Hubert M. Bristol

1915 to 2003
Petroleum Geology

Hubert Masters Bristol was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 6, 1915, to George and Ada Masters Bristol. He spent most of his youth in Oak Park, Illinois, where he graduated from high school in 1933. He attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1937 with a B.S. in geology. He earned an M.S. in geology from University of Chicago in 1939.

After graduation, Bristol took a position with the Ohio Oil Company (now Marathon) at the Marshall, Illinois, office. He worked in Marshall from 1940 to 1945. In 1945, he moved to Effingham to work for Homer Lutrell. During the next 12 years, he worked extensively on Silurian reef pools of Illinois and Indiana and conducted explorations for Chesterian production. In 1947, he started a business with geologist and partner J. William Everheart. Together they found and developed several properties and pools in Illinois and undertook the waterflooding of the Big Lake Pool in Paola, Kansas. In 1958, Bristol bought out his partner and made his living as an independent operator in Illinois.

In 1964, Bristol accepted a position as Assistant Geologist in the Oil and Gas Section of the Illinois State Geological Survey. He was promoted to Associate Geologist in 1971. His work was mainly structure mapping and oil field studies to aid the public and industry in the finding and developing of Illinois Basin oil and gas resources. He was sole or senior author of several classic subsurface regional maps and their associated publications including Paleogeographic Map of the Sub-Pennsylvanian Chesterian Surface in the Illinois Basin, Structure of the Base of the Mississippian Beech Creek (Barlow) Limestone, Ordovician Galena Group (Trenton) of Illinois: Structure and Oil Fields, and Structure of the Top of the Karnak Limestone Member (Ste. Genevieve) in Illinois. He also published a definitive work on Silurian pinnacle reefs and related oil production in Illinois, Illinois Petroleum 102. He was co-author of several other publications covering a wide range of topics, including structural geology, field studies, and stratigraphy.

Bristol encouraged and enhanced the Survey's relationship with Illinois Basin operators. Then Chief Jack Simon summarized Hubert Bristols's career in 1978 saying he had an "outstanding reputation, [made] highly valued contributions to finding oil and gas in Illinois," and "helped in a major way to sustain the excellent relationships that the geological survey has enjoyed with the oil and gas industry of the state."

Bristol was active in professional societies and was a member of American Association of Petroleum Geologists, SEPM, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Geological Society of America, and Illinois and Indiana-Kentucky Geological Societies.

He was married to Mary Fletcher Bristol. They had three children, Barbara, Susan, and George. He died on March 6, 2003, at his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Honored by: 
Bryan G. Huff
Citation Contributed by: 
Bryan G. Huff