The White House is expected to name Dr. Henry William Menard, a California marine geologist, to be director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Professor of geology at La Jolla's Scripps Institute of Oceanography for the last 20 years, Menard would become the 10th USGC director in the last 100 years. Menard would succeed Vincent E. McKelvey, who served as USGS director for the last seven years untill being asked to resign last summer ny Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus.

The choice of Menard ends a five month or search by the National Academy of Sciences and Asistant Interior Secretary Joan M. Davenport, who oversees the Geological Survey. There were reportedly as many as nine candidates for the job, some of whom turned it down before Menard was chosen and accepted.

"He considers the job a challenge, one White House source said in acknowledging that Menard was the choice for USGS director. "Bill Menard is a first-rate geologist who wants to come to Washington."

Menard, 57, is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology who won his Phd in geology at Harvard University in 1949. Menard served in the Navy during World War II and worked as an aceanographer at the Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego before joining the faculty of Scripps Institute in 1956.

A pioneer in the use of scuba diving in mapping underwater terrain, Menard is an acknowledged leader in marine geology. He has written at least four books, including one said to be the leading work on the geology of the Pacific Ocean.

Menard will take over a growing agency that is taking on a growing work load because of the energy crisis. Not only does the survey prepare the nation's estimates of oil, natural gas, coal and uranium, it also supervises the drilling of federal oil and gas leases and collects production royalties from those leases.