William P. Haseman

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William P. Haseman (d. 1932) was a former head of the Department of Physics at the University of Oklahoma and a pioneer in the development of the reflection seismic prospecting method.


(The following is quoted in its entirety from the section entitled EARLIEST EXPERIMENTAL SEISMIC WORK IN U. S. 1921)

"The late W. P. Haseman, former head of the Department of Physics, University of Oklahoma, and later head of the Research Department of the Marland Oil Company, played an important role in the early days of applied seismology in the United States. During World War I, Dr. Haseman was in the employ of of the National Bureau of Standards, Washington D.C. He engaged in research concerning various sorts of depth and distance finders employing the use of sound. After the war, he started research on his own account, and after receiving financial assistance in Oklahoma City he constructed some seismic equipment. Some of his first seismometers were carbon-granule type. During June of 1921, Dr. Haseman did some experimental work for the Marland Oil Company. Mississippi reflections were thought to have been observed at the Mervine field northeast of Ponca City, Oklahoma. Attempts were also made near Ponca City, Salt Fork and Gotebo.

Our Paul Johnson informs us that during 1922, while he was working for Dr. Haseman, dynamite was discharged from an airplane in flight near White Eagle, south of Ponca City, in an experimental attempt to obtain improvement of seismic waves associated with more nearly 'plane' wave. The pilot was Frank Wigton.

William Schriever has written an interesting contribution about his early work in the October, 1952 issue of GEOPHYSICS, Reflection Seismograph Prospecting - How it Started. We believe the person in the photo on page 942 to be our Paul Johnson rather than Reginald Ryan, as given in the article.[2]

Extreme success was not attained during these early experiments but much of the present day seismograph work is directly traceable to that time. Among Dr. Haseman's aids during that early work were Dr. E. A. Eckhardt, Dr. J. C. Karcher and Dr. Burton McCollum. It is well known that many of those actively engaged in seismic work at present received at least a part of their training from those constituting Dr. Haseman's early staff. Dr. Haseman and Dr. Eckhardt were later employed by the Marland Oil Company to direct research while Dr. Karcher and Dr. McCollum organized consulting companies."


  1. Searcy, F. ed., Geophysics - the first fifty years, 1975, Continental Oil Company, p. 1a,2a.
  2. Schriever, W. (1952). ”REFLECTION SEISMOGRAPH PROSPECTING—HOW IT STARTED.” GEOPHYSICS, 17(4), 936–942. doi: 10.1190/1.1437831[1]