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Awards

USGS Emeritus Scientist Keith Kvenvolden Honored at International Conference on Gas Hydrates

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U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Emeritus Scientist Keith Kvenvolden received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH) held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from July 6 to 10, 2008. Also present were numerous scientists from USGS programs in Coastal and Marine Geology, Energy Resources, and Earthquake Hazards who gave presentations at the conference and shared in the celebration of Kvenvolden's award.

The citation reads: "The Sixth International Conference on Gas Hydrates 2008 recognizes Dr. Keith A. Kvenvolden for his contributions to the study of marine gas hydrates. His work on the organic geochemistry of gas-hydrate systems throughout the world set the foundation for our understanding of the role gas hydrates play in the Earth's natural system."

A second Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Professor Yuri Makogon of Texas A&M University for his pioneering work on permafrost-associated gas hydrates.

Keith Kvenvolden holds the "Talking Stick" Kvenvolden's award
Above left: USGS Emeritus Scientist Keith Kvenvolden holds the "Talking Stick" given to him as part of the Lifetime Achievement Award he received at the 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates (July 2008) for his contributions to the study of marine gas hydrates.

Above right: Kvenvolden's award is a small version of Talking Sticks used by West Coast Natives for thousands of years as a symbol of speaking authority and respect for communication during ceremonial gatherings. Talking Sticks are typically about 4 ft long and carved with various animals and mystical family crests signifying human attributes. Kvenvolden's award, carved by Musqueam artist Joe Becker, depicts a raven, the spirit symbol of knowledge and intelligence.

The ICGH met for the first time in New York State in 1993 and has since met at various places throughout the world at 3-year intervals. The 6th ICGH was convened in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 2008. Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented for the first time at this most recent conference. The actual awards are unique in that they are small woodcarvings by a member of the Musqueam Indian Band, one of the groups of indigenous people in British Columbia. The 6th ICGH opened with a ceremony by representatives of the Squamish Nation, another indigenous group, in which a "Talking Stick" (a long—approx 4 ft—woodcarving of various animals signifying human attributes) was presented to the conference cochairmen. The Lifetime Achievement Awards presented at the conference are small versions of the Talking Stick, depicting a raven, the spirit symbol of knowledge and intelligence.

Kvenvolden joined the USGS Pacific-Arctic Branch of Marine Geology (now the Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team) in 1975. In 1979, he was designing a program for using organic geochemistry to evaluate the petroleum potential of the outer continental margins of the United States, and he and his collaborators began exploring for methane seeps as a means of identifying possible petroleum occurrences. At the time, Kvenvolden was also working with Mark McMenamin, a graduate student from the University of California, Santa Barbara, on a problem involving geochemical geochronology. Kvenvolden told McMenamin that he had seen some literature references to a substance called methane hydrate and asked him to investigate it. McMenamin quickly gathered enough information for the two of them to write a report titled "Hydrates of Natural Gas: A Review of Their Geologic Occurrence," which was published as USGS Circular 825. Their report established the importance of methane hydrate in marine sediment and essentially defined the geochemical program in methane hydrate that has been sustained at the USGS for almost 30 years.


Related Sound Waves Stories
Gas-Hydrate Research Wells Completed in the Canadian Arctic
April 2004
Chinese Scientists Visit USGS Gas-Hydrates Labs
October 2002
Gas-Hydrate Inventory on New Web Site
February 2001

Related Web Sites
Hydrates of Natural Gas: A Review of Their Geologic Occurrence
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
International Conference on Gas Hydrates

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Fieldwork
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Sea Otter Population Recovery Continues at Slower Rate

Scientists Map Arctic Sea Floor

Tribal Canoes Gather Water-Quality Data

Outreach
Raising Awareness of Water-Resource Issues

Sea Otter Awareness Week

MIT Students Visit USGS

Meetings Diversity in the USGS Workforce

Awards Kvenvolden Honored at International Conference

Staff Community-Use "Recyclabikes"

USGS Woods Hole Welcomes Hapke

Publications Coral Reefs of the USA

September 2008 Publications List


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