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Howel Williams (1898-1980)

Howel Williams

It is not an exaggeration to say that Howel Williams, through his own work and that of his students, was largely responsible for the emergence of volcanology as a rigorous branch of modern science. Few have left so pervasive an imprint on their fields; even fewer have inspired wider admiration or deeper affection.

Less interested in the eruptive phenomena of active volcanism than in broad structural and petrographic relations, he had a masterful ability to reconstruct the forms and histories of long-extinct volcanic provinces. It was his uncanny eye for landforms and the regional significance of lithologic relations that enabled him to synthesize the evolution of entire provinces from a few seasons of field reconnaissance and petrographic studies. -- Alexander R. McBirney (Biographical Memoirs V. 60, National Academy of Sciences, 1991)

1965, Howel Williams at Crater Lake National Park. National Park Service photo by Ed Paine.

Howel Williams was a world-famous volcanologist and distinguished member of the Univ. of California, Berkeley faculty. In the mid-1930s, Williams began extensive geological investigations of Mt. Mazama, and completed his work in 1941....After definitive studies of the most notable California volcanoes, Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta, Williams extended his work to Oregon. Through his great monograph on "The Geology of Crater Lake National Park," published by the Carnegie Institution, and through a University of California Press book on Crater Lake intended for the general public, he became known and appreciated in ever wider circles. To most, the recognition of the collapse or engulfment of the mountain peak of Crater Lake, and his subsequent survey of calderas and their formation throughout the world are his greatest works, but Williams' own greatest love was Sutter Buttes, the study of which began his career in California and ironically, ended it when he returned "to correct the mistakes I made there a half century ago." Most of Williams' publications were based on carefully detailed field work, and here he was a master with few, if any, peers. [Earth and Planetary Science, University of California]

  • Williams was on an advisory committee set up by George "Doc" Ruhle and chaired by R. W. Leighton of the Univ. of Oregon, including Ruhle, Luther Cressman and others to support scientific and educational work at Crater Lake.

  • The name of Forgotten Crater, between Hillman and the Watchman, was officially changed to Williams Crater, by the Oregon Geographic Names Board in memory of geologist Howel Williams. The name change was first suggest by Dr. Charles Bacon, U.S.G.S. geologist. [Smith Brothers' Chronological History of Crater Lake NP]

Related Links

Bibliography (Partial)

  • Crater Lake Area Field Trip: The Geology of Crater Lake National Park by Howel Williams, 1966, Lunar Geological Field Conference Guide Book

    1922  Excavations of bronze-age tumulus near Gorsedd, Flintshire, North Wales. Archaeol. Cambrensis, 7th ser., vol. 2: 265-89.

  • Igneous rocks of the Capel Curig district, North Wales. Proc. Liverpool Geol. Soc. 13: 166-202.

  • 1923  Romano-British site at Rhostryfan, Carnarvonshire, North Wales. Archaeol. Cambrensis, 7th ser., vol. 3: 335-45.

  • 1926 Notes on the characters and classification of pyroclastic rocks. Proc. Liverpool Geol. Soc. 17: 223-48.

  • 1927  Geology of Snowdon, North Wales. Q. J. Geol. Soc. London 83: 346-431.

  • 1928  A recent volcanic eruption near Lassen Peak, California. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 17: 241-63.

  • 1929  Volcanic domes of Lassen Peak and vicinity, California. Am. J. Sci. 18: 313-30.

  • Geology of the Marysville Buttes, California. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 18: 103-220.

  • 1930  With E. Greenly. Methods of Geological Surveying. London: Thos. Murby & Company. 420 pp.

  • Notes on the later geological history of Tahiti. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci Univ. Calif. 19: 119-35.

  • The Snowdon district. Proc. Geol. Assoc. London 41: 190-205.

  • 1931  Dacites of Lassen Peak and vicinity and their basic inclusions. Am. J. Sci. 20: 313-30.

  • Geology of the Dolwyddelen syncline, North Wales. Q. J. Geol. Soc. London 87: 425-58.

  • 1932  Mount Shasta, California. J. Geol. 40: 417-29.

  • Geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, California. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 21: 195-385.

  • The history and character of volcanic domes. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 21: 51-146.

  • With C. K. Wentworth. Classification and terminology of the pyroclastic rocks. Bull. Nat. Res. Coun. 89: 19-53.

  • 1933  Geology of Tahiti, Moorea, and Maiao. B. P. Bishop Museum Bull. 105. 89 pp.

  • Mount Thielsen, a dissected cascade volcano. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 23: 195-214.

  • 1934  Mount Shasta, California. Z. Vulk. 15: 225-53.

  • 1935  Newberry Volcano of central Oregon. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 46: 253-304.

  • With R. D. Evans. Radium content of lavas from Lassen Volcanic National Park. Am. J. Sci. 29: 441-52.

  • 1936  Pliocene volcanoes of the Navajo-Hopi country. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am. 47: 111-72.

  • 1940  With L. S. Cressman. Early man in south-central Oregon. Univ. Oregon Monogr., Studies in Anthropology 3: 53-78.

  • Williams, H. The Geology of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: With a Reconnaissance of the Cascade Range, 1942, Carnegie Institution of Washington

  • Calderas and Their Origin, University of California Publications in Geological Sciences, 1941, University of California Press

  • 1941  Crater Lake, the story of its origin. Berkeley: University of California Press. 97 pp.

  • Volcanology, 1888-1938. 50th Anniv. Vol., Geol. Soc. Am., pp. 367-90.

  • Calderas and their origin. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 25: 239-346.

  • 1942  Geology of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. Carnegie Inst. Washington, pub. no. 540. 162 pp.

  • 1944  Volcanoes of the Three Sisters Region, Oregon Cascades. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 27: 37-84.

  • 1948  Ancient volcanoes of Oregon. Condon Lecture, Oregon State System Higher Education. 55 pp.

  • 1949  Geology of the Macdoel Quadrangle. Calif. State Div. Mines Bull. 151: 8-78.

  • 1950  Volcanoes of the Paricutin region, Mexico. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 965-B: 165-279.

  • 1951  With A. C. Waters. Quicksilver deposits of the Horse Heaven Mining District, Oregon. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 969-E: 105-49.

  • Volcanoes. Sci. Am. Nov.: 3-11.

  • 1952  Volcanic history of the Meseta Central Occidental, Costa Rica. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 29: 145-80.

  • The Great Eruption of Coseguina in Nicaragua in 1835. Bull. Dept. Geol. Sci. Univ. Calif. 29: 21-46.

  • Geological observations on the ancient human footprints near Managua, Nicaragua. Carnegie Inst. Washington, pub. no. 596. 31 pp.

  • 1953 With R. R. Compton. Quicksilver deposits of Steens and Pueblo Mountains, southeast Oregon. U.S. Geol. Surv. Bull. 995-B: 19-77.

  • 1954  Problems and progress in volcanology. Q. J. Geol. Soc. London 109: 311-332.

  • With F. J. Turner and C. M. Gilbert. Petrography. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co. 406 pp.

  • 1955  With H. Meyer-Abich. Volcanism in the southern part of El Salvador. Univ. Calif. Pub. Geol. Sci. 32: 1-64.

  • 1957  Geologic maps of the Bend Quadrangle and of the central portion of the High Cascade Mountains. Oregon Dept. Geol. Min. Ind.

  • Glowing avalanche deposits of the Sudbury Basin. Ontario Dept. Mines 65: 57-89.

  • 1960  Volcanic history of the Guatemalan Highlands. Univ. Calif. Pub. Geol. Sci. 38: 1-86.

  • 1961  The floor of Crater Lake. Am. J. Sci. 259: 81-83.

  • 1963  With R. F. Heizer. Geologic notes on the Idolo de Coatlichan. Am. Antiq. 29: 95-98.

  • 1964  With A. R. McBirney and G. Dengo. Geologic reconnaissance of southeastern Guatemala. Univ. Calif. Pub. Geol. Sci. 50: 1-56.

  • 1965  With A. R. McBirney. Volcanic history of Nicaragua. Univ. Calif. Pub. Geol. Sci. 55: 1-73.

  • Williams, H., and Goles, G., 1968, Volume of the Mazama ash-fall and the origin of Crater Lake caldera: Andesite Conference Guidebook, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Bulletin 62, p. 37-41.

  • 1969  With A. R. McBirney. Volcanic history of Honduras. Univ. Calif. Pub. Geol. Sci. 85: 1-101.

  • With A. R. McBirney. Geology and petrology of the Galápagos Islands. Geol. Soc. Am. Mem. 118. 197 pp.

  • 1977  With G. H. Curtis. The Sutter Buttes of California: a study of Pio-Pleistocene volcanism. Univ. Calif. Pub. Geol. Sci. 116: 1-56.

  • 1979  With A. R. McBirney. Volcanology. San Francisco: Freeman & Cooper. 397 pp.





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