John Land

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John Land
John P. Land headshot.png

John P. (Jack) Land (6 June 1926 - 28 July 2014) was an American geophysicist.

Memorial [1]

John P. (Jack) Land died in Houston, Texas, on 28 July 2014, at 88 years of age. Jack worked in global geophysical exploration for 62 years. He was a specialist in micromagnetic techniques and an advocate of systematic, multidisciplinary programs for the identification, evaluation, and development of prospect leads. He will be remembered by his colleagues as a kind and gentle man with a determination to extract value from magnetic data with a specific focus on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Jack was a positive individual who lived his life by the “Golden Rule” and was deeply involved with Gethsemane United Methodist Church in Houston, where he sang in the chancel choir and was a Sunday-school teacher. He was also a Little League coach and a Boy Scout supporter.

Early Years and education

Jack was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on 6 June 1926 and lived in several locations as a child, including China, Hawaii, and the Philadelphia area. When he was 15, he was living with his parents, Dr. Joseph V. Land (U. S. Navy) and Margaret S. Land in Oahu, Hawaii, and he had vivid memories of low-flying Japanese aircraft overhead and the subsequent attack on Pearl Harbor. Jack later enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in World War II. He attended Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, where he met the love of his life, Dottie Adair. He graduated from Missouri School of Mines at the University of Missouri. Jack and Dottie were married for 62 years and had two children, John Land Jr. and Libby Land Passamonte; three grandchildren, Jackie Land, Jamie McCutchan, and Lindsay Passamonte; and five great-grandchildren, Savannah McAlpin, Makenna McAlpin, Kayla Land, Morgan McAlpin, and Dylan McCutchan.

Professional Career

Jack’s career included working for Keystone Exploration (1952–1954) on reflection-seismic crews in the Williston Basin and the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) (1954–1961) under the direction of Dr. W. P. Jenny, where the first-ever airborne micromagnetic survey was flown (approximately 1958) to help identify prospects of natural gas to provide power for the company’s bauxite-processing plant southwest of Houston. The objective of the survey was to identify micromagnetic-anomaly “prospect leads” that could lead to the discovery of hydrocarbons. The program was successful, enabling ALCOA to make new field discoveries and extensions to existing fields. This became one of Jack’s main career passions.

Jack formed Micromagnetics Associates of Houston (1961–1965) and worked for Petty Geo- physical (1965–1968) and for Geoterrex Ltd. (1968–1983), where he provided technical liaison with oil companies and conducted numerous nonexclusive aeromagnetic surveys in the Paradox Basin, Williston Basin, Viburnum Trend, and the Gulf of Mexico. Jack formed J. P. Land Associates, Inc. (1983–2008), where he designed, managed, and interpreted high-resolution aeromagnetic and surface magnetic surveys, performed quality control on airborne gravity and magnetic surveys in Peru and Argentina, and formed a marine archaeological exploration team, “The Explorer Group,” to use airborne magnetic surveys to locate sunken galleons in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Jack most recently worked for Sylvan Energy, conducting micromagnetic interpretation of Louisiana Gulf Coast data and providing interpretation training.

Jack published more than 10 articles on micromagnetic applications and spoke on the subject at many conferences over the years. He was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Association of Petroleum Geochemi- cal Explorationists, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and Houston Geological Society and was a cofounder of the Houston Potential Fields Group.

We will remember Jack as a passionate geophysicist, a kind and loving husband and father, a man with a strong religious conviction, a Marine (Semper Fi), and a good friend and counselor with a dry sense of humor, dressed in his tan slacks and golf shirt and enjoying his evening martini. We will miss him.


  1. Jeff Rowe (2015). ”| Memorial.” Memorial, 34(1), 112–112.