John Lawson Berry

John Lawson Berry

Geology and Remote Sensing Consultant

5000 Beverly Hills Drive
Austin, TX 78731-4704


Senior Earth Scientist with Remote Sensing focus and global experience in hydrocarbon exploration, environmental geology and mineral exploration. Special skills in application of remote-sensing technology to geology, oceanography, and off-shore basin evaluation. Internationally recognized author and editor with strong field-orientation. Licensed Professional Geoscientist in Texas


Hydrocarbon Exploration

  • Created remote sensing group at major oil company, resulting in better pricing of bids at lease sales and more efficient acquisition of on- and off-shore seismic data.
  • First person to map natural oil slicks worldwide using satellite imagery. This new tool for evaluating charge in undrilled offshore frontier basins increased confidence in selecting plays. Capital cost was $50K versus $17 million for a competitive airborne technique.
  • Continues to extend the applications of this technique to lacustrine environments, to the determination of seep rates and seeped oil gravity, and to the mapping of deep currents
  • Performed widely cited Landsat interpretation of Tarim Basin, China. Formulated several new interpretations of Central Asian tectonics. Papers have been translated into Chinese.


  • Conducted one of earliest studies relating rates of chemical weathering to the chemical mass-balance of a small watershed (at Coweeta, NC). Demonstrated that more than 60% of alumina was removed during soil formation, that sulfate was accumulating rapidly in the uppermost soil layers, and that processes of physical denudation were twice as effective in this watershed as were those of chemical weathering.
  • Performed the first environmental geologic assessment of Bear Lake area, Idaho (with one colleague). Provided a baseline for measurement of the impact of subsequent development.
  • Documented on images the late Pleistocene existence of a series of lakes in the Tarim, Djunggar and Turpan basins of Western China. These were up to 4,000 feet deep and perhaps sufficiently large to substantially modify central Asian climates.
  • Designed and taught curriculum leading to Associate Degree in Environmental Science. Graduates readily found employment as environmental technicians in major local corporations.

Mineral Exploration

  • Organized and executed major remote-sensing based helicopter reconnaissance of the Great Basin (Western USA) for gold.
  • Discovered and evaluated approximately 100 million tons of oxide copper ore in Central Africa. The deposits have since been mined out.
  • Evaluated cement-grade limestone, olivine, and columbite-tantalite deposits.
  • Evaluated Idaho Phosphate deposits for land swap between federal and State Governments.


Algeria: Illisi Basin, between Ain Salah and Tamanrasset. Structure and Stratigraphy.

Arctic Ocean: Ice Station T-3 (inspiration for “Ice Station Zebra”), near 83 N. Responsible for Navigation, Meteorology, Bathymetry, and assistance with seismic and coring programs (1963)

Australia: airborne follow-up of remote sensing in Oakland Basin. Informal advice to, and field trips with, “tin scratchers” in far North Queensland. Evaluation of CoTan deposit, FNQ. Several months in Perth performing seep analyses world wide and training Woodside, Ltd. Geologists.

Brazil: Zinc exploration: verification of remote sensing anomalies by magnetometer surveys and soil sampling with on-site analysis using a field dithizone colorimetric kit. Vazante area, Bambui Basin, Minas Gerais. Evaluation of CoTan deposit, NE Brazil (1980, 1981)

Chile: spent 3 months in country, including several field trips, helping the Department of Natural Resources plan and develop a GIS data base of all the country’s natural resources.

China: took part in 30th IGC expedition to Tarim Basin. When the road was cut by flash floods took leadership of foreign visitors and Chinese bystanders in diverting the stream from the main wash-out so that vehicles could begin to cross. Route: Urumqi – Kashgar. (1996).

Ethiopia: mapping and sampling of potential oil slicks on the lakes in the Main Ethiopian Rift and sampling of seeps in adjacent areas (2011)

Japan: three months in Tokyo teaching Japanese scientists geological interpretation of Landsat data, while completing a massive study of the Tarim Basin (1981).

Korea: one month in Seoul performing seep analysis of waters off West coast S. Korea and training Korea National Oil Company geologists in seep analysis and use of GIS (2007).

India: one month in Mumbai performing seep analysis of weaters off West Coast of India and training Reliance Oil Industries geologists. (2006)

Namibia: pre-independence airborne and ground follow-up (for de Beers) of Landsat-based interpretation for new Kimberlite pipes. Entire country – Angola to Oranjemund. (1980)

North America: led NURE field parties doing aqueous geochemical surveys for Uranium in Appalachians. Planned and led major helicopter-borne follow-up of Landsat anomalies thought to represent gold-bearing hydrothermal systems in northern Gt. Basin, for Shell. Exploration for copper in southern Appalachians. Evaluated olivine deposit and designed mining plan, NC.

Papua-Niugini: devised and ran program of geochemical sampling of seismic shot-holes, also sampling of off-shore oil seeps, in Fly River area. For Shell (Pecten). (1989)

Zambia: five years’ exploration for copper (for Anglo American Corp), including one rainy season under canvas. Supervision of geologists working up to 150 miles off the line of rail. Drilling and testing large water wells (1 million gpd). Exploration for cement-grade limestone.


Seepage Mapped From Oil Slicks: 
Most offshore basins of the World (see separate listing)
Lacustrine basins of East Africa
API/Seep Rate determination, GoM
Structural/Tectonic Interpretations:
24 major regional studies
Environmental Geology Interpretations:
5 large studies


1999-present: Remote Sensing Consultant, Austin, TX

Clients incl. Africa Oil, Celtic Minerals, Devon, Enron, Exxon, Int’l Nat’l Res., Inc., JGI (Japan), McCarthy Exploration, MDAFederal, Ocean, Oil Search Ltd., Reliance (India), Shell, Woodside

1982-1999:  Shell Oil Company, Houston, Texas
Staff Research Geologist
1977-1982:  Earth Satellite Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland
Director, Mineral Exploration
1975-1977:  Mineral Exploration Consultant, Sylva, North Carolina
Clients incl. State of Idaho, US Forest Service, Appalachian Resources, Inc
1973-1975:  Southwestern Technical Institute,Sylva, North Carolina
1966-1971:  Anglo-American Corporation, Kitwe, Zambia
Staff Geologist


Licensed Professional Geoscientist, State of Texas, USA, #2709
Certified Professional Geological Scientist #4032, Amer. Inst. of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Geological Society of London (GSL), Fellow, Geological Society of America (GSA)
Houston Geological Society (Treasurer of International Explorationists’ Group, 1996-1999)

Austin Geological Society (V.P. 2014-5; Pres.Elect 2015-2016, President 2016-2017).
The GEOSAT Committee Inc., Director (1990-2000)


Columbia University, M. S., Marine Geology and Geophysics 1966
University of Pennsylvania, B.A. with Honors in Geology 1963. 18 credits Anthropology.
Royal School of Mines, London, England


Fluent in French, Spanish. Proficient in German, Swedish, Italian. Conversational Portuguese & Bantu. Reading knowledge of Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Afrikaans.


Pecten International Company Award of Honor for Special Service

(see also Bibliography)

Senior Author (with G.L. Prost) of Chapter on Remote Sensing for Hydrocarbon Exploration:
Manual of Remote Sensing, 3rd Ed., vol.3, ASPRS 1999
Associate Editor, TPG (The Professional Geologist), magazine of AIPG
Numerous journal articles, talks, and company reports (Bibliography available)
Lead, Oil and Gas, AIPG Committee to Draft Statement on Future of US Energy Supplies, 2009