Steve Danbom

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Steve Danbom
Steve Danbom headshot.png
Membership Life Member


Steve Danbom is being awarded Life Membership for his widespread service to SEG and affiliated societies and his technical contributions to shear-wave exploration and near-surface geophysics. He served on the SEG Executive Committee as Second Vice-President in 2005–2006, has co-edited SEG’s book on Shear-Wave Exploration and co-authored an SEG book on Near Surface Geophysics, and has taught courses for the SEG on modeling and near-surface geophysics. He is Past-President of SEG’s Near-Surface Geophysics Section, served the Geophysical Society of Houston as President and Secretary, and the Geophysical Society of Tulsa as First Vice-President. Most recently, Steve provided early leadership for SEAM (SEG Advanced Modeling Project) and helped organize the Challenge Bowl.

Biography Citation for SEG Life Membership 2010

Contributed by Robert Corbin


I feel deeply honored to write this citation for Life Membership in SEG for my friend Steve Danbom. He is a multitalented individual who brings energy and a sense of organization to any endeavor. As a 41-year member of SEG, he exemplifies the Society’s mission to promote the use and development of geophysics.

I first met Steve during the Conoco-led shear-wave group shoot in 1978. He represented Sun Oil Company and I was assisting the Conoco coordinator of the project. Soon after that, Steve went to the University of Oklahoma, where he was an associate professor of geophysics for two years before joining the Technology Department at Conoco as a Senior Research Geophysicist in 1980. At Conoco, Steve immediately made an impact working to enhance the multicomponent seismology effort. He led several research and exploration projects to acquire, process, and interpret multicomponent seismic data and served as a champion of shear-wave exploration within the company. Steve was an acknowledged industry leader in this effort and along with Norman Domenico, wrote a chapter reviewing the status of shear-wave exploration and co-edited the 1987 SEG publication Shear-Wave Exploration.

In 1986, Steve made a major change in technical focus when he became Director of the Geosciences Group for Conoco’s Environmental Services Division. Using skills developed during his thesis work, Steve started the near-surface geophysics part of his career when he directed a group that conducted environmental site investigations using geophysical, geological, and geohydrology tools within the DuPont Corporation. Steve’s responsibilities continued to expand in this area. He served as the Senior Consultant for the Conoco Remediation Technology Division, which had the responsibility for determining the risk to human health associated with various remediation options at corporate industrial sites.

After retiring from Conoco in 1999, Steve started his own consulting service in both near-surface and petroleum geophysics. Showing the breadth of his knowledge, Steve’s consulting work included writing many of the case histories of the Geophysical Development Corporation study AVO Calibration of GOM Deepwater: Results from 50 Fields, providing traveltime inversion for clients when reflection data were NR, and providing expert witness testimony for defense of seismic acquisition clients at trials. Steve has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth Science at Rice University since 2001. He currently teaches two courses in applied exploration seismology.

Steve has a special fondness for Texas Tech University (TTU), where he received a B.S. in mathematics and an M.S. in geophysics, for it was there he dated and married the love of his life, Susan. Steve was recently recognized as a distinguished Texas Tech alumni and appointed to the Chancellor’s Council.

He joined Sun Oil Company after leaving TTU and, during an educational leave, moved to Groton, Connecticut, where he received a Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Connecticut. There he developed and built a 3.5-KHz shallow-water acoustics system for sediment classification. Steve was an invited exchange professor at the China University of Geosciences – Beijing, where he presented the course “Through the looking glass of applied exploration geophysics” during March 2008.

He was accompanied by Susan and the experience was one of the highlights of his professional career. Steve serves as Vice-Chairman on the SEAM Board of Directors and also serves on the Audit Committee. He has been instrumental in promoting and hosting the Challenge Bowl during the SEG Annual Meeting and has helped sponsor Rice students in the contest. Steve’s talents extend beyond the workplace for he is an accomplished drummer/percussionist. He performs in church and civic orchestras and gives lessons to protégés interested in improving their skills. Above all Steve is a family man, who along with Susan, raised two wonderful children, Shannon and Scott.

It is fitting for SEG to recognize Steve for meritorious service and commitment to the profession he dearly loves.