Kenneth S. Deffeyes

Last updated
Kenneth S. Deffeyes
Born(1931-12-26)26 December 1931
Oklahoma City
Died 29 November 2017(2017-11-29) (aged 85) [1]
La Jolla, California
Nationality United States
Occupation geologist, author, professor
Title Professor Emeritus

Kenneth S. Deffeyes was a geologist who worked with M. King Hubbert, the creator of the Hubbert peak theory, at the Shell Oil Company research laboratory in Houston, Texas. Deffeyes holds a B.S. in petroleum geology from the Colorado School of Mines and a Ph.D. in geology from Princeton University, studying under F.B. van Houten. [2] In 1967 he began teaching at Princeton, where he was professor emeritus. He claimed Chickasaw ancestry. [3]

Geologist Scientist who studies geology

A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences are also useful. Field work is an important component of geology, although many subdisciplines incorporate laboratory work.

M. King Hubbert American geoscientist

Marion King Hubbert was an American geologist and geophysicist. He worked at the Shell research lab in Houston, Texas. He made several important contributions to geology, geophysics, and petroleum geology, most notably the Hubbert curve and Hubbert peak theory, with important political ramifications. He was often referred to as "M. King Hubbert" or "King Hubbert".

Hubbert peak theory

The Hubbert peak theory says that for any given geographical area, from an individual oil-producing region to the planet as a whole, the rate of petroleum production tends to follow a bell-shaped curve. It is one of the primary theories on peak oil.


"Deffeyes is a big man with a tenured waistline. His hair flies behind him like Ludwig van Beethoven. He lectures in sneakers. His voice is syllabic, elocutionary, operatic. ... His surname rhymes with 'the maze.' "—John Mcphee, Basin and Range (1981) [4]

Ludwig van Beethoven German classical and romantic composer

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most recognised and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies; 5 piano concertos; 1 violin concerto; 32 piano sonatas; 16 string quartets; a mass, the Missa solemnis; and an opera, Fidelio. His career as a composer is conventionally divided into early, middle, and late periods; the "early" period is typically seen to last until 1802, the "middle" period from 1802 to 1812, and the "late" period from 1812 to his death in 1827.

In John McPhee's 1981 book Basin and Range, about the origin of Basin and Range topography, Deffeyes teaches geology to McPhee and his readers by analyzing road cuts and the exposed geologic strata that resulted from the construction of Interstate highway 80. [5] On one trip, Deffeyes picked up a piece of Triassic shale near Paterson, New Jersey to demonstrate a common geologic field-test: he put the shale in his mouth and chewed it. "If it's gritty, it's a silt bed, and if it's creamy it's a shale," Deffeyes said. McPhee tried it and said he wouldn't "have thought to put it in coffee." [4]

John McPhee American writer

John Angus McPhee is an American writer, widely considered one of the pioneers of creative nonfiction. He is a four-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the category General Nonfiction, and he won that award on the fourth occasion in 1999 for Annals of the Former World. In 2008, he received the George Polk Career Award for his "indelible mark on American journalism during his nearly half-century career".

Basin and Range Province geologic province extending through much of the western United States and Mexico

The Basin and Range Province is a vast physiographic region covering much of the inland Western United States and northwestern Mexico. It is defined by unique basin and range topography, characterized by abrupt changes in elevation, alternating between narrow faulted mountain chains and flat arid valleys or basins. The physiography of the province is the result of tectonic extension that began around 17 million years ago in the early Miocene epoch.

Geology The study of the composition, structure, physical properties, and history of Earths components, and the processes by which they are shaped.

Geology is an earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Geology can also include the study of the solid features of any terrestrial planet or natural satellite such as Mars or the Moon. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other earth sciences, including hydrology and the atmospheric sciences, and so is treated as one major aspect of integrated earth system science and planetary science.

Deffeyes Ph.D. dissertation research concerned volcanic ashfalls in Nevada that had been altered to zeolites. Not much was known about the potential uses of zeolites, so Deffeyes wrote a review paper on zeolites in sedimentary rocks. This resulted (according to both Deffeyes and John McPhee) in the founding of the natural zeolite industry. Zeolites have important uses in water purification, as catalysts in the petrochemical industry, and as molecular sieves. [3] [4]

Zeolite Microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts

Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts. The term zeolite was originally coined in 1756 by Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, who observed that rapidly heating the material, believed to have been stilbite, produced large amounts of steam from water that had been adsorbed by the material. Based on this, he called the material zeolite, from the Greek ζέω (zéō), meaning "to boil" and λίθος (líthos), meaning "stone". The classic reference for the field has been Breck's book Zeolite Molecular Sieves: Structure, Chemistry, And Use.

Water purification process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids from water

Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases from water. The goal is to produce water fit for specific purposes. Most water is purified and disinfected for human consumption, but water purification may also be carried out for a variety of other purposes, including medical, pharmacological, chemical, and industrial applications. The methods used include physical processes such as filtration, sedimentation, and distillation; biological processes such as slow sand filters or biologically active carbon; chemical processes such as flocculation and chlorination; and the use of electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet light.

The petrochemical industry is concerned with the production and trade of petrochemicals. It directly interfaces with the petroleum industry, especially the downstream sector. A major part is constituted by the plastics (polymer) industry.

He was the author of Hubbert's Peak, published in 2001. In 2005 he published the book Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak . On February 11, 2006 Deffeyes claimed that world oil production had peaked on December 16, 2005. [6]

<i>Beyond Oil</i> book by Kenneth S. Deffeyes

Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak is a 2006 book by Kenneth S. Deffeyes. Deffeyes is a geologist who warned of the coming oil crisis in a previous book called Hubbert's Peak.


See also

Other peak oil advocates

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