The 150th Celebration of Nevada Statehood is an opportunity for the community to reflect on the history of the state, which also means to look at the many individuals that molded, shaped, or had an impact on our heritage. Everyone who inhabits the state contributes to the saga. Some do it quietly. Others make contributions that take time to be recognized.
John Sealy Livermore (April 16, 1918 – February 7, 2013) was a geologist. He loved the land and his life took him over many continents exploring his passion for geology. His discovery of the Carlin deposit in 1961 has been termed one of the most significant events in worldwide mining – searching for “invisible” gold in Paleozoic sedimentary rock.
For Nevada, this meant the production of over 179 million ounces (5,664 tons) of gold from Nevada since 1965, a significant impact on the Nevada economy along with the further discoveries of the Pinson, Preble, Dee, and Stirling gold deposits. The international recognition of a new type of ore-deposit spurred exploration of other areas worldwide. There are few corners of the globe that do not recognize the name John Livermore or Nevada. This tall, lanky, unpretentious giant also had great concern for the environment and the vagaries of public policy. He put his money where his mouth was and funded Public Resource Associates to seek local consensus in Nevada’s contentious fields of mining and water law. John was a considerable benefactor to the University of Nevada, Stanford for the education of next generation geologists and was active in supporting many community endeavors including providing the seed money for the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. It has been written, “He was happiest roaming the high sagebrush deserts of Nevada, rock hammer in hand. Generous and unassuming, his stride was as long and open as the vast Great Basin country he loved, and he always had time for a friend.”
“You have to be an optimist to be a geologist. ……. And what it takes, of course, is steady plugging.” – John Sealy Livermore