THANK YOU to Vince Matthews

Title: THANK YOU to Vince Matthews

Authors: Laura Wray and Matt Silverman

Publication: The Outcrop, May 2013, p. 36

In the coming months, the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) is scheduled to move to the Colorado School of Mines campus, separating it from the other Department of Natural Resources’ agencies located near the State Capital. Though we do not yet know all the details of the plan to downsize and move the CGS, it is high time to recognize the contributions of the CGS staff and especially of its previous director and former State Geologist, Vince Matthews.

Vince served as the State Geologist for almost nine years and was with the Survey three years before that. As the director of the Survey, he led the CGS in fulfilling its primary mission of serving the citizens of Colorado. Vince and his staff conducted research and published results in a great number of areas including petroleum resources, coal and mineral commodities, land use issues, geological hazards, surface and groundwater studies, acid mine drainage testing and remediation, CO2 sequestration research, avalanche monitoring and forecasting, geological mapping, and technical compilation of publications related to all these topics.

Among other awards made to Vince’s staff, we can all be particularly proud of three recognized by the Geological Society of America (GSA) in cooperation with the Association of American State Geologists (AASG). The John C. Frye national award in Environmental Geology has been granted to the CGS an unprecedented three times in the last decade for: the 2006 “Groundwater Atlas of Colorado,” the 2009 “Collapsible Soils in Colorado,” and the 2012 “Natural Acid Rock Drainage Associated with Hydrothermally Altered Terrain in Colorado.” The latter award, supported with letters from the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, and the Department of Public Health and Environment, documents that acid waters that enter Colorado streams in a number of mining districts come from natural sources, rather than or in addition to existing mine drainage.

Many in the RMAG community heard Vince present a talk entitled “The Global Scramble form Natural Resources – Its Impact on Colorado.” This paper contrasted the history of Colorado mineral commodity discoveries and price fluctuations with the burgeoning worldwide demand for these commodities. Vince’s primary message to the citizens of Colorado was to recognize the value of these commodities for the future economic well-being of the state and to develop environmentally sound protocols for the documentation and extraction of these resources in the face of foreign efforts to buy up these resources.

Vicki Cowart, the State Geologist who preceded Vince, recognized Vince’s service to the state and his extensive history of serving the profession of geology. She and Vince served on the Association of Women Geoscientists (AWG) Foundation decades ago, “impressed that a man of his distinctive career, and frankly success, would join AWG to work to improve the standing and opportunities for women in the field.” In 2000, Vince agreed to join the staff of the CGS under Vicki’s leadership. “What a delight it was to be working side-by-side with him and the other talented leaders of the CGS to move it forward into the new century,” she wrote. When her career path eventually led her away from the CGS several years later, she was reassured by Vince’s appointment as her replacement that his experience in industry and academia would give him the necessary experience to oversee the technical fields in which the CGS worked. “He truly took the CGS to its next level, and the citizens of Colorado and the field of geology are the better for it,” Vicki said.Vince has established a consulting company, Leadville Geology, and will no doubt continue to be active in the Colorado geological community. We look forward to his participation in future geologic endeavors while taking this opportunity to thank Vince for his many significant contributions to the state and its citizens during his tenure as the State Geologist. Thank you Vince!