Alfred Balch

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Alfred Balch
Alfred H. Balch headshot new.png
BSc Geology
PhD Geophysics
BSc university Stanford University
PhD university Colorado School of Mines

Alfred H. Balch (May 22, 1928 - May 23, 2014) was a geophysicist noted for his work in many areas of exploration geophysics research, including mining geophysics, seismic stratigraphy and vertical seismic profiling (VSP). Dr. Balch had a long career in exploration geophysics research in industry, government and academia. He served as a research professor of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines from 1986-1998. Among a number of accolades he was a recipient of the EAEG (now EAGE) Hagedoorn Award and of a Fulbright Professorship to teach at Moscow State University. Dr. Balch published an early monograph on case studies of vertical seismic profiling, which he updated with M. W. Lee in 1984.[1]


Alfred H. Balch Sr., 86, of Golden, Colorado, USA, died peacefully on 23 May 2014 at Collier Hospice Center after an extended battle with pancreatic cancer, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Manie B. Balch; his three children, Susan Balch Clapham (David) of Wellesley, Massachusetts; Alfred H. Balch Jr. (Sharon), of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Christopher C. Balch (Jeanie) of Louisville, Colorado; and grandchildren Katharine, Rebekah, Julia, and Charlotte Clapham, and Michael, Christopher, Elizabeth, Louisa, and John Balch. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Benjamin Clapham.

Balch met the love of his life, Manie, on a blind date while stationed in California, married her after a whirlwind courtship, and celebrated their 61st anniversary in May. An active father and community volunteer, he helped to bring a Little League organization to Littleton, Colorado, where he also coached a number of soccer teams. An Eagle Scout himself, he was active with the local Boy Scouts for many years. Among the many honors received during his long professional career, Balch was particularly proud of being awarded a Fulbright Professorship to lecture and teach at Moscow State University,  Born in Manhattan, Kansas, to Katharine and Walter Balch, Balch spent most of his youth in California. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in geology in 1950, he joined the U.S. Navy and served for three years on destroyers during the Korean War. He began his professional career in the oil industry with Phillips Petroleum, returning to graduate school at Colorado School of Mines in 1957, and received his doctorate in geophysics in 1964. After a career as a research geophysicist in oil exploration, he became a research professor at Colorado School of Mines in 1986 and retired in 1998 to pursue his love of the Colorado outdoors — bicycling and skiing and passionately following the vicissitudes of the Denver Broncos. [2]


  1. Balch, A. H. and M. W. Lee (1984) Vertical Seismic Profiling : Technique Applications and Case Histories, International Human Resource Development Corporation, Boston.
  2. Bill Schneider (2014). ”Memorial.” Memorial, 33(11), 1300–1300.

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