The work of John Bluemle PhD

John Bluemle

My main geologic interest is the development of landforms, also known as geomorphology, particularly glacial landforms. I had opportunities, over the years, to spend time in Iceland and northern Europe where I increased my knowledge of glacial geology, landscape evolution, and related fields of geologic interest.

I was employed by the North Dakota Geological Survey from 1962-2004, and until about 1987, most of my work involved field mapping. During that time, I mapped the geology of 23 of North Dakota’s 53 counties. With time, I became more involved in management issues and the North Dakota State Industrial Commission appointed me State Geologist in 1990.  I served in that capacity until I retired in 2004.

Academic & Employment History

1956 – 1960 Iowa State University BS in geology; minors in math, chemistry, physics
1960 – 1962 Montana State University MS in applied science; minor in physics
1962 – 2004 ND Geological Survey Staff geologist; Chief of Surface Section; NDGS Editor
1966 – 1972 University of North Dakota Earned PhD in geology: specializing in glacial geology
1987 – 1990 ND Geological Survey Assistant State Geologist
1990 – 2004 ND Geological Survey State Geologist

Summary of Experience

Professional Certification

  • Certified Professional Geologist since 1970 (CPG #02221)


  • Geologic mapping throughout North Dakota
  • Studies of surface and near-surface mineral resources
  • Studies of geomorphology, stratigraphy and landform types, with emphasis on glacial landforms
  • Studies of the geology of Devils Lake as a model for regional climate change

Academic /Public Information

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Geology, University of North Dakota
  • Numerous lectures on glacial geology, glaciotectonics, climate change, economic geology and other geologic topics at various  universities and conferences in the United States, Canada, and Europe
  • Talks to service groups, classes, etc. on topics relating mainly to the geology of North Dakota
  • Instruct classes for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for the University of North Dakota/Bismarck State College

Expert Witness

  • Occasional testimony in Court as an Expert Witness for the State (Office of the Attorney General) concerning legal matters relating to the geology of North Dakota.

Community Activities

  • Various positions in the Boy Scouts of America as an Adult Volunteer
  • Bismarck United Way Hero Club
  • President’s Club, University of Mary
  • North Dakota State Historical Society Foundation
  • Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation
  • Theodore Roosevelt Nature & History Association
  • Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Service Awards

  • Sertoma Club, Grand Forks, ND. Annual Award: recognition for “Exemplary Inspiration for the Communicatively Impaired,” 1989
  • Distinguished Service Award, Association of American State Geologists, 2011
  • Professional Organizations

    (partial listing; year listed is the year I joined)

    Geological Society of America (Fellow) [beginning year as Member: 1961]

    North Dakota Academy of Science [1962]

    American Association for the Advancement of Science [1963]

    Sigma Xi [1963]

    Friends of the Pleistocene [1965]

    American Institute of Professional Geologists (CPG 2221) [1970]

    Great Plains Natural Science Society [1970] (President, 1977 – 1979; 1988 – 1989)

    American Quaternary Association [1972]

    American Association of Petroleum Geologists [1982]

    North Dakota Geological Society [1986]

    Montana Geological Society [1988]

    Association of American State Geologists [1991]; AASG Journal Editor [1996 – 2004]; Awards Committee Chairman [2006 – 2008]

    North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature [1992 – 2003]

    Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists [2000]

    American Geophysical Union (Fellow) [1983]

    Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation (Charter Member)


    During my 42 years with the North Dakota Geological Survey, and since I retired, I published about 450 reports, articles, maps, essays, etc. Of these, about half were published as Survey reports. About a quarter were published in refereed technical journals and the remainder in a variety of other venues (magazines, etc.).

    Now Available
    North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy Our Land and How It Formed
    North Dakota's Geologic Legacy 12-10-15-412
    Purchase from Amazon Purchase from NDSU Press
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