Thomas Cochrane, Geologist, Author, Regional Speaker

Meet a wildcatter! Just published, firsthand tales of the oil patch of yesteryear: Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil

Meet a wildcatter whose back-in-the-day journey from the hills of New York, to the ice fields of Alaska, to the plains of the Midwest brings the reader along on this complex quest to see underground. Here’s an insider’s look at the petroleum industry of the latter 20th century—and what geologist Thomas E. Cochrane experienced along the way. From Oklahoma, to Texas, to rubbing elbows with iconic oilman T. Boone Pickens, his personal tales of the oil fields provide a firsthand glimpse into the art as well as the science of exploring and drilling—all in the relentless pursuit of “hitting the big one,” every wildcatter’s dream. 

From company man, to making indie deals and partnering on the fly while chasing the next hot prospect, Cochrane discloses the technical processes involved in detail, but also the thrill of the hunt—including what can sometimes go very wrong. From dry holes, to blowouts, to sketchy money men among a cast of other colorful oil patch characters, his story delivers a step-back-in-time look at a bygone era in an ever-evolving global industry… and he has a sage perspective to share on its future as well. He’s also a popular regional speaker (especially on earthquakes, plate tectonics) who makes science-related discussions both interesting and fun – having begun his career as a teacher, he’s upbeat, lively, and engaging on-air.

The most important thing the author wants readers to gain from his books:

A peek back in time into the “wild, wild west” oil patch of yesteryear – and how a longtime oil company “insider” later changed his thinking about the future of energy as well as other societal attitudes in the ensuing decades (he’s now an avid environmentalist).

Why the author is an authority on the subject of his books:

Thomas is a licensed California professional geologist and holds an undergraduate degree in Geology from the State University of New York (SUNY), Binghamton, with graduate studies in Education at Colgate University (NY). He also did graduate work in Geology at Indiana University, and a study in field geology at Miami University’s Geology Field Camp in

Pursuing a teaching career, he initially taught science and mathematics as well as earth science and physics in his hometown of Greene, NY for four years, later becoming chairman of the Science Department and acting Chairman of the Mathematics Department. In 1964, he was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Grant to study Glaciology for a summer on the Juneau Icefield in southeast Alaska. (Yes, he's an octogenarian, but with a quick mind, ready laugh, and strong back/forth conversational skills -- a.k.a. he's the poster boy for thriving in retirement, even though he's still actively working as a geologist in Northern California.)


Speaking Engagements and School Presentations:

Understanding the earth beneath your feet, providing a primer on geology -- especially plate tectonics and earthquakes

Presentation Audience:



11-100 Appearances



Willing to Travel

Book Type:

Adult Non-Fiction


Aging/Senior Citizens

Environmental Issues


Men’s Issues


Cochrane_cover_book #2.jpg
Cochrane cover_book #1.jpg