Maxey G B

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G B Maxey


GEORGE BURKE MAXEY 1917 (Bozeman, Montana, USA) - 1977 (Reno, Nevada, USA)


Burke Maxey was a brilliant man who inspired as well as stimulated many because of his outspoken and forthright manner. His death was untimely and unexpected. When he died he was Executive Director of the Desert Research Institute Water Resources Center, Reno.

He began his academic career at the University of Montana at Missoula where in 1939 he graduated with a BA in Geology. He then studied at Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, receiving an MSc in Geology in 1941.

He started his professional career with the USGS as a student aid in 1941 in the Water Resources Division in Salt Lake City and 1942 became a Junior Geologist working in Utah's Pavant Range and Flowell areas. In 1944 he was promoted to Assistant Geologist and moved to Las Vega, Nevada where he stayed for 2 years working on a hydrological evaluation of the Las Vegas valley that provided the basis for the Southern Nevada Water Project.

In 1946 he was again promoted to Associate Geologist and moved to Ely Nevada where he worked with Tom Eakin and others to provide a basis for the estimation of groundwater recharge in the arid region of Eastern Nevada. The relationships formed the basis for the utilisation of groundwater in Nevada law for the next 50 years.

In 1948 Maxey went to Princeton University to continue his studies and was awarded a PhD in 1951, already in 1949 obtaining a position at the University of Connecticut at Storrs as an Instructor in Geology, progressing to Associate Professor before leaving in 1955. During that time he also undertook overseas missions for the USGS and Agency for International Development in Tiploi, Libya.

In 1955 he joined the Illinois Geological Survey as Geologist and Head of the Division of Groundwater Geology and Geophysical Exploration with a joint appointment as Professor of Geology at the University of Illinois. He remained until 1962 when he was recruited to run the Hydrology Department at the new Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, where he rained for the rest of his career. He built a program that ranged across groundwater, surface water, water chemistry, water resources engineering and water resources planning.

His professional career and contributions were highlighted in 1972 when the Geological Society of America presented him with the Meinzer Award for his paper on "Hydrogeology of Desert Basins". He also played an important role in the development and eventual passage by Congress of the Water Resources Research Act of 1964, which contributed significantly to advance the water sciences through both research and training.

After his death the Dr. George B. Maxey Scholarship for Graduate Studies in Hydrology and Hydrogeology was established at the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

George Maxey made numerous imporant contributions to the study of water resources, especially in the fields of hydrogeology and water resources planning. He was a founder editor of the Journal of Hydrology in 1963, with special responsibility for the applied aspects of the science.

Reference Material[edit]

Source: Dixey, F, 1977, In memoriam George Burke Maxey (1917 -1977), Journal of Hydrology, 34 (i977) I--II

Source: Cochran, G F, George Burke MNaxey: A lasting influence on the Course of Modern Hydrology, Memorial address presented at the 4th National Ground Water Quality Symposium, Minneapolis, September 1978

Major Publications[edit]

Maxey, G.B. and Eakin, T.E., 1949. Ground water in White River Valley, White Pine, Nye, and Lincoln Counties, Nevada. Nevada State Engineer.

Bredehoeft, J.D., Blyth, C.R., White, W.A. and Maxey, G.B., 1963. Possible mechanism for concentration of brines in subsurface formations. AAPG Bulletin, 47(2), pp.257-269.

Maxey, G.B. and Hackett, J.E., 1963. Applications of geohydrologic concepts in geology. Journal of Hydrology, 1(1), pp.35-45.

Maxey, G.B., 1964. Hydrostratigraphic units. Journal of hydrology, 2(2), pp.124-129.

Maxey, G.B. and Mifflin, M.D., 1966. Occurrence and movement of ground water in carbonate rocks of Nevada. Natl Speleol Soc Bull, 3(29), pp.141-157.

Maxey, G.B., 1968. Hydrogeology of desert basins. Ground Water, 6(5), pp.10-22.

Behnke, J.J. and Maxey, G.B., 1969. An empirical method for estimating monthly potential evapotranspiration in Nevada. Journal of Hydrology, 8(4), pp.418-430.

Maxey, G.B., 1979. The Meinzer era of US hydrogeology, 1910–1940. Journal of Hydrology, 43(1), pp.1-6.