Robert Minssen Kleinpell
1905 - 1986
Robert Kleinpell received a BA in 1926 from USC at Los Angeles. He had planned to become an archeologist, but a lack of opportunities in that field he turned to geology. In 1927, Kleinpell went to Stanford on a fellowship in the field of stratigraphic paleontology. Foraminifera as a method of stratigraphy had recently become established and he used it to determine age relationships of Miocene formations in California. His 1934 doctoral dissertation was an early effort in using the stratigraphic distribution of foraminifera in oil-bearing strata.
After receiving his PD, Kleinpell became a consultant for many companies associated with the oil industry. In 1929 he was a visiting professor of geology at the California Institute of Technology. He then became the senior geologist for the National Development Company of the Philippines and Kleinpell helped found an oil industry there. During World War II, Kleinpell was a Japanese prisoner-of-war. He helped organize a concentration-camp university where he lectured on geology. Kleinpell became a professor in the Department of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley where he remained until his retirement. He also continued his work as a consulting paleontologist for several oil companies.
The History of Earth Sciences Society
University of California: In Memoriam, 1993
University of California Museum of Paleontology