Max Steineke - Casoc's Chief Geologist
Max Steineke in 1938
purely professional way, Maxs principal attribute was his tremendous intellectual
honesty, combined with his willingness to stick his neck out by making interpretations and
predictions based on whatever geological data was available at the moment.
One of his favorite words was
"embarrassed" and he was always talking about being "embarrassed,"
though I doubt that he was ever fundamentally embarrassed in the professional sense. As
new data became available, he was perfectly willing to throw out the old hypotheses and
develop new ones. He was not all embarrassed to call a given structure an anticline on the
basis of new information, even though he had said that it was a syncline the year before.
He never could understand people who obstinately clung to old theories in the face of new
In addition, he possessed a great amount of
humility, some of which was possibly designed to encourage his young staff, but most of it
because he genuinely sought help and ideas wherever he could find them. He would discuss
his ideas with us young geologists as if he were seeking our advice. Part of this was Max
just thinking out loud, but nevertheless it gave us a great sense of importance and
He certainly gave us our head, and most of us
responded by working our heads off to justify the confidence. As I remember, the
instructions he gave to Ernie Berg and me at the beginning of 1939, when I first became a
party chief, were as follows.
" You go out to Maaqala."
I asked, "Wheres Maaqala?"
Max replied "Oh, its out there, 100 or 150
miles west of Jubail. Well get a guide to find it for you. When I went through there
two years ago, I didnt have time to look around. Somethings happening there,
and you find out what it is."
These were the totality of my instructions for five
months of work.