Harold was born in Kirkudbright, Scotland and currently resides in Tuscaloosa where he is a professor of geology at the University of Alabama. He has a long-term interest in the geology of mountain belts and has spent many years working in northern latitudes.
His research and interest in mountains has led him to numerous modern and ancient mountain belts around the world, including the Coast Mountains of southeastern Alaska, North Cascades of Washington, Canadian shield, Appalachians of North America, southern Alps of New Zealand, and Caledonides of Scotland, Norway, and Svalbard. Harold's first work as a professional geologist involved exploration for uranium, gold, and base metals. He spent four summers exploring for gold and other precious metals in Alaska, California, New Mexico and Nevada. Although no mineral deposits were developed as a result of this exploration, some of the research resulted in a Master’s degree and a fascination for the geology of mountain belts. Harold left the mineral industry to work on his doctorate in geology in 1982. Research involved mapping and analysis of metamorphic rocks in the Tracy Arm area of southeastern Alaska; he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1987.
Harold has enjoyed working with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic since the summer of 1995.