December 13, 2010—On Thursday, December 9, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) handed out its prestigious Hall of Fame award to five recipients. Among the recipients was Dr. Stanley M. Totten, a geologist and professor emeritus of geology at Hanover College (Indiana). Nominated by Dr. John Szabo, Professor and Chair of the University of Akron, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, Stan was chosen for his more than 30 years of service delineating, classifying, and mapping the glacial deposits of central and northeastern Ohio. Survey Chief Larry Wickstrom and Geologic Mapping Group Supervisor Mike Angle also wrote supporting documentation for the nomination.
Dr. Stan Totten (left) receives his Hall of Fame award
from ODNR Director Sean Logan.
Stan was a pioneer in the field of environmental geology and grasped the importance of conservation and protecting Ohio’s soils and farmland. As a M.S. and PhD. student of Dr. George White (former State Geologist and Chief of the Ohio Geological Survey), Stan worked every summer for many years to do field mapping and collect samples of Ohio soils. He then worked throughout the winters with Dr. White to create maps and reports and analyze the samples on a county-by-county basis across northern Ohio. Together, the two largely invented the process of mapping glacial sediments in Ohio, including naming geologic units and producing the “look and feel” of glacial maps (for example, what colors to use). Stan closely worked with mappers to produce the early Soil Surveys for the State, teaching mappers about geology and in turn learning more about soils. As noted by Dr. Szabo, “Stan pioneered the use of quartz-feldspar ratios as a method to differentiate among various glacial tills.”
After finishing his degrees, Stan began teaching at Hanover College in Madison, Indiana, but never gave up his love for his native Ohio. After George White retired, Stan continued soils work and began his next role—training and mentoring others to work in glacial geology, including academics at a number of Ohio universities as well as Survey staff members.
Among his other accomplishments, Stan checked the first series of the USGS 7.5-minute (1:24,000) topographic quadrangle maps and reported inaccuracies. He also provided countless hours of assistance to highway crews as they began construction on Interstate 71 and Interstate 77, providing geologic information on tricky organic deposits and helping to find necessary fill and aggregate materials.
Recently, Stan donated his entire collection of notebooks, manuscripts, photographs, slides, and personal notes from his many years of service to Ohio to the Survey. He also donated George White’s records as well.
Established in 1996, the ODNR Hall of Fame awards program is Ohio’s top honor for individuals who have made significant contributions to preserving and protecting the state’s water, soil, forests, wildlife, and mineral resources. In that vein, much of the success of Ohio’s soils mapping program owes a great debt to Dr. Stan Totten. Stan’s work produced a basic framework for the stratigraphy and distribution of glacial deposits in central and northeastern Ohio. As Dr. Szabo writes in his nomination, “The data that he collected and the maps he produced…have provided a firm geological base that not only can be applied to geologic studies but also have been of great value to agriculture, soil science, and engineering in Ohio.”