A prominent Grand Junction geologist who passed away last summer was inducted into the New Mexico Mining Hall of Fame last week.
Bill Chenoweth was recognized for his many contributions to the uranium industry over the course of his 65-year career.
Specifically, he was inducted for his "Major contribution to New Mexico's mining industry: uranium mining history, geology and mineral resources of uranium in northwestern New Mexico."
Chenoweth's work for the Atomic Energy Commission helped lead to the creation of the 1990 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. With his extensive knowledge of uranium mining, he also helped verify claims of uranium miners and haulers, allowing miners and their relatives to receive government payments for their service to the World War II uranium mining effort.
According to his induction biography, Chenoweth decided to enroll in graduate school at the University of New Mexico after seeing New Mexico's unique geology.
After graduation, he was offered employment by the AEC to work on uranium exploration drilling projects on the Navajo Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. For the next 11 years he studied uranium ore deposits in these areas.
In 1964 Chenoweth transferred from Grants, New Mexico, to the AEC's main office in Grand Junction and was assigned to study uranium ore deposits in South Dakota and Wyoming, but continued to work on uranium in New Mexico.
During this time he examined all the major uranium mining area in the U.S.
He is the author and coauthor of more than 80 reports on uranium mining history, geology and resources in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.
Chenoweth had been a member of the New Mexico Geological Society since 1952.
Chenoweth passed away on July 23, 2018, at the age of 89.