Page images
PDF
EPUB

now publicly recognized need for maps as bases for so many public and private activities. Urban and rural development, road locations, land, census, and soil problems, crop-control programs, irrigation, park and forest administration—all need these maps acutely. This national need should be met by provision for speeding up the mapping program.

A growing Survey problem, now very inadequately financed, is that of the administration of the mineral leasing laws. The Government's effective management as lessor of its mineral estate is jeopardized by inadequate skilled staff and the resulting inadequate inspection and control of leased properties. This situation needs prompt correction. Losses far in excess of the cost of adequate inspection and management are threatened by insufficient provision for this work.

The mineral industry depends upon and demands many more, and prompter issue, of the scientifically sound and impartial reports of the Geological Survey upon the active and potentially active mining districts of the Nation. Wherever available, these reports are guides in the development of ore bodies and in the search for extensions and for new deposits. More adequate provision is needed for this work and for the publication of results.

Finally, several of the administrative services of the Survey, necessary to its technical activities, have been reduced to the point of near inadequacy as a result of the reductions of recent years in the financial support for the regular services, especially the scientific and technical services of Government. Correction of this situation is one of the present acute needs.

Dr. David White, a member of the staff of the Geological Survey since 1886 and its chief geologist from 1912 to 1922, died February 7, 1935, at the age of 73. In his death geologic science lost one who had been a recognized leader Oh this continent for more than a generation. Though he was primarily a paleobotanist and the American authority in this field, his activities embraced many branches of geology as well as administration. Dr. White's career is a striking example of the type of leadership at the service of the American people in the scientific establishments at Washington. Recognized and honored the world over as a scientist of the highest standing, whose research and administrative work had direct practical applications of great value; repeatedly offered by commercial organizations salaries several times greater than the Government paid him—he nevertheless remained in the service throughout his career and devoted his rare abilities and his limitless industry to the Government and the people of the United States.

GENERAL SUMMARY OF THE YEAR'S ACTIVITIES

Geologic work.—Field parties of the geologic branch were actively at work In the beginning of the fiscal year on mineral-resources and land-classification surveys in 19 States east of the Rocky Mountains for which funds had been allocated by the Public Works Administration. One of the more important projects thus carried on was a report on the mineral resources of the region tributary to Boulder Dam, prepared as an aid in the study of possible markets for Boulder Dam power. Other projects included studies of the quicksilver •deposits in Texas and Arkansas, the gold deposits of the southern Appalachian region, the clays of several Southern States, and the iron ores of northeastern Texas. Work was continued throughout the year on the metal-mining districts of Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico in cooperation with the States, and some assistance was given to the Arizona Bureau of Mines in a survey of the Tombstone district. A resurvey of the Comstock lode in Nevada was begun near the end of the year. Stratigraphic and structural surveys of the San Andreas rift and Death Valley, Calif., were resumed, and field projects were carried on in Illinois and Kentucky, in the Coastal Plain area of Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina, in eastern Pennsylvania, and in the Wasatch Plateau, Utah. Temperatures in deep wells were measured in several oil fields. Areas of forest lands, mostly in the Appalachian region, were geologically examined for the Forest Service. A comprehensive review of the geology and occurrence of petroleum in the United States was prepared for a subcommittee of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.

Explorations in Alaska.—In the field season of 1934, 7 field projects were carried on in Alaska, 2 of which were primarily topographic and 5 primarily geologic. This work was financed in part by grants from the Public Works Administration. The usual general survey of recent mining developments and the collection of mineral statistics were continued. Six field projects for the season of 1935 had been started at the end of the fiscal year and will be continued throughout the open season. Compilation of base maps from aerial photographs taken in 1926 and 1929 by the Navy Department was continued throughout the year, the work being done in Juneau, Alaska, with an enlarged staff.

Topographic mapping.—A notable increase was made in the area covered by new topographic surveys, resurveys, and revision, the total being 30,924 square miles representing over 200 topographic maps with contours. The topographic mapping included all States. There was also a considerable increase in the area covered by planimetric maps without contours resulting from aerial photography, which covered 15,721 square miles in 9 States. In addition, aerial photographs were used as bases for topographic mapping in 42 quadrangles. Successful experiments were undertaken with single-lens aerial photographs with a wide-angle lens at high altitudes. The sectional transportation map of the United States being made for the Bureau of Public Roads was continued with increased output. The map of Iowa, the first State issued, consists of eight sections. These transportation maps on a scale of about 4 miles to 1 inch show all kinds of transportation routes In a variety of colors.

Investigations of water resources.—The water-resources branch collected and made available for publication stream-flow records at more than 3,000 rivermeasurement stations on rivers large and small, obtaining thus authentic information on the behavior of streams in drought, in flood, and in normal conditions—information which is invaluable for intelligent planning of projects for use or control of the water supply. This work Included the construction of many new stations on the larger rivers of the country and the complete rehabilitation of more than 500 existing stations. It investigated underground water supplies in 32 States and in the Territory of Hawaii and obtained basic information on the occurrence, quantity, and quality of underground water supplies which is essential for the development, conservation, and use of ground water upon which a large part of the population of the country must depend. In collaboration with the Mississippi Valley Committee of the Public Works Administration the branch made a comprehensive study of floods in the United States with reference to magnitude and frequency and an investigation of the relation of rainfall and run-off in the United States. A report on the flood study was sent to the printer near the end of the year, and a report on the rainfall and run-off study was nearly completed. A broad study was made of the great droughts of 1930-34, with an extensive compilation of information about the drought and a comparison with notable droughts of earlier years. An investigation had been made of the stream flow and silt movement of streams in eight projects of the Soil Conservation Service, and similar studies on the Colorado River. The completion of a program of well drilling at Salt Lake City, Utah, based upon the recommendations of the Geological Survey, provided a large additional supply of water for the city and averted a serious shortage. A report on the geology and ground-water resources of the Island of Oahu disclosed large supplies of underground water that are available to the city of Honolulu. Investigations conducted in the hydrologic laboratory demonstrated the law of flow of ground water for pressure gradients as low as 1 inch to the mile, which is of practical importance because natural gradients are very low.

Classifying and leasing public land.—The conservation branch made 11,434 formal findings of technical fact involving the mineral resources, water power or storage possibilities, and agricultural or grazing utility of public lands; classified 885,535 acres of withdrawn land as to coal and 267,684 acres of withdrawn land as to oil shale; added 72,793 acres to outstanding water-power reserves and eliminated 408,157 acres therefrom; added 12,480 acres to public water reserves and eliminated 460 acres therefrom; designated 35,450 acres as enterable under the stock-raising homestead law and canceled prior designations of 16,945,535 acres thereunder; designated 1,894 acres as enterable under the Enlarged Homestead Act and canceled prior designations of 25,947,994 acres thereunder; defined the "known geologic structure" of three producing oil and gas fields; completed 1,900 miles of stream-utilization surveys in publicland States; supervised operations or activities under 152 power projects licensed by the Federal Power Commission; supervised on public land 8,394 oil and gas holdings involving 3,699 productive wells, 758 coal properties, 204 potash properties, 45 sodium properties, 26 sulphur properties, 8 phosphate properties, and 1 oil-shale property; on naval petroleum reserves 24 leaseholds involving 529 productive oil and gas wells; and on Indian lands 4,812 leaseholds involving 4,477 oil and gas wells, 36 lead and zinc properties, 39 coal properties, 1 asphalt property, and 1 lime phosphate property; assisted hundreds of oil and gas permittees and operators in the preparation of unit plans of development; participated extensively in the organization and preliminary work of the departmental Division of Grazing; and initiated and fostered legislation looking to material change in the oil and gas provisions of the Federal mineral-leasing law.

Publications.—The publications of the year comprised 35 pamphlets in the regular series, covering a total of 3.509 pages; 86 new or revised topographic and other maps; and 139 reprinted topographic and other maps. Among the notable book publications were professional papers on the Breckenridge mining district, Colorado, and copper deposits of the Ducktown type in the Appalachian States; bulletins on the quicksilver deposits of southwestern Oregon, the Book Cliffs coal field in Colorado, the geology of Big Horn County and the Crow Reservation, Mont., and the coal in a part of the San Juan Basin, N. Mex.; a paper on the industrial utility of public water supplies in the United States; and a review of the petroleum industry in the United States, 1934. Besides these publications, 36 brief papers, some of them containing simple maps, were issued in mimeographed form as memoranda for the press.

The engraving division printed more than 581,000 copies of maps and folios and, in addition, did repay work amounting to about $190,000 for over 60 other Government units and State Governments.

Note.—Detailed tabular statements are given at the end of the report.

GEOLOGIC BRANCH
SUMMARY

Field parties of the geologic branch were actively at work in the beginning of the fiscal year on mineral-resources and land-classification surveys in 19 States east of the Rocky Mountains for which funds had been allocated by the Public Works Administration. Summary reports giving the results of work on most of these projects have been prepared, and several of them have already been published. Among the more important of these is a report on the mineral resources of the region tributary to Boulder Dam, prepared as an aid in the study of possible markets for Boulder Dam power. Public Works funds were made available through the Bureau of Reclamation, and the preliminary report was published by that Bureau.

Other valuable results made possible through Public Works aid include studies of the quicksilver deposits of the Terlingua district of southern Texas, the recently discovered quicksilver area of southern Arkansas, the gold deposits of the southern Appalachian region, the clays of several of the Southern States, and the iron ores of northeastern Texas.

Work was continued throughout the year on the metal-mining districts of Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico in cooperation with the States, and some assistance was given to the Arizona Bureau of Mines in a survey of the Tombstone district. A resurvey of the Comstock lode, in Nevada, was begun near the end of the year.

Stratigraphic and structural surveys of the San Andreas rift and Death Valley, Calif., were resumed, and minor field projects were carried on in Illinois and Kentucky, in the Coastal Plain area of Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina, in eastern Pennsylvania, and in the Wasatch Plateau, Utah. Temperatures in deep wells were measured in several oil fields, and certain areas of forest lands,, mostly in the Appalachian region, were geologically examined for the Forest Service.

A comprehensive review and summary of the geology and occurrence of petroleum in the United States was prepared during the year by members of the Survey staff for a subcommittee of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, acting under the chairmanship of Representative William P. Cole, Jr., of Maryland.. This summary and review, covering more than 200 pages, with 130 illustrations, chiefly maps, constitutes the greater part of part 2 of the hearings held under House Resolution 441, Seventy-third Congress. The situation in each of the petroleum-producing States is summarized in this volume, and an estimate of the reserves in the known fields is assembled. Important among the papers included are those on the early history of the use and development of petroleum and on its origin. They were written by Dr. David White, principal geologist of the Survey and world authority in this field.

WORK OF THE YEAR, BY STATES

Alabama.—Funds from the Public Works Administration were available through Federal projects 157, 158, and 161 for the continuation in 1933 of several projects on the mineral resources of Alabama begun In the fiscal year 1934, anil further funds were made available through Federal projects 183and 189. The work was done under the supervision of Survey geologists and consisted of the mapping and examination of mines in the Woodstock iron-ore area; geologic mapping and prospecting in the Russellville brown iron ore district; further studies of some of the gold areas of the State, with detailed mapping in some of the most representative and accessible gold-mining districts; investigation of bleaching and other high-grade clays in Clarke and Choctaw Counties as a continuation of studies in Mississippi, in the Cretaceous and Tertiary areas, and in northwestern Alabama; and investigations of manganiferous iron ore in Cleburne and Cherokee Counties and adjoining portions of Georgia. A paper on the geology of the Hog Mountain gold district was published by the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. A report on tin deposits of Alabama was issued as a press memorandum. A preliminary report on the gold deposits of the State has been prepared for publication by the Alabama Geological Survey. Reports on the clay investigations are nearing completion and will be issued by the Geological Survey.

Arizona.—Progress was made on reports on the geology and ore deposits of the Ajo copper district, the geology of the Tucson quadrangle, and manganese deposits near Artillery Peak. A paper on strontium deposits of southeastern California and western Arizona was published by the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. A geologic survey of the Tombstone mining district is being made in cooperation with the Arizona Bureau of Mines. Work near Boulder Dam is mentioned under California.

Arkansas.—The field studies of the coal and gas resources of the western portion of the Arkansas coal field of Sebastian, Franklin, Crawford, Logan, and Scott Counties (Federal project 163) were completed, and a report on the geology and mineral resources of the area was prepared for publication as a

« PreviousContinue »