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Jim Hein Receives Distinguished Service Award—U.S. Department of the Interior’s Highest Honor

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When U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) senior scientist James R. Hein joined the USGS in the early 1970s, he began a long career of marine research, with a particular emphasis on deep-ocean mineral deposits. On May 7, 2015, “in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the U.S. Geological Survey in the fields of coastal and marine geology and geochemistry,” Hein received the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Distinguished Service Award—the highest award that can be granted to a career employee within the DOI. Here is the award citation, signed by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Five of twelve USGS employees who received the Department of the Interior’s Distinguished Service Award
Above: Five of twelve USGS employees who received the Department of the Interior’s highest honor—the Distinguished Service Award: (left to right) Rama Kotra, Peter Lyttle, James Hein, David Oppenheimer, and David Lockner. Behind them is a portrait of the first director of the USGS, John Wesley Powell. [larger version]

Dr. James R. Hein is the United States’ international authority on marine mineral deposits. He was an innovator in first recognizing and then implementing the seismic bottom-simulating reflector to identify oil and gas deposits. His expertise and creative work was recognized immediately and favorably by the international community. Dr. Hein conceived and led multiple International Geoscience Programme projects that studied manganese nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Manganese Nodule Zone located in the Pacific plate southeast of Hawai‘i. He has become the worldwide expert in all types of deep-ocean mineral deposits, including manganese nodules, ferromanganese crusts, seafloor massive sulfides, phosphorites, and barites. Dr. Hein recognized the importance of studying land-based mineral deposits to gain insight into these deep-sea deposits. The body of his work has focused on the need for critical minerals for high-tech, green-tech, energy, and military applications. He discovered that ferromanganese crusts are not only an ore, but also a geologic record of changes in oceanographic and atmospheric conditions dating back hundreds of thousands of years. The scientific and societal impacts of Dr. Hein’s research extend into many other arenas of marine science. Dr. Hein is responsible for pioneering fundamental studies in the use of clay mineralogy to understand sediment transport and sediment deposit evolution. His work led him to spearhead a Cook Islands atoll-drilling program that produced crucial new knowledge on how reef growth varies with changes in sea level. His many highly influential and groundbreaking scientific contributions resulted in his leadership of several international programs involving hundreds of scientists from around the world. For his sustained leadership and unparalleled scientific contribution to the USGS and the Nation, Dr. James R. Hein is awarded the highest honor of the Department of the Interior, the Distinguished Service Award.”

Congratulations, Jim!

Related Sound Waves Stories
Establishment of Three New Marine National Monuments Assisted by Information from the USGS
March 2009
Alchemy in the Abyss—USGS Public Lecture on Deep-Ocean Minerals
July 2007
Beam Time at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Awarded to USGS Scientist
May 2007
Exciting New Discoveries in Submarine Hydrothermal Systems, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
July 2004
Geologists and Biologists Endeavor to Understand Seamount Environments Off California
Dec. 2003 / Jan. 2004

Related Websites
2015 Convocation Program: p. 10 (PDF, 4.2 MB)

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in this issue:

Scientists Investigate the Virtually Unexplored Mariana Trench

Expedition Explores Deep-Sea Areas near Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Imaging Methane Seeps and Plumes on the U.S. Atlantic Margin

Some Communities May Not Have Time for Tsunami Evacuation

Spotlight on Sandy
Mendenhall Postdoc Joins Estuarine Physical Response Project

Spring 2015 Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group Meeting

Amanda Demopoulos Receives USGS Leadership Award

Fran Lightsom Receives Leadership and Innovation Award for Data Integration

Jim Hein Receives DOI Distinguished Service Award

Jim Jacobi Receives DOI Distinguished Service Award

Cheryl Hapke Is New Director of St. Petersburg, Florida, Science Center

Publications New Maps Reveal Seafloor off San Francisco

March–June Publications

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