Larry Larson (2006)*

Lawrence T. Larson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno

Lawrence T. Larson, Ph.D., Larry or L.T. to many of us, was born in 1930 in Waukegan Ill. As a youngster he played football and did exhibition roller skate dancing. After graduating from High School during the Korean conflict, Larry enlisted in the USAF and was stationed in England where he guarded something “secret” with shotguns and grease guns, but says he only “murdered” rabbits. Larry realized that the Lieutenants were in charge because they had college degrees, which helped him decide to go to college. He and his wife Beth met in college and have 3 grown children: Jackie, Doug (Mackay graduate) and Kathy.

His degrees include: B.S. Geology (highest honors) University of Ill. Urbana, M.S. Geology and Ph.D. in Economic Geology, University of Wisconsin.

From 1961 to 1975 Larry advanced from assistant to full Professor of Geology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. There he taught mostly upper level and graduate economic geology subjects. He directed graduate research leading to 2 Ph.D. and 18 M.S. degrees. At Tennessee, he authored over 25 publications for the Tennessee Div. of Geology, Economic Geology, GSA, American Mineralogist, AIME, Mining Engineering and others.

In 1975 Larry accepted the position of Chairman (1975-1991) and Professor of Economic Geology (1975-1997) at the Mackay School of Mines, UNR. When he arrived at Mackay, there were only 5 full time geology professors. He quickly grew the geology department to 20 professionals to meet the demand for graduates by industry. Besides being Chairman with all its responsibilities at Mackay, he also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in economic geology, mining and exploration geology, ore petrology, geochemistry, summer field geology and others. He also sat on over a dozen UNR and Mackay committees and was responsible for many grants and contracts being awarded to the University.

While at UNR, Larry was involved in numerous research projects including the Great Basin geological framework and uranium favorability study, gold at Bald Mountain, uranium and zeolites in the Reese River Valley, geothermal resources in Dixie Valley and remote sensing in the Ely-Hamilton-Eureka area.

Larry was the author or co-author on over 80 reports, articles and abstracts. His publications included such diverse subjects as: Geothermal reservoir assessment case study, Northern Basin and Range province; Overview of energy and mineral resources at the Nevada nuclear waste storage; Miocene hydro-thermal activity at the Willard and Scossa Mining Districts, Pershing Co. NV; and Geology and gold exploration in western Turkey.

Scholastic Honors include, but not limited to the Phi Kappa Phi (honor society), Fulbright Professor and visiting Professor at two Universities in Turkey. In Turkey, he is considered to be the father of modern gold exploration.

Besides working for many companies as a consultant, Larry has also worked for the United Nations, NATO, State of Nevada, Sandia Laboratories, U.S. Department of Energy and many others. Larry continues to consult to many companies in Nevada and all over the world as a petrographic consultant specializing in ores and ore minerals.

Jaak Daemen as acting dean of Mackay School of Mines in 1996 wrote:

“Your departure will leave a huge void that will be difficult to fill. The school will miss your major contributions to Economic Geology. Most recently your personal commitment and involvement in the start up of the Ralph J. Roberts Center have allowed this center to develop and bloom at a certainly astonishing speed. Bringing this center into being clearly is a major capstone contribution to your already most productive academic career.

Over your 22 years at the University you have made truly major contributions to Mackay and the University. I am especially impressed by the huge number of graduate students you have advised and by the astonishing number of Ph.D. and M.S. degrees your students have completed. It is very clear that your contributions in this regard have been a major factor in the recognition of Mackay as a major center for economic geology. Moreover your orientation towards research in support of the minerals industries, in particular of gold deposits, fits exceedingly well in our mission as a state university and a School of Mines.”

Larry considers his greatest accomplishment in his academic career and contribution to the geological sciences as being able to push, shove, squeeze, and cajole nearly 100 students through graduate school. Many of them are members of the Geological Society of Nevada.

The Geological Society of Nevada is proud to recognize Larry Larson as an Honorary Member. Larry contributed greatly to understanding the geology of the State of Nevada for over 22 years through his research, education of future geologists and pursuit of academic excellence. Larry’s training of geologists at the Mackay School of Mines now working throughout the State and his professional contributions to advancing the geology of Nevada makes him well qualified to be distinguished as an Honorary Member of the GSN.