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National Obituary Review

Dead Person Of The Day October 11 – M. King Hubbert

No Comments 12 October 2011

A good nights sleep on a Tuesday pays dividends later on in the week. Just consider it. Today’s DPD comes from Alfonso Narvaez at the NYT.

M. King Hubbert (1903-1989)

M. King Hubbert, an award-winning scientist whose work in physics and geology brought radical changes in the petroleum industry, died Wednesday at his home in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Hubbert, who was 86 years old, had been undergoing treatment for a pulmonary embolism.

Dr. Hubbert’s research in structural geology, the mechanics of earth deformation and the physics of underground movement of fluids led to sweeping changes in the way oil and gas are produced.

His paper, ”Theory of Ground Water Motion,” published in 1940, helped change methods of gas and oil exploration by showing that oil and gas flowed through cracks and pores in rocks and did not remain in static, subterranean pools as had been thought.

Dr. Hubbert’s work also led to his prediction in 1948 that worldwide supplies of petroleum were limited and that the United States would run short of petroleum in the 1970’s, making the nation dependant on foreign oil.

His repeated warnings in 1956, 1962 and 1967 went generally unheeded. It was not until the Arab oil embargo of 1973 that the full impact of his message was realized. Government agencies scaled back their estimates of gas and oil resources in the United States, and the nation began an energy policy that stressed conservation. Continue reading


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