Montana Tech Announces Uuno Sahinen Silver Medallion Awardee

Montana Tech Announces Uuno Sahinen Silver Medallion Awardee


WarneThe Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology at Montana Tech has named John R. ‘Jack’ Warne as the recipient of the 2019 Uuno Sahinen Silver Medallion. The award is named after former Bureau Director, the late Uuno Sahinen, widely recognized for the Bureau’s growth. The Uuno Sahinen Award acknowledges “outstanding contributions in understanding and development of energy, mineral, or groundwater resources in Montana” and is given to an outstanding geologist each year. The award will be presented to Mr. Warne at the university’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

Jack Warne was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1929, and graduated from high school there. He went on to Stanford University where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1951 and a master’s degree in geology in 1952, both from Stanford’s School of Mineral Science. After his discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 1953, Jack went to work for Shell Oil Company doing oil and gas exploration in Denver, Houston and Billings. In 1959, he left Shell and hung out his shingle as a consultant/independent geologist in Billings, Montana.

Jack and his wife, Bonnie, have been married for 36 years and live in Billings. Both were married before, and have six children between them. While some consider him retired, Bonnie says the mess of maps in his home office belies this. He once said, “One lifetime is not enough for a geologist.”

Early in his career, Jack participated in a geology study group in Denver composed of researchers from major oil companies, the Colorado School of Mines, the Colorado Geological Survey; he later organized a similar study group in Billings. As Chair of Continuing Education for the Montana Geological Society in the 1970s, he brought nationally recognized experts to conduct two-day workshops in Billings covering new developments in structural geology, oil and gas source rocks and sedimentation.

Through most of his professional life, he focused on exploration of oil and gas prospects, mainly in the Rocky Mountain States and his work led to the development of more than 20 oil and gas fields in five states. Many of his major prospects were in lightly explored areas with little drilling, aiming for high-risk giant fields; this pioneer drilling contributed to the knowledge of structure, stratigraphy and source rocks in remote areas.

Although most of his work is in confidential exploration reports and maps, Jack authored several field guides and road logs and has led many field trips published by the Montana Geological Society, the Tobacco Root Geological Society and the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He is still an active member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and Montana Geological Society. He is a past-president of the Tobacco Root Geological Society and past member of the Geological Society of America and American Institute of Professional Geologists.