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State Geologist Passes Away

Published
Rhode Island’s state geologist and longtime advisor to the Coastal Resources Management Council has passed away. Jon Boothroyd died unexpectedly in his...

Rhode Island’s state geologist and longtime advisor to the Coastal Resources Management Council has passed away. Jon Boothroyd died unexpectedly in his home last week at age 77.

Over the course of his career, Boothroyd studied many of the biggest challenges Rhode Island faces from sea level rise and coastal erosion. 

Pam Rubinoff, senior coastal manager with the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center, said he was passionate about his work.

“He was also passionate about making sure that people understood the basics of geology, of the coast, of the dynamics, because he felt that really understanding these things would then make public policy more solid,” said Rubinoff.

Boothroyd taught at URI for many years. He died a couple of days before the university was going to honor him by adding his name to the Hall of Fame at the College of the Environment and Life Sciences.

The New Hampshire native was beloved as a mentor whose legacy will live on through the many people he taught, adds Rubinoff.

“And those people today are in town halls, they’re in the Statehouse, they’re in neighborhood associations, or they’re walking along the beach,” said Rubinoff.

Boothroyd developed a method for collecting beach profiles to track and understand the eroding coastline. That method, along with his many other contributions, is used in the state’s Coastal Resources Management Program.

A few years ago, several of Boothroyd’s graduate students surprised him by installing a special elevation bench mark engraved with his initials near the Charlestown shoreline.

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The sand on Misquamicut Beach.
The sand on Misquamicut Beach.