Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Cori Crawford
May 6, 2001 Public Relations
(805) 682-4711 ext. 348

Merger with Dibblee Geological Foundation Will Create New Center
for Earth Sciences at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Thomas W. Dibblee, Jr. Geological Foundation and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History have announced plans for a merger that would bring the lifelong work of legendary field geologist, Tom Dibblee, to fruition and ultimately create an endowed center for geology at the Museum.

Mr. Dibblee, age 90, who still occasionally walks the Central Coast’s back country with students and fellow geologists, has devoted 75 years of his life to mapping California geology – crisscrossing one fourth of the state on foot.

“Most field geologists aspire to produce one map or a small section of a map in their career,” said John Powell, President of the Dibblee Geological Foundation. “Mr. Dibblee has mapped more than 500 quadrangles of California geology. “He is a living-legend for good reason,” he said. “The Dibblee Geological Foundation has published 110 of those quadrangles over the last 18 years. We intend to publish the remainder over the next several years in partnership with the Museum.”
Mr. Dibblee is a descendant of Jose de la Guerra, pioneer settler of Santa Barbara, and Ebenezer Dibblee, an immigrant to California from Massachusetts in the 19th century. He grew up on the historic San Julian Ranch located near Lompoc, California. Among his many achievements, in 1948 he discovered the important Cuyama oil field in the Transverse Ranges of California while working for the Richfield Oil Corporation. In recognition of his work, Richfield named the main oil-producing horizon the "Dibblee Sand”.

The merger, announced by Mr. Powell and Museum Executive Director, Dr. Karl Hutterer, will result in the establishment of the Thomas W. Dibblee Jr. Center for Earth Sciences, and will be endowed by Mr. Dibblee and other supporters of geology. The Center will initially focus upon field geology and the publication of the Dibblee geologic maps. It will eventually encompass a broad range of geological activities and services.
The Dibblee Center will house the archive of Mr. Dibblee’s original field sheets, geologic field records, as well as his collections of minerals, fossils, and marbles.

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“The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is pleased and proud to be able to preserve and cultivate the legacy of Tom Dibblee, who has done so much to help us understand the dynamic forces that have shaped our land,” said Dr. Hutterer. “Tom Dibblee is an icon of our community and a major influence in the history of California geology.”
“I am very appreciative of the Dibblee Geological Foundation and the Museum for creating this agreement, which is an honor for me and will be helpful to the understanding of geology in the future,” said Mr. Dibblee from his home, only a few blocks from the Museum.
The Museum expects to begin operation of the Dibblee Center, and to take over production and distribution of the Dibblee geologic maps, beginning in early 2003.

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