November 25, 1927: First WV State Geologist I.C. White Dies
Geologist Israel Charles White died on November 25, 1927, at the age of 79. During his lifetime, he revolutionized the use of geology to uncover oil and gas reserves. He later published an article suggesting that the folds in rock formations, known as anticlines, could predict the locations of oil and gas deposits.
Based on his anticlinal theory, he amassed a modest fortune as a consultant for oil and gas developers in the Midwest. In 1897, he was appointed West Virginia’s first state geologist, a position he held until his death. In this role, he helped map the state’s natural resources.
Although he often worked for oil and gas companies, he was an advocate for conservation and coal mine safety.
As a side business, White was a real estate developer in Morgantown. Much of WVU’s downtown campus is located on property he once owned. White also helped raise funds for the original Mountaineer Field.