Tracey, Joshua I (Joshua Irving), 1915-

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Biographical History

Joshua Irving Tracey, Jr. was a Research Associate/Geologist with the United States Geological Survey that specialized in the geological history of the Pacific Ocean. Tracey was born in 1915 in New Haven, Connecticut. He earned three degrees from Yale University including a bachelor's in physics and mathematics in 1937, a master's in geology in 1943, and a doctorate in geology in 1950. Tracey joined the Geological Survey and was sent to Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas following the outbreak of World War II. He was instructed to explore for bauxite, the ore used to make aluminum that was needed for the war effort. Following the war, Tracey worked on Bikini Atoll doing core drilling before and after atomic bomb tests. From 1951 to 1954, he served as party chief in mapping the geology of Guam. During the 1960s, he drilled on Midway Island in conjunction with the Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Over the course of several summers, he surveyed the Green River in southwestern Wyoming. In the 1970s, Tracey worked as the co-chief of the Glomar Challenger deep-sea drilling initiative in the Pacific. His work consisted of seismic and magnetic surveys, in-hole measurements and laboratory analysis. Tracey retired from the Geological Survey in 1985. He was given office space in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, where he continued to research and write for several years. Tracey was married to Frances Louise Tracey of Arlington, and the couple had two sons. He died Thursday, Oct. 18, 2004 in Virginia of heart failure.


Clay County Times-Democrat. (2004, November 4). Dr. joshua irving tracey jr. Clay County Times-Democrat. Retrieved May 2012 from

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Geological Survey (U.S.) : He was a Research Associate/Geologist with the United States Geological Survey.

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