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In Those Days
A History of Doodlebugging with J. C. Petty - as remembered by Louin W. Roberts

Job titles of the day:

Circa 1935
Field Engineer:
Used surveying instruments to provide an accurate topographical map of the area to be explored; relating visual and, or known structures and the elevations of the area on a map.

Plane-table Operator:
A person who does the actual drawing of the topographical maps of the surveyed area, thus translating the information gained "in the field" into a form easily read by the major Oil Company. Thus allowing their Geologists to tell the Seismology team where to "shoot the shots".

Responsible for actual drilling of the holes where the dynamite was placed for the "shot".

Responsible for the dynamite blasts (controled) that create the "shot" and resultant seismic wave, recorded on the "record".

In those days, a Computer correlated the depth of underground structurs by examining data gained as the result of the readings of a seismogram - in the vernacular of the day, known as "working the records".

The Seismogram was obtained by setting charges of dynamite at various depths and distances from "geophones" - devices placed in the ground for measurement of seismic waves generated by the detonation of dynamite. Each geophone (9 in those days) was linked by cable running along the ground to the "Instrument Truck". The activity in the Instrument truck involved the making of that seismic "record" (a seismogram) which was a long piece of photo-sensitive "paper" about 8 inches wide, and as long as required to capture all the seismic activity from that particular "shot" of dynamite.

Those "records" were then used by the "Computer" to determine potential deposits of oil (in those days, the allied discovery of pockets or fields of "natural gas" was not necessarily thought of as a great geological event... unless the gas could be used to help force the oil out of the well to aid in it's journey to the pipeline or collecting area. If there was no oil found, and the area was determined to be only a pocket of gas or a field of gas, then the gas was simply set ablaze, so as not to polute the air. It was not thought of as being important for later use, as a reserve for fuel.

Interprets the seismogram, or "record" (working the record), to determine the underground geological structures and how they relate to the topographical maps, thus providing the major oil company, information on the best locations to drill for oil.