George G. Shor Papers

Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Copyright 2016
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175

Descriptive Summary

Languages: English
Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: George G. Shor Papers
Creator: Shor, George G.
Identifier/Call Number: SMC 0033
Physical Description: 11 Linear feet (11 cartons, 1 map case folder, and digital files)
Physical Description: 57.8 Megabytes
Date (inclusive): 1950 - 2009
Abstract: Papers of marine geophysicist George Shor, including his correspondence, committee files, teaching materials and geophysics research files. The collection also includes materials regarding the historic preservation of the Old Scripps Building.

Scope and Content of Collection

Papers of marine geophysicist George Shor, including his correspondence, committee files, teaching materials and geophysics research files. The collection also includes materials regarding the historic preservation of the Old Scripps Building. Subjects of note include marine geophysics, seismic refraction and reflection, Project Mohole, the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE), SIO ship operations and the Birch Aquarium.


George G. Shor (1923-2009) was a marine geophysicist who served as chief scientist on many SIO research expeditions and contributed to the administration of the Scripps fleet and seagoing operations. His interests included marine seismic refraction and reflection, deep sea topography, research fleet operations and SIO campus planning.
Shor received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech in 1944. During World War II he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve and served as a radar and communications officer. He returned to Caltech in 1946 and received an M.S. in Geophysics in 1948. Between 1948 and 1951 he worked for the geophysical company Seismic Explorations, Inc. as party chief of a reflection seismograph crew before returning to Caltech for his Ph.D. in Seismology in 1951. Shor graduated in 1954, having conducted his dissertation on the seismic reflection of the Mohorovicic discontinuity, the boundary between the earth's crust and mantle.
Shor began his career at SIO in 1953 working for the Marine Physical Laboratory as an Assistant Research Geophysicist. From the 1960s through the 1980s Shor had a rigorous seagoing career in which he averaged over two months at sea per year. He served as chief scientist for many expeditions, using explosives and air guns to conduct refraction and reflection studies. Shor served as principal investigator for Project Mohole, an endeavor launched by the American Miscellaneous Society in the 1950s which attempted to drill through the earth's crust into the Mohorovicic discontinuity. Alongside colleague Russell Raitt, Shor participated in several Mohole committees and piloted expeditions around the Hawaiian Islands to determine the best drilling location for the project. Project Mohole was terminated by Congress before drilling could begin. In 1960 Shor served as chief scientist on the Monsoon Expedition, the first SIO expedition to the Indian Ocean as part of the International Indian Ocean Expedition. His work in the Indian Ocean continued throughout his career and he was made special advisor to the Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas (CCOP) from 1976-1991.
Shor also served as Ship Scheduling Officer for the SIO Marine Operations Committee and was a formative participant in the creation of the UNOLS research ship fleet. During the 1960s he helped to establish the California Sea Grant program, serving as its manager from 1969 to 1973. From 1968 until his retirement in 1991 Shor served as Associate Director of SIO.
George Shor's spouse, Elizabeth "Betty" Noble Shor, also worked at SIO as a laboratory assistant under ichthyologist Carl L. Hubbs. After Hubbs' death in 1979, she continued her work at Scripps, maintaining Hubbs' personal papers and library for many years. Remembered as the unofficial historian of SIO, she gathered records and papers across the institution and established the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives, and advocated for the historic preservation of the Old Scripps Building. She wrote Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Probing the Oceans, 1936-1976 for the Institution's 75th anniversary, and accompanied her husband on many research expeditions.

Preferred Citation

George Shor Papers. SMC 33. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Acquisition Information

Acquired 1995-2014.



Publication Rights

Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

Digital Content

Slides from the INDOPAC Expedition have been digitized and are available on the UC San Diego Library Digital Collections website. One sound recording has been reformatted, and the other sound recording is a digital file only.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

International Decade of Ocean Exploration, 1970-1980
Marine geophysics -- 20th century
Oceanography -- Study and teaching
Shor, George G. -- Archives
Scripps Institution of Oceanography -- Archives
Stephen Birch Aquarium-Museum
Project Mohole



Box 1, Folder 1

Biographies ca. 1950-1966

Box 1, Folder 2

Certificates 1970, 1974

Box 1, Folder 3

Retirement party 1991 February 22

Box 11, Folder 24

Sound recording - Shor retirement party speeches 1991

General note

Audiocassette, time 01:23:54. Recording of speeches made during Shor's retirement celebration at SIO. Speakers include Frederick H. Fisher, Fred N. Spiess, Robert H. Kieckhefer, Alexander ("Sandy") Shor and Jim Williams. Digitized version available upon request.


Original restricted (digital version available).
Digital_file 1

Sound recording - Memorial service 2009 September 7

General note

Digital sound file, time 00:39:47. Entitled "Bombs, Boats and Bamboo," held at the Martin Johnson House at SIO. Speakers include Sandy Shor, Donald Shor, Robert L. Fisher, Robert Knox, David Wirth and Roy Wiersma.


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) CORRESPONDENCE includes general correspondence, arranged chronologically. Also included is the correspondence of Delpha McGowan, a female refraction technician who accompanied many expeditions of which Shor was chief scientist.
Box 1, Folder 4-49

General correspondence 1951-1970 August

Box 2, Folder 1-50

General correspondence 1970 September-1981

Box 3, Folder 1-16

General correspondence 1982-1991

Box 3, Folder 17

Delpha McGowan correspondence 1971-1982

General note

McGowan was a SIO refraction technician, who served on many expeditions with Shor.


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) TEACHING includes classroom handouts, lecture notes and scripts, correspondence and class announcements and exam master copies, arranged according to class number.
Box 3, Folder 18-22

ES 103 - Introduction to Geophysics 1978-1982

Box 3, Folder 23

SIO 220 - Observations of Large-Scale Ocean Circulation 1968

Box 3, Folder 24-31

SIO 226A - Introduction to Marine Geophysics 1969-1981

Box 3, Folder 32

SIO 239 - Radar and Sonar Interferometry 1974

Box 3, Folder 33

SIO 244 - Shape and Structure of the Ocean Floor 1970

Box 3, Folder 34

SIO 248 - Evolution of Earth's Biosphere 1973

Box 3, Folder 35

Unidentified class notes undated



Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) GROUPS AND ASSOCIATIONS includes correspondence, memoranda and notes from various scientific professional groups and committees, arranged alphabetically.
Box 3, Folder 36

Alpine Geophysical Associates, Inc. 1967-1968

Box 3, Folder 37

California Sea Grant Committee 1983-1989

Box 3, Folder 38

Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Steering Committee 1968-1980

Box 3, Folder 39

Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Co-operation 1988

Box 3, Folder 40

Institute of Marine Research (IMR) 1973-1980

Box 3, Folder 41-43

Joint Oceanographic Institutions Incorporated (JOI, Inc.) 1976-1977

Box 3, Folder 44-45

Joint Oceanographic Institutions Deep Earth Studies (JOIDES) 1969-1975

Box 3, Folder 46

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant Program 1979-1980

Box 3, Folder 47

Naval Ocean Research and Development Activity (NORDA) 1978-1980

Box 3, Folder 48-50

Office of Naval Research (ONR) 1962-1981

General note

Proposal ratings, UCSD-ONR contracts, and investigators.
Box 4, Folder 1

ONR 1962-1981

Box 4, Folder 2

Society of Exploration Geophysicists 1964-1987

Box 4, Folder 3-9

University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) 1971-1979

Box 4, Folder 10

WHOI Visiting Committee 1974-1976



Box 4, Folder 11-16

Explosives purchase orders and inventories 1954-1981

Box 4, Folder 17

Explosive use data from expeditions 1969-1981

Box 4, Folder 18

Handouts and equations from explosives classes 1962-1974

Box 4, Folder 19

Explosives storage aboard ships 1972-1976

Box 4, Folder 20

Notices to the Navy of planned underwater detonation 1970, 1974

Box 4, Folder 21-26

Explosives suppliers 1961-1980

General note

Files from E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Company, Hercules Incorporated, Aerex Explosives, United Geophysical Corporation, Kinetics International and EG&G Geometrics Inc.
Box 4, Folder 27

Air guns 1979

Box 4, Folder 28

Computer programs for seismic refraction 1977-1978

Box 4, Folder 29

Cruise data stations ca. 1975

Box 4, Folder 30

Hydrophones ca. 1965

Box 4, Folder 31-33

Multi Channel Seismic System 1977-1980

Box 4, Folder 34

Reflection streamers ca. 1965

Box 4, Folder 35

Sea floor hydrophones 1978-1979

Box 4, Folder 36

Sonobuoys 1978

Box 4, Folder 37

Notes on Fortran undated

Box 4, Folder 38

Notes on source depth and sinking rates 1963-1974

Box 4, Folder 39

Notes on data collection aboard research ships undated

Box 4, Folder 40

Notes on marine seismic refraction exploration for book undated



Box 4, Folder 41-42

Bahia Sabastian Vizcaino seismic refraction studies 1962


Project Mohole

Box 4, Folder 43

Correspondence 1961-1964

Box 4, Folder 44

Notes 1963

Box 5, Folder 1

Proposal to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences for a Seismic Survey at St. Paul's Rocks, Western Geophysical Company of America 1962

Box 5, Folder 2

Final Report to Brown & Root, Inc. Mohole Project, Western Geophysical Company of America 1963

Oversize SIO MC-110-01

Hawaiian Islands data plots and "A Line" refraction map 1963

Box 5, Folder 3-4

Marine Seismic Refraction: Anisotropy and Structural Studies 1970-1973

Box 5, Folder 5

Circum-Pacific Map Project, AAPG 1974-1976

Box 5, Folder 6-7

International Phase of Ocean Drilling (IPOD) 1974-1977

Box 5, Folder 8

Refraction Studies on the Fiji Plateau 1976-1977

Box 5, Folder 9

Proposed Marine Sanctuary for the Southern California Bight 1978

Box 5, Folder 10

Acoustic Properties of Finely Layered Sediments 1979

Box 5, Folder 11

Multichannel Seismic Reflection and Refraction Survey in the Bay of Bengal 1979



Scope and Content of Series

Series 7) INTERNATIONAL DECADE OF OCEAN EXPLORATION (IDOE) includes correspondence, meeting materials and memoranda for two prominent IDOE projects, the Studies of East Asia Tectonics and Resources project (SEATAR) and the Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas (CCOP).
Box 5, Folder 12-14

CCOP/SOPAC 1st, 4th and 8th sessions in Suva, Fiji 1973

Box 5, Folder 15-16

CCOP 10th and 12th sessions in Seoul, Korea 1974

Box 5, Folder 17

CCOP 13th session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1976

Box 5, Folder 18

CCOP 14th session in Manila, Philippines 1977

Box 5, Folder 19

CCOP 15th session 1978

Box 5, Folder 20

CCOP 16th session in Bandung, Indonesia 1979

Box 5, Folder 21

CCOP 17th session in Bangkok, Thailand 1980

Box 5, Folder 22

CCOP Correspondence C.Y. Li 1979-1981

Box 5, Folder 23

CCOP Visiting scientists and trainees 1974-1979

Box 5, Folder 24

CCOP miscellaneous 1979-1981

Box 5, Folder 25

TAG 9th session 1973

Box 5, Folder 26

TAG 15th session 1979

Box 5, Folder 27-38

SEATAR 1973-1980

Box 5, Folder 39

SEATAR Steering Committee 1978-1981

Box 5, Folder 40-41

SEATAR research proposals 1976

Box 6, Folder 1

CCOP Circum Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference 1974

Box 6, Folder 2

CCOP/IOC Working Group on East Asian Transects 1st Session 1975

Box 6, Folder 3

CCOP/SEATAR Circum Pacific Conference 1978

Box 6, Folder 4

CCOP-IOC/SEATAR Workshop 1978

Box 6, Folder 5

Manganese Nodule Program 1973

Box 6, Folder 6

Oriental Surveyor 1974

Box 6, Folder 7

Ocean sediment data bank 1975

Box 6, Folder 8

Snellius II Expedition 1978-1979

Box 6, Folder 9-10

Transect projects 1978-1981

Box 6, Folder 11

Naval Postgraduate School 1979-1980



Scope and Content of Series

Series 8) SIO. Arranged in seven subseries: A) Birch Aquarium, B) Ships and Expeditions, C) Marine Operations Committee (MOC), D) Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL), E) Marine Sciences Physical Planning Committee (MSPPC), F) Old Scripps Building and G) Miscellaneous.
A) Birch Aquarium: Correspondence, memoranda, publicity materials, notes and maps regarding the planning and construction of the Birch Aquarium during the late 1980s.
B) Ships and Expeditions: Correspondence, memoranda, cruise reports, ship schedules and other SIO fleet operations files.
C) Marine Operations Committee (MOC): Correspondence, memoranda, notes and meeting minutes. Shor's personal MOC files and designated chairman's files are separated in accordance with original filing order. Subject of note include fleet management and female crewmembers.
D) Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL): Correspondence, memoranda and reports.
E) Marine Sciences Physical Planning Committee (MSPPC): Correspondence and memoranda regarding SIO campus planning and expansion.
F) Old Scripps Building: Memoranda, correspondence, notes and publicity material regarding the historic preservation of the Old Scripps Building (George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory). Includes copies of photographs of the original construction, and notes on objects housed inside the building, including the Zarh H. Pritchard underwater paintings.
G) Miscellaneous: Memoranda, correspondence and memorabilia from various SIO groups, committees and events.

Birch Aquarium

Box 6, Folder 12-17

Planning and design ca. 1980

Box 6, Folder 18-23

Aquarium and Ocean Science Center Building Advisory Committee 1987-1991

Box 6, Folder 24

Aquarium fundraising 1985-1988

Box 6, Folder 25

Attendance projections and reports 1980s

Box 6, Folder 26

Community concerns and complaints 1985

Box 6, Folder 27-28

Draft Environmental Impact Reports 1985-1986

Box 6, Folder 29

Public Hearing on Draft EIR Report for the Proposed Scripps Aquarium and Oceanside Center 1985 October 2

Box 6, Folder 30

Environmental impact report (EIR) compliance 1988

Box 6, Folder 31

Site parking and roads 1986-1988

Box 6, Folder 32

Public relations 1980s

General note

Flyers and brochures for community meetings.
Oversize SIO MC-110-01

Hand-drawn map of aquarium site 1985 December

Box 7, Folder 1

Photographs and slides ca. 1980

General note

Photographs and figures of site planning and survey.

Ships and Expeditions

Box 7, Folder 2-8

Correspondence and memoranda 1968-1993


Cruise reports

Box 7, Folder 9-11

R/V Dolphin reports 1967-1975

Box 7, Folder 12

R/V Alexander Agassiz Gulf of California reports 1974

Box 7, Folder 13-14

R/V Alexander Agassiz reports 1975-1976

Box 7, Folder 15-17

R/V Alpha Helix reports 1975-1979

Box 7, Folder 18

SIO cruise index 1984



Box 7, Folder 19

National Science Board cruise, R/V Melville 1975

Box 7, Folder 20

INDOPAC Expedition slides 1976-1977

General note

45 35mm color slides taken by Elizabeth Shor during the INDOPAC Expedition. Images include photographs of participants Bob Kieckhefer, Keifher Lowden, Russell Raitt, Elizabeth Shor, Gary Sullivan and Alex Velasco. Ports photographed include Guam, Keelung, Taipei, Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea. Slides have been digitized and can be viewed on the UC San Diego Library Digital Collections website by searching the phrase, "George G. Shor papers."
Box 7, Folder 21

Scuba Baja, Charter ship Sand Dollar 1977 August 14-19

Box 7, Folder 22

Mariana Expedition Leg 11 1979 July 2-August 1

Box 7, Folder 23

RAMA Expedition 1979-1980

Box 7, Folder 24

Popcorn Ridge cruise 1984

Box 7, Folder 25-26

Ship schedules 1968-1974

Box 7, Folder 27

Instructions for marine technicians 1968-1974

Box 7, Folder 28-29

Seismic equipment manuals ca. 1965

Box 7, Folder 30

Rescue and salvage ships (ARS) conversion 1973-1974

Box 7, Folder 31

Air gun installation 1974

Box 7, Folder 32

Award contracts 1975-1976

Box 7, Folder 33

Master charter party 1969-1971

Box 7, Folder 34-38

R/V Melville ship scheduling, repairs and refit 1968-1976

Box 7, Folder 39

R/V Melville notes on ship condition 1992

Box 7, Folder 40

R/V Thomas Washington ship scheduling 1968-1976

Box 7, Folder 41-42

R/V Thomas Washington refit 1968-1983

Box 8, Folder 1

Ship fitting with multi-channel seismic reflection systems 1975-1976

Box 8, Folder 2

Mooring of R/V Thomas Washington 1976

Box 8, Folder 3

R/V Horizon replacement 1973

Box 8, Folder 4

R/V Horizon equipment notebook undated

Oversize SIO MC-110-01

Proposed Research Vessel (165') Modelled After Offshore Supply Boat Form blueprints 1968 March

Box 8, Folder 5

Notes on ship equipment ca. 1965

Box 8, Folder 6-7

Ship costs 1971-1981

Box 8, Folder 8-10

Quarterly fiscal reports 1983-1984

Box 8, Folder 11

NSF ship operations 1980-1981

Box 8, Folder 12-14

UC ship funds 1983-1985

Box 8, Folder 15-16

UNOLS fleet ca. 1980


Marine Operations Committee (MOC)

Box 8, Folder 17-24

Shor personal files 1970-1980

General note

General information, correspondence and memoranda, originally filed separately from "Chairman's files."
Box 8, Folder 25-30

Chairman's files 1955-1964

General note

General information, correspondence and memoranda, originally filed separately from "Personal files."
Box 9, Folder 1-20

Chairman's files 1955-1973

Box 9, Folder 21-22

Meeting minutes 1963-1968

Box 9, Folder 23-24

Budget ca. 1965

Box 9, Folder 25

Navigation systems 1960-1970

Box 9, Folder 26

Feasibility study for "boat truck" 1966

Box 9, Folder 27

Hydro Lab on R/V Melville 1970-1971

Box 9, Folder 28

Ship use proposals 1970-1971

Box 9, Folder 29

Proposal to NSF for designation as Operator Institution for new oceanographic ship 1974

Box 9, Folder 30

Research Vessel Operators' Council 1965-1966

Box 9, Folder 31

Personnel 1964-1967

Box 9, Folder 32

IDOE 1980-1981

Box 9, Folder 33

Female crewmembers 1972-1982

General note

As MOC chairman, Shor advocated for equal opportunity for female scientists and crewmembers. This file includes correspondence and memoranda regarding the inclusion of women in seagoing operations.

Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL)

Box 9, Folder 34

Memoranda and correspondence 1978

Box 9, Folder 35

Quarterly project reports 1958-1965

Box 9, Folder 36

Grants and budget 1975-1976


Marine Sciences Physical Planning Committee (MSPPC)

Box 9, Folder 37-41

General correspondence and memoranda 1973-1982

Box 10, Folder 1-14

General correspondence and memoranda 1983-1992

Box 10, Folder 15-19

SIO campus planning 1985-1988

Box 10, Folder 20-21

Park Committee 1989-1992

Box 10, Folder 22

Addition to staff of Naval Architect 1966

Box 10, Folder 23-24

R/V New Horizon new ship construction 1971-1981

Box 10, Folder 25

SIO parking and traffic flow 1973-1979

Box 10, Folder 26

Natural Reserves 1980-1989

Box 10, Folder 27

Open Spaces Task Force 1986-1988


Old Scripps Building

General note

Papers of George and Elizabeth Shor regarding the Old Scripps Building Committee, the Scripps Heritage Committee and the history and renovation of the Old Scripps Building. Included are memoranda and correspondence regarding restoration of architectural features and the preservation of historical objects kept in the Old Scripps Building.
Box 10, Folder 28-29

Memoranda and correspondence 1977-1989

Box 10, Folder 30

Notes 1977-1993

General note

Included are notes on historical objects inside of the Old Scripps Building.
Box 10, Folder 31

Carl Hubbs Room 1983

General note

Notations by Betty Shor.
Box 10, Folder 32

National Register of Historic Places 1984

General note

Completed nomination form with annotations by Betty Shor.
Box 10, Folder 33

Script for visitor tour groups 1993

Box 10, Folder 34

Photographs 1910

General note

Includes a photo of William E. Ritter sitting in an armchair inside of the Old Scripps Building, and images of the building's construction.
Box 10, Folder 35-39

Zarh H. Pritchard 1981-2012

General note

Papers on artist Zarh H. Pritchard (1866-1956), a British-American artist known for painting ocean landscapes while underwater, using a diving suit and waterproof materials. Includes descriptions and photographs of Pritchard paintings displayed in the Old Scripps Building, background materials, and Shor's biography of Pritchard (Betty Shor was asked to create a manuscript about him for a proposed exhibit at the Musee Oceanographique at Monaco). SIO has three of Pritchard's underwater paintings, a gift from Ellen B. Scripps.


Box 10, Folder 40-41

Space Advisory Committee 1970-1980

Box 11, Folder 1-2

Space Advisory Committee 1970-1980

Box 11, Folder 3

Geological Data Center 1972-1981

Box 11, Folder 4

Committee on Research 1975-1976

Box 11, Folder 5

Geological Sciences Curricular Group 1978-1980

Box 11, Folder 6

Long Range Planning Committee 1979-1986

Box 11, Folder 7-9

Scripps Industrial Associates (SIA) Steering Committee 1981-1986

Box 11, Folder 10

SIO Computer (shipboard) Committee 1982-1986

Box 11, Folder 11-15

Campus/Community Planning Committee (C/CPC) 1985-1989

General note

Memoranda and correspondence regarding Shor's involvement in SIO campus planning, including roads and the aquarium.
Box 11, Folder 16

SIO Fundraising Committee 1985-1989

Box 11, Folder 17

Pier Ground Breaking Committee 1987

Box 11, Folder 18

UC Geologic Overview Investigation of SIO campus 1988

Box 11, Folder 19-20

Scripps Heritage Committee 1988-1996

General note

Includes correspondence between Deborah Day and Betty Shor, with a significant amount of materials regarding the Old Scripps Building.
Box 11, Folder 21

Papers on the bronze bust of Roger Revelle 1977

General note

The bust was a gift to SIO by the Shors.
Box 11, Folder 22

Frautschy Day Symposium 1982

Box 11, Folder 23

SIO commemorative belt buckles 1984

General note

Two belt buckles. Engraving of R/V Melville and writing which states: "Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1903."
Box 11, Folder 25

Nail from original Scripps Pier mounted on wood 1988