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Legends of the Halls: Geologist, Cartographer, Philanthropist – Tom Wilson Dibblee, Jr.

January 28, 2021 / 5:30 PM–6:30 PM

The Leadership Circles of Giving Presents

Legends of the Halls

Join us for the continuation of this virtual Members-only series focusing on some of the amazing past events and people of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the impacts they had in shaping who we are today.


Tom Wilson Dibblee was one of the most renowned explorers of California’s geologic landscape. During his career, he walked and mapped over 40,000 square miles of California (about a quarter of the state, including the Los Padres National Forest), a feat that probably will never be equaled. Notably in 1953, Tom and co-author Mason Hill were the first geologists to suggest that California rocks had moved hundreds of miles along the San Andreas Fault, predating widespread acceptance of plate tectonics. In 1986, the nonprofit Dibblee Geological Foundation was formed by his friends and colleagues. The foundation's mission was to help preserve the scientific, technical, educational, and economic values of Dibblee's life work through timely publication of his maps. In 2001, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History partnered with the Dibblee Foundation to continue this important work and celebrate his estate bequeathment. Following Tom's passing in 2004, his estate served as the foundation of the Dibblee Endowment, a SBMNH fund for the preservation, curation, and outreach of the Earth Sciences Collection. The SBMNH is now the home of the Dibblee Geologic Maps and houses and curates Tom's personal effects, including original prints of maps, his homemade marble collection, and the famous "Loretta Stones."

Presented by Dibblee Curator of Earth Science Jonathan Hoffman, Ph.D., and geologist and former Dibblee Foundation President John Powell, M.A.

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