by Fred Phillips
Left to right: Marith Reheis, citationist; John Hawley with "jawbone" award; Hawley's wife Diane; and Fred Phillips, citationist.
SOCORRO, N.M., Nov. 9, 2006 – John W. Hawley recently received the 2006 Distinguished Service Award from the Quaternary Geology & Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA). Hawley is a New Mexico Tech adjunct faculty member with the research university’s Department of Earth & Environmental Science (E&ES) and an emeritus staff member of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.
The award was presented to Hawley in Philadelphia on October 24, at the annual meeting of the GSA. The citationists were Marith Reheis of the U.S. Geological Survey and Fred Phillips, a hydrology professor at New Mexico Tech.
Hawley completed a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in 1962 and took a job with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service in southern New Mexico. During this period Hawley, along with Lee Gile and Robert Grossman, conducted the groundbreaking “Desert Soils Project” that laid the foundation for most future geological research involving desert soils. The three received the Kirk Bryan Award for Distinguished Research from the GSA in 1983 for this seminal work.
Hawley subsequently switched jobs to the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources in Socorro, where he worked until retirement.
Among his most notable achievements was a study convincing The City of Albuquerque that its groundwater resources were much less extensive than had been estimated, and that the City should therefore shift primarily to surface-water supply.
Over the past 25 years, Hawley has contributed as both formal and informal advisor to the education of many New Mexico Tech graduate students.
“At 74 years old, Hawley remains more active as a geologist than many professionals half his age,” Phillips said. “He continues to work as an independent consulting geologist. He is a legendary resource for knowledge of the geology of the Southwest and spends much of his time helping others with their research.”
At the awards ceremony at the GSA meeting, Hawley received a custom-made award consisting of a fossil horse jaw attached to a walnut plaque. In honor of his legendary verbal accomplishments, the fossil was accompanied by an inscription reading: “To the champion jawboner of the Quaternary.”