Frank Morrison

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Frank Morrison
Frank Morrison headshot.png
Membership Honorary Member

Frank Morrison was awarded SEG Honorary Membership in 1999 for his major contributions as an educator and for his role in transferring electromagnetic concepts to industry. Frank has a passion for and thorough understanding of EM theory and practice, enabling him to teach the theory, to build an instrument that works, and to process the data. Frank has transferred EM technology to industry through industry consortia, which include state-of-the-art instrumentation, interpretation, and application, and through his participation in the company ElectroMagnetic Instruments.

Biography Citation for SEG Honorary Membership

Contributed by David L. Alumbaugh

As one of H. Frank Morrison’s former graduate students, it gives me great pleasure to write this citation for his SEG Honorary Membership. I met Frank during a tour of graduate schools that took me to the University of California at Berkeley. During that meeting I found myself attracted to his enthusiasm about geophysics and the fact that he had instilled that same level of interest in his students. Now I find that I carry that same enthusiasm, something that makes my career in applied geophysics enjoyable and rewarding, and for much of this I have Frank to thank.

Frank earned his B.S. degree in physics and geology in 1959 and his master’s in geology in 1961, both from McGill University in Canada. Shortly after finishing his master’s, he began studying engineering science at Berkeley. He focused initially in trying to better understand induced polarization but, due to the amount of chemistry required, soon switched to studying the magnetotelluric technique. After finishing his doctorate in 1967, it was suggested that he should stick around for a while to help out with teaching/research. He is still there, 30-plus years later, and holds the Plato Malozemoff Chair in Mineral Engineering.

Frank has made many noteworthy contributions to applied electrical methods in geophysics. General topics in which he has had significant impact include: better understanding of the physics governing electromagnetic field diffusion and propagation in a layered earth; development and testing of a novel superconducting electromagnetic prospecting device; advancement in magnetotelluric instrumentation, data acquisition, theory, and interpretation; and development and testing of crosswell electromagnetic characterization techniques. He has also been moderately involved in the development of 2-D and 3-D electrical and electromagnetic modeling codes. He holds two patents, one for the superconducting prospecting device and one for a noninvasive method to characterize corrosion within cement. Although his work has focused on applied geophysics, he has done significant basic research and has many publications on electrical measurements for earthquake prediction and deep crustal investigations.

Frank has also had an impact in the commercial world. In 1984 he and a group of students formed ElectroMagnetic Instruments. The initial goal was to market and produce magnetotelluric measurement systems. The company grew over the years and recently diversified by forming a Borehole Division that researches and develops singlewell and crosswell electromagnetic induction systems. EMI equipment can be found throughout the world in both industrial and academic settings. Frank has remained actively involved with EMI since its inception and is currently the company’s principal consultant. Frank’s teaching has produced 21 master’s degrees and 32 doctorates. Most students found rewarding careers in the oil and mineral industries, government research institutions, as geophysical consultants, or at a university.

His interactions with students are as a friend as well as a mentor. At a recent conference, several former students (myself included) were talking about how well Frank understands the physics of electrical and electromagnetic prospecting and how well he explains it. I believe this great understanding of the basic physics and the ability to convey it in an understandable manner is what makes him a great teacher, researcher, and geophysicist.

In conclusion I must again comment on Frank’s enthusiasm for geophysics and his ability to maintain this enthusiasm through the ups and downs of the industry. Although he is eligible for retirement, I don’t expect it to happen soon. To quote Frank himself, he is “... still having too much fun.” I consider him a good friend, an excellent scientist, and am honored to write this citation.