Eric Cravens: Farewell & Thanks!

Eric Cravens during a core processing line at the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL)
Eric Cravens during a core processing line at the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL). —Credit: National Ice Core Laboratory, NICL/USGS

ERIC CRAVENS' LAST DAY as Assistant National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) Curator was April 23, 2010. Eric received his BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1995. He majored in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology. When Eric started his undergraduate studies, ice was not a career option for him.

During the summer of 1991 Eric participated in the field operations for the GISP2 project in Greenland and his interest and, ultimately, passion for working with ice began. Eric had the opportunity to not only work that summer but unexpectedly he became the core processing line (CPL) manager when the Field CPL manager left suddenly. Eric's interaction with Deb Meese led to Eric's return to Greenland in the summer of 1992 to perform physical properties measurements at the remote GISP2 site in central Greenland. During the summers of 1993 and 1994, Eric worked at the NICL in an Assistant Curator role. From May 1997 – January 2000 Eric worked as a research associate at Eltron Research, Inc. in Boulder, CO. During this time he performed prototype development, fabrication and research on total organic carbon analyzers for ultrahigh purity water systems in silicon chip manufacturing.

In January 2000 Eric became a member of the NICL staff and has been an integral member since his arrival at the USGS. He has been instrumental in the development of the current NICL database to track the current inventory of over 16,000 tubes of ice core (almost 50,000 samples!), provided the necessary day-to-day coverage at the NICL when the other two NICL staff members were deployed, an advocate for the ice core collection, and an active participant in the past CPLs.

Eric's Greenland field experience and industrial research background support responsibilities proved to be a great asset in his NICL role. His passion and understanding of the ice and the valuable research it provides the ice community scientists were evident in the manner in which he worked with the NICL clients. He customized and machined equipment for use on the CPLs to fit the various needs as they developed.

Over the time that Eric has been at the NICL, due in large part to Eric's efforts, great advancements have been made in knowing what exists in the NICL ice core collection and in one's ability to access this information. Eric's philosophy was that the ice core collection needs to stand on its own and be understood by any interested party. Should any tube in the collection be opened and examined, Eric made sure that the labels were clear, the notations helpful, and the history be as complete as possible. While the entire detailed inventory was not completed prior to Eric's departure from the NICL, the NICL is well on its way to completing and fulfilling Eric's vision.

Eric had the opportunity to expand his horizons and work at something else he is passionate about. We wish him well in his newest adventure!