SUNY Potsdam Geology Professor Emeritus Revetta Earns Award


SUNY Potsdam Professor Emeritus Dr. Frank A. Revetta, a longtime faculty member in the Department of Geology, has been honored with an award honoring his research and service.

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers, Eastern Section, presented Dr. Revetta with its 2012 Distinguished Service Award at its annual meeting in Spring 2012.  A longtime member of the association, Revetta had served as its treasurer for more than 15 years, stepping down in 2011.

Dr. Frank Revetta received his bachelor’s degree in geology in 1953 from the University of Pittsburgh. He then attended Indiana University until 1954, where he served as a teacher’s assistant and worked on his master’s degree in geology and geophysics. Frank then served two years in the U.S. Army as a laboratory technician in Metz, France. This work included running physical and chemical tests on all petroleum products used by the Army. Six months before discharge, he was promoted to chief laboratory technician. In 1957, he finished the requirement for a master's degree in geology-geophysics from Indiana University Bloomington. He then conducted seismic surveys in western Wyoming for Geophysical Service Inc. In 1970, Frank received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, where his research included a detailed gravity survey of Western New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, followed by another gravity survey of Northern New York and Western Pennsylvania.

Revetta began teaching geology at SUNY Potsdam in 1962, and continues to teach there with the title of Professor Emeritus of Geology. During his tenure at SUNY Potsdam, he has presented more than 180 abstracts with students as co-authors at professional meetings, particularly the Geological Society of America, as well as the American Geophysical Union, Seismological Society of America, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the New York State Geological Association and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Eastern Section.

Revetta has consistently involved his students in his research. Together, he and his students have completed thousands of gravity measurements, resulting in 20 gravity maps across New York, and a gravity map of the whole state. Revetta and his students have presented interpretations of the gravity anomalies on the map have been presented at many conference meetings since. Working with Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Revetta has overseen the installation of a seismic network to collect seismic data in the Northeastern United States. He and his students continue to use their knowledge and expertise to provide services to communities in New York. Each year, during the summer and fall semesters, he conducts geophysical surveys for communities and residents.

Revetta has been recognized for his work with numerous awards, including
the SUNY Potsdam President's Award for Excellence in Distinguished Teaching, the President's Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors, the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service and the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Distinguished Teaching. The SUNY Potsdam Alumni Association has also presented him with Honorary Lifetime Membership. In addition, he has received the John M. Clarke Award from the New York State Geological Survey.

In the North Country, Revetta is also known as the “earthquake man,” with news outlets and local residents calling him if they feel tremors. He is the founder of the Potsdam Seismology Network.

Geology is an ideal subject to study at SUNY Potsdam, given the campus setting is in the midst of ancient meta-sedimentary and meta-igneous rocks of the St. Lawrence Valley and Adirondack Mountains that have a billion-year-old story to tell. Also unique to the Department of Geology is its offering of geophysics courses at the undergraduate level. The geology major is centered in the liberal arts and sciences, and prepares students for careers in geology or further study on the graduate or professional level.

For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Geology, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.