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Offshore Geologic Surveys
The Offshore Geologic Framework Program conducts scientific investigations to acquire an understanding of basic geologic and geophysical characteristics of the continental margins, adjacent slope and deep-ocean areas, and the Exclusive Economic Zone. Results of these studies and analysis of new information are essential for energy and mineral resource evaluation of these areas.
Mineral Resource Surveys
The Oil Shale Investigations Program conducts research to assess the Nation's oil shale resources, including investigation of the structure and chemistry of oil shale deposits and identification of oil shale deposits suitable for exploitation under current environmental and technological constraints.
The Uranium/Thorium Investigations Program conducts basic research to determine the nature and distribution of uranium and thorium resources, including newly forming uranium deposits and daughter products, such as radon, that may be health hazards.
The Geothermal Investigations Program conducts basic research to determine the nature, distribution, and magnitude of the Nation's geothermal resources. These studies define the geologic and hydrothermal regimes of the various classes of geothermal resources and identify the crustal, geochemical, and hydrothermal processes that produce geothermal systems.
The World Energy Resources Assessment Program provides information on worldwide energy resources for use by other agencies in the development of national-energy, international-trade, and foreign policies.
The National Mineral Resource Assessment Program provides comprehensive scientific surveys to identify significant new targets for industry exploration in the conterminous United States and Alaska, and also provides mineral resource information for planning the use of public lands.
The Strategic and Critical Minerals Program provides comprehensive information on domestic and world resources of nonfuel minerals that are essential to a strong national economy and defense.
The Development of Assessment Techniques Program carries out basic and applied research on the origin and the geologic, geochemical, and geophysical characteristics of mineral deposit systems in order to develop concepts and techniques to improve the capability to identify and evaluate mineral resources.
Water Resources Division
The Evolution of Sedimentary Basins Program studies the tectonic framework and depositional, thermal, and diagenetic processes of sedimentary basins in the United States to develop data essential to the successful exploration for and evaluation of mineral and energy resources.
The Coal Investigations Program conducts geologic, geophysical, and geochemical research to develop scientifically based assessments of the quality, quantity, and availability of the Nation's coal resources.
The Oil and Gas Investigations Program supports basic and applied research on the generation, migration, and entrapment of petroleum and natural gas.
The USGS has the principal responsibility within the Federal Government to provide the hydrologic information and understanding needed by others to achieve the best use and management of the Nation's water resources. To accomplish this mission, the Water Resources Division, in cooperation with State, local, and other Federal agencies: • Systematically collects and analyzes data to evaluate the quantity, quality, and use of the Nation's water resources and provides results of these investigations to the public. • Conducts water-resource appraisals describing the occurrence, availability, and
Government officials, natural resources managers, and the general public.
The principal product of the program is an annual National Water Summary that describes hydrologic events and water conditions for the water year and provides a State-by-State overview of specific waterrelated issues.
physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of surface and ground water. • Conducts basic and problem-oriented hydrologic and related research that aids in alleviating water-resources problems and provides an understanding of hydrologic systems sufficient to predict their response to natural or human-caused stress. • Coordinates the activities of Federal agencies in the acquisition of waterresources data for streams, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and ground water. • Provides scientific and technical assistance in hydrologic fields to other Federal, State, and local agencies, to licensees of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and to international agencies on behalf of the Department of State. • Administers the State Water Resources Research Institutes Program and the National Water Resources Research Grants Program.
National Water-Quality Assessment Program
The USGS began a National WaterQuality Assessment Program to (1) provide nationally consistent descriptions of the correct status of the quality of the Nation's water resources over a large, diverse, and geographically distributed portion of the country; (2) provide a baseline for evaluating future trends in water quality and, where possible, define trends in water quality over recent decades; and (3) provide an understanding of the factors influencing water quality and thereby provide the basis to forecast change and evaluate the likely effect on water quality of various proposed remedial actions. Initial efforts involve four surface-water and three ground-water pilot studies.
Hazardous Waste Hydrology Programs
Water Resources Division headquarters is in Reston, Virginia. The Chief Hydrologist, the Associate Chief Hydrologist, and four Assistant Chief Hydrologists are responsible for the overall direction of the Division. National water-research programs are developed at Division headquarters under the direction of the Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Research and External Coordination.
General direction of the Division's field programs is conducted through four Regional Hydrologists, located in Reston, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; and Menlo Park, California. Fortytwo District Offices carry out the waterresources investigations and datacollection programs of the Division in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Trust Territories.
The USGS conducts research and investigations into the disposal and release of hazardous chemical and radioactive wastes to provide information that will help in alleviating their effects on the Nation's water resources. The Survey evaluates the existing and potential effects on water resources of earth-science considerations in hazardous-waste disposal and provides baseline data on the chemical contamination of surface and ground water to assist the Department of Energy in developing procedures and guidelines for identifying suitable waste-disposal sites. Radioactivewaste studies are conducted in the Nuclear Waste Hydrology Program, the principal emphasis of which is a better understanding of radionuclide transport in groundwater systems. Nonradioactive wastes are the focus of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, which provides research
National Water Summary Program
The National Water Summary Program provides water information on a State-by-State and national basis to aid policymakers in the analysis and development of water policies, legislation, and management actions. Changing patterns in availability, quantity, quality, and use of water resources are summarized for use by
data to mitigate existing and future contamination problems.
Federal-State Cooperative Program
Regional Aquifer Systems Analysis Program
The Regional Aquifer Systems Analysis Program is a systematic study of a number of regional ground-water systems that represent a significant part of the Nation's water supply. The program includes assessment of discharge-recharge dynamics, hydrogeologic and chemical controls governing response of aquifer systems to stress, and development of computer simulation models.
The Federal-State Cooperative Program, which comprises more than 40 percent of overall Division activity, is a partnership for water-resources investigations involving 50–50 cost sharing between the USGS and State or local government agencies. One of the program's unique characteristics is that the USGS performs most of the work on behalf of the cooperators. A variety of hydrologic data-collection activities and water-resources investigations are included, for which the USGS represents national interests and more than 900 cooperating agencies represent State and local interests.
The primary mission of the National Mapping Division is to conduct the National Mapping Program. This program, which involves collecting, archiving, and disseminating cartographic, geographic, and remotely sensed data, produces maps and related cartographic information in graphic and digital form.
To accomplish this mission, the Division: • Collects, compiles, and analyzes information about natural and manmade features on the Earth's surface and documents changes in those features. • Produces and maintains a series of accurate, up-to-date, general-purpose base and thematic maps. • Develops and applies advanced cartographic techniques and systems to geographic information systems. • Develops and maintains a digital cartographic and geographic data base for various purposes. • Coordinates Federal mapping, digital cartographic, and remote sensing activities as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. • Represents the national interest through participation in international mapping and training activities.
The USGS is responsible for all functions that relate to domestic geographic names, including staff support to the inter
The USGS prepares, prints, and distributes base, topographic, and selected thematic maps of the Nation that are used extensively for land planning, land management, and recreation purposes.
Primary topographic maps, including 7.5-minute maps mostly at 1:24,000 scale for almost all areas of the lower 49 States and 15-minute maps of Alaska at 1:63,360 scale, are especially useful where detailed information is needed for all types of land and resource management. These detailed maps are continually updated and revised. Current program emphasis is on the production and maintenance of maps of urban areas and rapidly developing coastal areas, energy areas, and public lands.
Intermediate-scale maps prepared at 1:100,000 scale are used by the Bureau of Land Management for displaying resource inventories, by the Bureau of the Census for support of the 1990 Decennial Census, and by other agencies.
The 1:250,000-scale map series provides complete topographic coverage of the United States. These maps are widely used by Federal and State agencies for preparing other base and special-purpose maps. Other base maps are available, including 1:500,000-scale State base maps and smaller scale U.S. base maps.
The land use and land cover maps, produced in graphic and digital form
primarily at 1:250,000 scale and at 1:100,000 scale in selected areas, provide the only systematic nationwide inventory of land use and land cover data.
The National Atlas program provides 1:2,000,000- and 1:7,500,000-scale maps and smaller scale maps, digital cartographic data, and other information on key physical, environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, and historical characteristics of the Nation.
The USGS continues to expand and improve the National Digital Cartographic Data Base to make cartographic and geographic data available in a form suitable for computer-based analyses. The Division is responsible for coordinating digital cartographic activities throughout the Federal Government. The Division chairs the Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on Digital Cartography, which is responsible for the exchange of information and ideas on technology and methods for managing and using digital spatial data. Current activities include digitizing geographic data from 1:24,000-scale maps to meet new Federal and State needs and providing digital cartographic data for derivative maps.
Geographic Information Systems Research and Applications
The USGS prepares photoimage products in response to specific requirements of Federal and State agencies, particularly the Bureau of Land Management, the Soil Conservation Service, the Forest Service, and the Customs Service. These products include: • Orthophotoquads, produced from aerial photographs and prepared in standard scales and formats meeting National Map Accuracy Standards. • Side-looking airborne radar data for use in image mapping, geologic mapping, and geologic resource surveys. • Landsat Multispectral Scanner and Thematic Mapper satellite data for use in preparing image map products.
Since 1978, the USGS has served as the designated lead agency in a Federal multiagency National High-Altitude Photography Program to avoid duplication in contracting high-altitude photography and to achieve a consistent and systematic photographic data base of the conterminous United States. Photographic coverage under this program is now complete. In 1987, a new program, the National Aerial Photography Program, was initiated to
The Division is working with the other Divisions in the bureau to establish a sound geographic information systems research base, to conduct applications projects, and to encourage USGS scientists to use this powerful tool in their investigations. Current emphasis is on the application of new techniques in the generation of thematic maps, including microcomputer-based map compilation, color separation, and image processing. High priority is being given to the development of data standards, data exchange formats, data base management