John Stewart*

John (Jack) Harris Stewart
August 7, 1928-March 1, 2013

John (Jack) Harris Stewart was born on August 7, 1928 in Berkeley, California, to George and Theodosia Stewart. Jack’s father was a noted author and English professor at the University of California. The family, including Jack’s older sister Jill, travelled extensively while Jack’s father conducted research for numerous books. Jack graduated from Berkeley High School in 1946. He then attended the University of New Mexico and obtained a bachelors degree in geology in 1950, with minors in math and anthropology attesting to his wide interests.

Jack began his 62-year career with the US Geological Survey in 1951. Jack’s earliest work for the USGS focused on the stratigraphy of Triassic rocks on the Colorado Plateau, and Jack obtained a doctorate in geology from Stanford University in 1961 based on these studies. He married Sally Dwight in 1962, and they had two children, Ed in 1964 and William in 1966. The family spent many summers in Nevada while Jack performed extensive field work. Jack married Joyce Colbath in 1990, and they spent 22 happy years together exploring the world.

Jack began his studying Nevada geology in the early 1960s and spent most of the rest of his career working there, becoming the preeminent authority on the geology of the Great Basin. His studies led to preparation of the first comprehensive geologic map of Nevada, published in 1978 by the USGS, and a companion book describing the geology of Nevada published in 1980 by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Jack’s diverse interests and skills led to a wide range of studies during his long career with the USGS. These studies can be broadly grouped into 8 topics, while readily acknowledging that his publications addressed many additional subjects. The following lists these topics and a few seminal publications for each that represent a small sampling of the several hundred papers and maps that Jack authored or co-authored.

1. Mesozoic Stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau
Stewart, J.H., 1959, Stratigraphic relations of Hoskinnini member (Triassic?) of Moenkopi Formation on Colorado Plateau: AAPG Bulletin, v. 43, p. 1852-1868.

Stewart, J. H. 1961, Stratigraphy and origin of the Chinle Formation (upper Triassic) on the Colorado Plateau: Stanford, CA, Stanford University, PhD thesis.

Stewart, J.H., Poole, F.G., and Wilson, R.F., 1972, Stratigraphy and origin of the Chinle Formation and related Upper Triassic strata in the Colorado Plateau region: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 690.

Stewart, J.H., et al., 1986, Late Triassic paleogeography of the southern Cordillera: The problem of a source for voluminous volcanic detritus in the Chinle Formation of the Colorado Plateau region: Geology, v. 14, p. 567-570.

2. Late Proterozoic and early Phanerozoic stratigraphy, paleogeography, and tectonics of the western North American craton including evidence for Late Proterozoic rifting and formation of a passive margin (Cordilleran geosyncline)
Stewart, J.H., 1970, Upper Precambrian and Lower Cambrian strata in the southern Great Basin California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 620.

Stewart, J.H., 1972, Initial deposits in the Cordilleran geosyncline: Evidence of a late Precambrian (<850 my) continental separation: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 83, p. 1345-1360.

Stewart, J.H., and Poole, F.G., 1974, Lower Paleozoic and uppermost Precambrian Cordilleran miogeocline, Great Basin, western United States: SEPM Special Publication 22, p. 28-.

Stewart, J.H., 1976, Late Precambrian evolution of North America: plate tectonics implication: Geology, v. 4, p. 11-15.

Stewart, J.H., and Suczek, C.A., 1977, Cambrian and latest Precambrian paleogeography and tectonics in the western United States: Pacific Coast Paleozoic Paleogeography of the western United States, Pacific Section, SEPM, p. 1-17.

Link, P.K., et al., 1993, Middle and Late Proterozoic stratified rocks of the western US Cordillera, Colorado Plateau, and Basin and Range province: Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America, v. 2, p. 463-595.

Stewart, J.H., et al., 2001, Detrital zircon provenance of Mesoproterozoic to Cambrian arenites in the western United States and northwestern Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 113, p. 1343-1356.

3. Basin and Range structure
Stewart, J.H., 1971, Basin and Range structure: A system of horsts and grabens produced by deep-seated extension: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 82, p. 1019-1044.

Stewart, J.H., 1983, Cenozoic structure and tectonics of the northern Basin and Range Province, California, Nevada and Utah: Geothermal Resources Council Special Report 13, p. 25-40.

Stewart, J.H., 1998, Regional characteristics, tilt domains, and extensional history of the late Cenozoic Basin and Range province, western North America Geological Society of America Special Paper 323, p. 47-74.

4. Tectonics of the Walker Lane belt
Stewart, J.H., Albers, J.P., and Poole, F.G., 1968, Summary of regional evidence for right-lateral displacement in the western Great Basin: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 79, p. 1407-1414.

Stewart, J.H., 1988, Tectonics of the Walker Lane belt, western Great Basin: Mesozoic and Cenozoic deformation in a zone of shear, in Ernst. W.G,, ed., Metamorphism and Crustal Evolution of the Western United States Rubey Volume VII: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, p. 683-713.

Stewart, J. H., and Crowell, J.C., 1992, Strike-slip tectonics in the Cordilleran region, western United States, in The Cordilleran orogen: Conterminous United States: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America, Geology of North America, v. 3, p. 609-628.

5. Extensional tectonics of the Death Valley region
Stewart, J.H., 1967, Possible large right-lateral displacement along fault and shear zones in the Death Valley-Las Vegas area, California and Nevada: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 78, p. 131-142.

Stewart, J.H., 1983, Extensional tectonics in the Death Valley area, California: Transport of the Panamint Range structural block 80 km northwestward: Geology, v. 11, p. 153-157.

6. Late Cenozoic sedimentary basins in the western Great Basin
Golia, R.T., and Stewart, J.H., 1984, Depositional environments and paleogeography of the Upper Miocene Wassuk Group, west-central Nevada: Sedimentary Geology, v. 38, p. 159-180.

Stewart, J.H., and Diamond, D.S., 1990, Changing patterns of extensional tectonics; overprinting of the basin of the middle and upper Miocene Esmeralda Formation in western Nevada by younger structural basins: Geological Society of America Memoir 176, p. 447-476.

Stewart, J.H., 1992, Paleogeography and tectonic setting of Miocene continental strata in the northern part of the Walker Lane belt, in Structure, tectonics and mineralization of the Walker Lane, a short symposium, April 24, 1992, Proceedings Volume: Reno, Geological Society of Nevada, p. 53-61.

Stewart, J.H., Sarna-Wojcicki, A. M., Meyer, C.E., Starratt, S.W., and Wan, Elmira, 1999, Stratigraphy, tephrochronology, and structural setting of Miocene sedimentary rocks in the Middlegate age, west-central Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-350.

7. Geology and mineral resources of Nevada
Albers, J.P., and Stewart, J.H., 1972, Geology and mineral deposits of Esmeralda County, Nevada, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 78, 88 p.

Stewart, J.H., and Carlson, 1976, Geologic map of north-central Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map 50, scale 1:250,000.

Stewart, J.H., and Carlson, J.E., 1976, Cenozoic Rocks of Nevada, Four Maps and Brief Description of Distribution, Lithology, Age, and Centers of Volcanism: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map 52, scale 1:1,000,000.

Stewart, J.H., McKee, E.H., and Stager, H.K., 1977, Geology and mineral deposits of Lander County, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 88, 114 p.

Stewart, J.H., and Carlson, J.E., 1977, Geologic Map of Nevada: One Million Scale Set: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map 57, scale 1:1,000,000.

Stewart, J.H., and Carlson, J.E., 1978, Geologic map of Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey State Geologic Map, scale 1:500,000.

Stewart, J.H., 1980, Geology of Nevada: A discussion to accompany the Geologic Map of Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Special Publication 4, 136 p.

Stewart, J.H., Carlson, J.E., and Johannesen, D.C., 1982, Geologic map of the Walker Lake 1 by 2 quadrangle, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-1382-A, scale 1:250,000.

John, D.A., Stewart, J.H., Kilburn, J.E., Silberling, N.J., and Rowan, L.C., 1993, Geology and mineral resources of the Reno 1 by 2 quadrangle. Nevada and California: US Geological Survey Bulletin 2019, 65 p.

Stewart, J.H., 1999, Geologic map of the Carson City 30×60 minute quadrangle, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Map 121, scale 1:100,000.

8. Upper Precambrian and Paleozoic stratigraphy and tectonics of northern Mexico
Stewart, J.H., et al., 1990, Tectonics and stratigraphy of the Paleozoic and Triassic southern margin of North America, Sonora, Mexico: Arizona Geological Survey Special Paper 7, p. 183-202.

Stewart, J.H., et al., 1999, Exotic Paleozoic strata of Gondwanan provenance near Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico: Geological Society of America Special Paper , p. 227-252.

Stewart, J.H., Amaya-Martínez, Ricardo, and Palmer, A.R., 2002, Neoproterozoic and Cambrian strata of Sonora, Mexico: Rodinian supercontinent to Laurentian Cordilleran margin: Geological Society of America Special Paper , p. 5-48.

Gehrels, G.E., Stewart, J.H., and Ketner, K.B., 2002, Cordilleran-margin quartzites in Baja California–implications for tectonic transport: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 199, p. 201-210.

For his outstanding achievements and extensive contributions to knowledge about the geology of western North America, Jack was granted the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award of the Department of the Interior, in 1994. Although Jack officially “retired” from the USGS in 1995, he remained a highly productive “Scientist Emeritus” until his death on March 1, 2013. Jack was both a premier scientist who was highly respected by his colleagues and a good friend and teacher to countless geologists who wanted to learn about the geology of Nevada.