Lehi F. Hintze has put the geology of western Utah on the map.

"He's a nationally recognized expert," said M. Lee Allison, director of the Utah Geological Survey.Hintze, now in his early 70s, is professor emeritus at Brigham Young University. Since he retired from teaching geology in 1986, he has worked half-time for the UGS, producing outstanding geologic maps and reports.

He and William Lee Stokes collaborated on Utah's first statewide geologic chart, published in 1963. Stokes took on the eastern part of the state while Hintze covered the western region.

In 1980, Hintze authored a geologic map of the state - a magnificent, multi-colored work of art and science that covers more than 11 square feet and shows nearly every outcrop and formation. His "Geologic Highway Map," a smaller version, is also popular, as is his book, "The Geologic History of Utah."

In 1992, he was awarded the governor's medal for science and technology. The next year, the Dibblee Foundation awarded him its first national medal for outstanding geological mapping.

"He's done dozens and dozens of maps on the one-to-24,000 scale," Allison said.

Hintze is working on a bulletin covering the geology of Millard County, including a map and reports, to be published by the UGS. Presently he is writing up the reports.

"I would expect that in two years we'll see publication of this thing," Hintze said.

It should make a splash among geologists. Millard County has some of the most spectacular ancient strata in the United States, retaining layers that date to the middle Cambrian era, about 530 million years ago.

Much of the fieldwork has been carried out by generations of BYU students, under Hintze's tutelage. Over the decades he has trained some of the country's greatest geologists.

"Beginning in about 1956, we have run six-week summer field camps, training camps, out in western Utah," he said. Groups of 10 to 50 geology students work in the camps.

Hintze would teach the students about strata and the fossils they contain.

In fact, the fossils of western Utah are one of his specialities. Back in 1950, while attending Columbia University, New York City, he wrote his thesis about the Ordovician era fossils there.

The area was rich in trilobites that had never been described scientifically before he did it. Several fossil species have been named after him, including trilobites, sponges and graptolites.

Hintze doesn't keep fossils that he finds. If they're common, he leaves them in the desert. If uncommon, he sends them to paleontologists like his former student, the renowned Richard A. Robison of the University of Kansas.

In 1955, Hintze went to work for BYU, and began mapping the rocks of western Utah. "We've been working on field work out there ever since," he said.

He is comfortable in the windswept reaches of rugged places like the House Mountains. "I'm a desert person," he said. "That's my kind of country. You can get out there and see forever."