J. Clarence Karcher (SPE)
AIME Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal* in 1976
J. Clarence Karcher is president of Concho Petroleum Company in Dallas, Texas. He is known for pioneering the reflection seismograph, the method for measuring the depth of hard subsurface layers of limestone in searching for oil and gas.
Dr. Karcher received his B.S. degree in physics and electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1916 and his Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1920.
In June, 1917, Dr. Karcher accepted a position as assistant physicist at the United States Bureau of Standards. He was assigned the problem of designing and constructing a device for detecting and recording the blast from the muzzle of field artillery pieces by the use of sound waves through the air. As a result of this research, the reflection seismograph was born. Soon after returning to his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Karcher began research on the idea of using the seismic reflection method to determine the depths of hard rock layers.
The first oil well ever to be discovered by the reflection seismograph was drilled by a crew operating for the Amerada Corporation in Oklahoma. The discovery well was completed in December 1928.
Dr. Karcher is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow and life member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and past president and honorary life member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He received the distinguished service citation from the University of Oklahoma in 1974. He has been a member of AIME since 1928.