Albert W. Bally is a Dutch-American geophysicist and geologist. He is a pioneer in the field of seismic structural geology and its application in the petroleum industry.
Bally received his doctorate in geology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland in 1952. He served as a post-doctoral at Lamont-Doherty Geophysical Observatory of Columbia University. From 1954 until his retirement in 1981, he worked as a geologist at Shell Oil. His initial employment was with Shell Canada in Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. In 1966 he produced a classic study of folding dynamics when only a thin sedimentary surface layer is present. From 1966 he served as head of the geological research for the Shell's Bellaire Research and Development Laboratory in Houston. This time his attention turned to the sediments of the Gulf of Mexico. He recognized the role of salt tectonics and the relationship to petroleum deposits.
In 1976 Bally was chief geologist of the U.S. division of Shell Oil, first as Exploration Consultant in 1968, and then as Senior Exploration Consultant 1976. After Bally retired from Shell, he became a professor of geology at Rice University .
As a petroleum geologist, Bally was a pioneer in the integration of the methods of reflection seismology with stratigraphic and structural geology research. He arranged for the publication of research results in a series of geological publications and made atlases publicly available. Bally was one of the initiators of the national U.S. Edge project for seismic exploration of the continental margins. In 1987 he received the Gustav-Steinmann Medal . He also received the 1998 Career Contribution Award of Structural Geology and Tectonics Division of the Geological Society of America , the Sidney Powers Medal from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the William Smith Medal of the Geological Society of London. In 1988 he was Centennial President of the Geological Society of America.