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Raymond W Wittkopp Professional Geologist

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

September 1943 ~ January 2017

Excerpt from UGMM Nov. 2017 Newsletter

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Ray’s passing.

A fourth generation Californian, Ray was born and raised in Berkeley. He earned his B.A. in Geology from San Jose State University and did Graduate work at the University of Utah. His love of rocks and geology started when he was a young boy.

Ray at Kennecott Copper 1968 with an electron beam microprobe

Ray’s first job was with NASA at Moffett Field analyzing samples from clouds during the Cold War using an Electron Microprobe. He then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to help Kennecott Copper Corp. get better recovery from their Bingham Canyon Copper mine.

Ray was a lecturer at UC Davis when NASA sent the first moonrocks ever brought to earth to his lab for study. It was during this time (1971) that he received an inquiry from the US Government as to whether-or-not it would be possible to “fingerprint” raw gold to identify its origin.

This inquiry was related to a pending court case of “high-grading” (stealing) from the Oriental Mine in Alleghany. Ray ended up as key witness. The case was a rare instance of the prosecution of a high-grader. This was Ray’s introduction to the Alleghany Mining District.

Ray gave up his position at UC Davis in order to follow his dream of working as an exploration geologist. Ray mapped, sampled and drilled base and precious metal ore deposits in the Western United States and Australia for over 30 years. Alleghany was his favorite geological setting.


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