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State Geologist Jim Cobb addresses KGS staff on Survey anniversary

The XII survey of the Kentucky Geological Survey started Oct. 1, 1999 when James C. Cobb was appointed Director and State Geologist. KGS celebrates this anniversary each year with a state of the survey address, awards and honors received by staff in the preceding year, introductions of new staff, and a geologically decorated cake. There have been 12 Kentucky Geological Surveys each designated by the state geologist who directed the survey at that time. The first survey, KGS Series I, under the direction of David Dale Owen was established in 1854. The current survey is series XII. The previous state geologists are given below.

David Dale Owen, 1854-57

Willard R. Jillson, 1919-32

Nathanial S. Shaler, 1873-80

Arthur C. McFarlan, 1932-34

John R. Proctor, 1880-92

Daniel J. Jones, 1948-58

Charles J. Norwood, 1904-12

Wallace W. Hagan, 1958-78

Joseph B. Hoeing, 1912-18

Donald C. Haney, 1978-1999

Joseph E. Barton, 1918-19

James C. Cobb, 1999-present

The following text together with images of all the KGS annual report covers from 1999 to 2012, was presented at the 14th anniversary celebration of the XIIth survey.


XIIth Survey began Oct. 1, 1999. In 1999, Bill Clinton was president. We had the Y2K scare, impeachment of President Clinton, M7.4 earthquake in Turkey that killed 16,000. Adopted, "Earth Resources - Our Common Wealth."

However, in case we think world turmoil is only in the age we are living in.... The first permanent survey was in 1854; David Dale Owen was first State Geologist. Franklin Pierce was president. The Republican Party was founded in Ripon Wisconsin. The Crimean War was going on between Czarist Russia and European powers England and France and with it the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. Trade was open to Japan by Admiral Perry and the Ambrotype photography was invented by James Ambrose Cutting. At KGS in 1999, we created a statewide GIS and the following:


Many of us first heard about mad cow disease and Al-Qaeda; perhaps there is a relationship. KGS placed priority on digital geology and creation of an online geology GIS and data distribution. Carbon Sequestration was first discussed at DOE. The UK Administration Building burned. At KGS:


Taliban control of Afghanistan collapsed and U.S. Air Force electronic surveillance plane collided with a Chinese plane that crashed. 43rd president, George Bush, sworn in. U.S. Embassies bombed in Africa and 9-11 attack on New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. At KGS:


U.S. invaded Afghanistan and UN passed sanctions against Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. Pennsylvania miners spent 77 hours underground before rescue by cage lowed into the mine through a borehole. At KGS:


U.S. and Great Britain invade Iraq - shock and awe. Space Shuttle Columbia explodes. At KGS:


Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, M9.0 earthquake and Tsunami killed 250,000 people, M7.6 earthquake killed 80,000 in Pakistan, War in Iraq, gasoline hit $5.00/gallon. At KGS:


Darfur crises, shoe bomber, Saddam Hussein executed, Korea detonated atomic bomb. In the news fears about oil shortages and climate change. Eastern gas shale becoming hot item. At KGS:


Surge in Iraq, U.S. Economic meltdown and mortgage crisis, Iphones launched, energy and global climate fears in the news, Nobel Peace Prize went to U.N. IPCC and Al Gore. At KGS:


M8.1 Wenchuan earthquake in China and M5.2 Wabash Valley felt in Kentucky, presidential campaign Barack Obama vs. John McCain. At KGS:


President Obama elected. Olympics held in Beijing, economic crisis in U.S. Michael Jackson died. At KGS:


BP Oil spill in the Gulf. Bad economic News. M8.8 earthquake strikes Chile. 32 miners died in West Virginia coal mine - Upper BB Branch disaster. At KGS:


M7.0 earthquake in Haiti kills 316,000. Wikileaks scandal. Chilean miners rescued after 69 days with help from the US. Occupy Movement. M9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Osama Bin Laden killed in Pakistan. Fears growing over political gridlock. Occupy Wall Street movement. At KGS:


Presidential election year Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney. Fracking and Induced seismicity in news, civil war in Libya - Gadhafi killed. Mubarak ousted in Egypt, Civil War in Syria. At KGS:


Upturn in U.S. economy and housing market. Hurricane Sandy hits north eastern U.S. At KGS:

After fourteen years of operation, the XIIth Survey has produced nearly 500 new titles, had major additions of facilities and labs, received more than $10 million in grants, distinguished itself in many areas of research and public service, won several national awards for meritorious achievements, and responded to citizen and government requests for earth science information. Perhaps the highest achievement has been the online map, data, and information dissemination system development by KGS to serve the needs of the Commonwealth. This system has been used by thousands of individuals who have successfully accessed millions of documents, publications, maps, and sets of valuable data.


James C. Cobb, Oct. 2, 2013
State of the Survey Address