Dr. Behl Awarded the Distinguished Service Award by PSAAPG

Published June 21, 2021

Dr. Behl has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Pacific Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (PSAAPG). Congratulations on this well deserved award!

Here is the citation by Becca Schemp, President of PSAAPG, and Tony Reid, the Editor-in-Chief:

It is a pleasure to write this citation for Dr. Richard J. Behl. Rick is extremely busy and seems to accomplish about three times what others might. He does this while continuing to be generous with this time and always being polite and cooperative. He also finds time to assist the Pacific Section AAPG through convention committee participation, leading field trips and chairing technical sessions, and serving as President. His enthusiasm for geology is infectious (haha, not sure if infectious or contagious work in 2021) and palpable, and hecan make a room full of geologists sign up for an introduction to geology class. Rick grew up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. Staying in Southern California, Rick attended UC San Diego, where he received in 1978 a BS in Chemistry and Earth Science. After graduation, Rick worked as a wellsite geologist and consultant in petroleum and geothermal. As a wellsite geologist, he was employed first at Core Lab in Texas and then Epoch Well Logging in California. By 1985, Epoch was the premier 'Monterey' mudlogging company, known for accurately differentiating the various middle and upper Miocene siliceous rock types. Foreshadowing things to come, one assigned well was a Monterey test in the Hames Valley area of southern Salinas basin. Those visiting the wellsite noted Rick's excitement about the section being drilling, his knowledge of the complex rock types encountered, and his overall pleasant personality and positive attitude. Rick would not be a wellsite geologist for long and enrolled in a graduate program at UC Santa Cruz. Studying under Robert Garrison, Rick completed his thesis entitled "Chertification in the Monterey Formation of California and Deep-Sea Sediments of the West Pacific," and earned his PhD in Earth Science in 1992. Following graduation, Rick was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC Santa Barbara and was a part-time instructor at UC Santa Barbara, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and Ventura College. Rick joined CSU Long Beach in 1995, where his research focused on the Quaternary Santa Barbara Basin and the Miocene Monterey Formation. For those in industry working on the Monterey, Rick was, by 1999, the leading active researcher on the Monterey. He was and is generous with his knowledge and time, publishing over 50 journal articles, over 25 guidebooks and other publications, and participating in over 170 presentations, most featuring his students. In recognition of his dedication to his students, Rick received PS AAPG's Distinguished Educator Award in 2010. Rick is the Director of the MARS Project (Monterey and Related Sediments). Established in 2011, this industry consortium was the first of its kind in geology for the Cal State University system. MARS has several goals, including increasing understanding of the complicated Miocene stratigraphy, providing training for the staffs of participating companies, and providing funding for graduate students. At annual meetings, industry representative got to know the MARS students. When it came time for job interviews, recruiters found Rick's students very qualified. Rick has maintained a consistently high level of activity with geologic societies and associations. Over the years, he has led at least one field trip at most of the PS AAPG conventions. Our meetings also routinely features a full session on various Monterey topics, presented by Rick or his students. Rick has held offices in the PS SEPM and is retiring this year as Past-President of the PS AAPG. As Convention Chair for the successful 2019 Long Beach meeting, Rick designed anew, streamlined format that may provide a guide for organizing future conventions. Rick and his wife Krisztina love to travel. They have traversed land, sailed the seas, and explored many enviable places. They have enjoyed settling down in Long Beach, curating a worldly design and appreciating the wonderful views from their beautiful home. Rick's contributions to the education of California’s students, his openness to share knowledge through numerous publications, field trips and presentation, and his participation in society and association activities make him a deserving recipient of the Pacific Section AAPG Distinguished Service Award.

Learn more about the Pacific Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.