The Premier Showcase of American Mining

News & Events

Esteemed exploration geologist Sig Muessig has passed

June 23,2018

NMHF Board of Governor died peacefully

                            Siegfried J. Muessig (Sig)                            January 19, 1922 – May 24, 2018

National Mining Hall of Fame Board of Governors member, Siegfrieg Muessig died peacefully at age 96 in Claremont, CA on May 24, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Mary Catherine (Kit), sons Hans (Sarah Dennett) and Philipp (Laura), and grandchildren Anna, Christopher, and Will. His brother Eckehard Muessig and sister Sieglinde (Weber) Williams preceded him in death. 

Sig was born to Philipp and Irma (Schoenig) Muessig in Freiburg, Germany on January 19, 1922, and in 1927 the family immigrated to Sylvania, Ohio. Sig enlisted in the Army during World War II, flying B-29s as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps. Following the war, he earned BS and PhD degrees in geology from The Ohio State University, subsequently working first for the U.S. Geological Survey and then the US Borax Company, becoming an expert on borate deposits around the world. In 1966 the Getty Oil Company asked him to lead their new minerals exploration group. Under Sig's oversight, Getty Mining became highly successful, responsible for the discovery of a large uranium deposit in Australia and the world's largest copper deposit in Chile. After Getty, Sig directed Crystal Exploration's search for diamonds in Michigan and Wisconsin, and consulted on many major mining company's exploration projects.  Sig served as president of the Society of Economic Geologists, was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, served on the Committee on Geology of the National Academy of Sciences, and was singled out for several prestigious professional awards, and a life­ term Governor of the National Mining Hall of Fame.

He approached life with gusto, explored the world with energy and curiosity, and never shied from spirited conversation with friends, family, and colleagues. Long time colleagues, Robert  C. Munro and William M  Pennell shared, "He always brushed away the window dressing and looked for the basic elements of a project and his pithy, insightful comments about the exploration business were always on the mark. During his career he would frequently, in print, exhort his fellow professionals with directives to keep focused on the basic issues of mineral exploration; "Drill in the shadow of the headframe!", "Exploration is a business not a science!", "IQ may get you there but it's NQ that finds it!" became slogans of the profession.

A private memorial service has been held. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis on June 12, 2018. Gifts in Sig's memory may be made to The Ohio State University Foundation, 1480 Lane Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43221, for their Edmund M. Spieker Memorial Scholarship Fund or the School of Earth Sciences Field Experience Travel Fund






About the Museum

Explore our 25,000 sq.ft. of interactive and informative exhibits!

About Us



Educational Resources

Hall of Fame

Learn about the industrious men and women who changed the mining world.

About the Hall of Fame

Browse Inductee Database

2018 Inductees

Prazen Award

Matchless Mine

Visit the historic site of the Matchless Mine and learn the story of the infamous Silver King and Baby Doe.

About the Matchless


Hours and Location