the southeastern Colorado play, assumption of the CGS directorship by John Rold, a proposed AAPG Division of Mineral Economics, need for education in hydrology, uses for stereo contour maps and side-looking radar, and John Love’s Colorado Governor’s Conference an Environmental Geology. Jokes were phased out once more and replaced by contributions from Maury Travis, correspondence from the Recluse and Ekalaka Geological Societies and announcement of an Atlas prepublication price of $25.

Effects of the 1970’s boom years were accurately reflected in the pages of the Newsletter. The decade opened with promotion of the monumental Geologic Atlas, controversy over politics and energy policy and 3 1/2 pages of reminiscences by 89-year-old Frank Rinker Clark, discoverer af the Yates field and AAPG Powers Medalist. Heated exchanges between AIPG and AAPG over registration, environmental and pollution concerns and a proposed Colorado licensing law were addressed. And, perhaps reflecting the maturing of the love affair, jokes were gone, having been largely replaced by fascinating bits of trivia.

By 1973, the membership had survived an AAPG-SEPM national meeting, booming Atlas sales at $50 a copy, highly controversial overnight joint field trips with Desk and Derrick, erudite articles on tradition by Bob Chancellor and RMAG history, poetry and book reviews by Ripley. And, in December, the first and only issue in which there were more “Positions Available” listed than “Available Geologists.”

In April 1974, the Newsletter went to a 2-column photo offset reduction printing scheme that allowed presentation of much more copy in the available space. The partial year of use of this method resulted in publication of about 77,865 words on 102 pages in 1974, as opposed to only 60,900 words on 140 pages in 1973, and savings to PI of over 75,000 pieces of paper. Sophisticated humorous articles and illustrations lauding the disproportionate increase of the women geologists’ membership share in the roster prompted the first critical response from the women’s lib movement and an appropriate rebuttal from the editor defending and defining the Newsletter’s editorial policy.

Mid-decade saw a continuation of lighthearted repartee between the sexes, the first “Geologist of the Month” column featuring Henrietta “Hank” O’Hare by reporter Hugh N. Krye, as well as extensive coverage of the FERC, governmental involvement with industry and the encouragement of political action activities by members.

These trends continued through 1979 with in-depth attention to coal technology, geothermal, governmental land administration and RARE II, articulate monthly reports by the busy RMAG Political Affairs Action Council (PAAC) in 1978, as did continuing coverage of the state line diamond boom. To these were added Lamina Marks’ first photo roster gender demographic analysis and graph… and complaints regarding tasteless letters to the editor were resumed.

To be continued…