Remembering Lloyd Cluff

EERI is saddened to share news that Lloyd Cluff (M.EERI,1968) passed away on June 4, 2019. Lloyd was a renowned earthquake geologist, as well as an influential, longtime member of EERI and served as its president from 1993 to 1995.

Born and raised in Provo, Utah, Lloyd was an avid and skilled climber and skier. He came across geology, however, by chance. While studying animal husbandry at Brigham Young University, he was drafted into the army and sent to Alaska as an instructor in the U.S. Army Arctic Indoctrination School to train officers how to survive in high mountains. It was there on the Alaska Range that Lloyd realized the possibility of a career path in physical geology. Upon discharge from the army in 1956, he attended the University of Utah, majoring in geology. Lloyd conducted his first earthquake investigation in 1959 after the Hebgen Lake, Montana, event. Thereafter, learning from earthquakes became a lifelong obsession.

After graduating in 1960, Lloyd joined Woodward-Clyde Consultants (WCC) in Oakland, California, as a field geologist. Over his 25-year career at WCC, Lloyd served as its Director, Vice-President, and Principal Geologist. In 1985, Lloyd joined Pacific Gas and Electric Company to lead its Geosciences Department. After 27 years, he retired in 2011 from PG&E, where he was Director of the Earthquake Risk Management Program. Over the course of his career, Lloyd worked on some of the most critical facilities in the world, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the Aswan High Dam, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, and the Panama Canal.

“Lloyd was a pioneer in modern earth science during a period of vast intellectual change in that arena,” said Tom Tobin, EERI 2011-2012 President. “His interdisciplinary approach, optimistic style, and willingness to tackle challenges allowed him to work with engineers, politicians, and other earth scientists with ease; he was as comfortable in the boardroom as he was in the field.” 

Throughout his tremendous career, Lloyd received many recognitions and accolades. He was the 2003 recipient of the William B. Joyner Memorial Lecture Award for his role in the interface between earthquake science and engineering and public policy, jointly awarded by EERI and the Seismological Society of America. In 2009, Lloyd received EERI’s George W. Housner Medal for his excellent work in the application of geologic knowledge, and his support of effective public policies to reduce earthquake risks and hazards throughout the world.

“Lloyd was especially adept at navigating and communicating at the interface of science, engineering, and policy,” said Laurie Johnson, current EERI President. “His rare combination of skills and passion will be greatly missed.”

We extend our deepest condolences to Lloyd’s family, friends, and colleagues. Please click here to read Lloyd’s full obituary.