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is staggeringly huge. More than 90 percent of this huge value, however, is locked up in our colossal coal reserves. In other fuels and most metals we are much less well off.
In meeting the requirements for war our Nation has taken a heavy toll of its mineral resources. Of our known commercial reserves, we have depleted 97 percent of our mercury, 78 percent of our chromium, 70 percent of .our vanadium, and comparable amounts of manganese, tungsten, zinc, and copper. Our fluorspar resources are being depleted four or five times as fast as in normal times, and peacetime adaptations of wartime uses will cause heavy demands after the war. War requirements have strained available resources of petroleum to the limit, and in some pools reserves in the ground have been endangered by too heavy withdrawals.
Discovery of new deposits can counter this depletion but because the easily discoverable deposits have already been extensively exploited, it will be necessary to expand old techniques of exploration and to develop new ones capable of finding obscure and deeply hidden deposits that have no easily discernible surface manifestations.
Geologic mapping is the first need in the search for hidden deposits of minerals. As the search becomes more intense and more difficult larger-scale geologic surveys are required. At the present time not more than 7 percent of the United States has been mapped geologically on scales adequate to serve the modern discovery program necessary to sustain our industries.
The Geological Survey plans to undertake extensive and systematic geologic surveys of many large areas of the country. These plans call for the utilization of every known refinement in mapping techniques and for the use of the most modern and varied techniques of geophysical exploration. Indeed, because even these will probably fall short of what should be done the Survey plans also to carry out rather elaborate research to discover and develop new geophysical and geochemical methods of exploration and to continue and enlarge its research on the geologic and geochemical factors that determine the localization of mineral and mineral-fuel deposits. Some of the techniques and methods developed by the unit will be of great value in the planning and construction of peacetime engineering projects, such as the selection of airport sites, highway alinements, dam construction, and municipal planning and development. Any large-scale construction project necessarily must be adapted to the geological and soil conditions at the site.
The limit of the Nation's capacity to produce oil efficiently from known fields was reached during the war, and forecasts for the postwar years indicate even greater requirements. This emphasizes the necessity for an accelerated rate of discovery. Geologic investigations directed toward this end have been conducted vigorously, and success in finding new sources of petroleum is confidently expected. Nevertheless, prudence demands that we appraise the potentialities of substitutes for liquid petroleum. The oil shales and the low-rank coals, especially those of the Rocky Mountain States, afford a source of substitutes in large quantity, and extensive field investigations of them should be undertaken now.
Expansion and redistribution of industry during the war has created local problems of coal supply requiring special investigations. One of the most pressing of these problems concerns the need for supplies of coking coal to sustain the new steel industry of the Salt Lake Valley, Utah, and of the Pacific coast.
Geologic maps pay extra dividends in appraising surface and underground water resources, in making soil surveys, in planning intelligent soil-conservation programs, and in the planning and execution of large engineering construction projects and reclamation programs.
During 1945 the work of the Geologic Branch was devoted strictly to war projects.
The Military Geology unit, at the request of the Military Intelligence Division, Office of the Chief of Engineers, expanded its terrain studies and also filled requests for more than 50 geologists to be detailed to the theaters of operation on assignments concerned with the preparation of operational intelligence or as scientific consultants in combat zones. Numerous official commendations prove the value of applying scientific methods for predicting terrain conditions in advance of operations.
New sources have been sought for certain rare elements that were needed for secret war projects like the atomic bomb. In addition to extensive field studies new techniques, both for field and laboratory use, have been developed to aid the discovery program. This part of our work is receiving much attention because of the tremendous peacetime implications of harnessing atomic power.
Our work on metallic minerals has emphasized basic geologic studies of the principal ore-producing districts in order to provide a proper foundation for further exploration. Some of this effort has already produced results: At San Manuel, Ariz., the Geological Survey cooperated with the Bureau of Mines in a drilling program that indicated copper reserves of possibly as much as 64 million tons of ore averaging 0.8 to 0.9. percent of copper, which is a small fraction of a percent below the 1.0 to 1.1 percent copper ores worked in large volumes in Utah and Arizona. About 10 million tons of bauxite ore have been added to the known national reserves of about 75 million tons as a result of investigations conducted jointly during the past 4 years by the Geological Survey and Bureau of Mines.
Under the auspices of the State Department and the Interdepartmental Committee for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation, 13 mineral commodities were investigated cooperatively in Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. The Geological Survey frequently in the past has been host to representatives of foreign Geological Surveys who have visited this country. More attention should be given to the cultural and scientific benefits that accrue from the visits of foreign scientists here and the visits of our scientists to foreign countries.
ALASKAN BRANCH During the year the geologic work of the Alaskan Branch was devoted to projects that seemed to promise immediate results in terms of satisfying the war needs of the Nation for certain mineral commodities and supplying direct benefits to the war agencies engaged in activities in Alaska. The intense search for and examination of Alaskan mineral deposits during the war has clearly demonstrated the need for continuing in the postwar period the making of an adequate inventory of Alaska's mineral resources.
The war years have seen a greatly increased public interest in Alaska. The Alaskan Branch in its activities has reflected this interest, and its expanded and pointed war program has illustrated the sound basis for such interest. The field investigations of the twoscore members of its technical staff, during the short seasons imposed by climatic conditions, have resulted in the issuance of a series of reports covering detailed examinations of a large number of mineral deposits, some whose worth was previously undetermined, others whose very existence was uncertain. While few of these deposits have as yet reached the stage of commercial development many stand available as sources of added raw materials should our country face greater or long-continued needs for such mineral commodities. As a result of these relatively limited studies the reserves of many of the war minerals present in the Territory have been substantially increased. For example, quicksilver, formerly considered as a resource of only minor significance, has become one of the important commodities which are now commercially produced in Alaska. The work of the Alaskan Branch geologists has increased known coal reserves by millions of tons. The mining of gold, in peacetime Alaska's major mineral industry, has been seriously curtailed by the war.
Not only has no significant percentage of Alaska's mineral resources been consumed in our war effort, but her mineral wealth is still so slightly tapped that any calculation in terms of dollars and tonnage reserves can be only a rough approximation. The Alaskan Branch, which has never numbered more than 40 geologists and through most of the half century of its life has numbered between 5 and 10 men, has spread its efforts widely over most of Alaska's nearly 600,000 square miles and has accumulated a considerably body of sound and
lasting information, but the task ahead is tremendous. As a result of these activities the known value of Alaska's mineral resources can be set at a minimum of several billions of dollars.
The accelerated war program has been coordinated with the anticipated future development of the Territory. Many of the thousands of servicemen who have passed through or have been stationed in Alaska have become greatly attracted to the Territory. Never again will there be a lack of interest in the Territory. With the growing interest in Alaska are coming increased inquiries as to the possibilities there for newcomers. Information as to Alaska's mineral resources is sought daily from the Alaskan Branch by servicemen, other private citizens, and corporations. As a result of its war program the Branch is better able to reply adequately to such questions than at any time in the past. But to provide complete answers to many of these questions, answers which will enable the questioner to plan his new life satisfactorily, far more is needed. The average postwar settler in Alaska can be helped immeasurably and the development of the Territory on a sound basis expedited if the Alaskan Branch and other Government agencies, each in its respective field, are able to supply the needed answers.
Alaska's development must be based on a sound and enduring economic structure, which has been established with an understanding of the aims and methods of sound conservation, not only for the safeguarding of Alaska's resources for the future but as well to insure the success of its prospective citizens in their varied ventures. One of the prime requisites for the establishment and maintenance of a highly developed civilization is the production and regular revision of a series of large-scale topographic maps of high detail and accuracy. The most efficient development of any area is impossible without the careful study of such maps. The most desirable locations for town sites, highways, reservoirs, airports, and a myriad of other works of man require at least initially a careful examination of detailed topographic maps. As a result of its work for the Army Air Forces, smallscale aeronautical pilotage charts have been completed by the Branch for the greater part of the Territory, but these, while they will serve as a springboard for future mapping activity, are inadequate to meet the demands of a developing civilization. Less than 1 percent of Alaska has been mapped in the detail and accuracy considered essential for areas of only moderate development in the United States.
With the production of such detailed maps should come a greater intensification of diversified geological examinations. Before the war the emphasis was placed on investigations contributory to the production of gold, during the war it was placed on the development of minerals essential to the war program, and now the postwar emphasis must be on a diversified mineral production. The development of deposits of nonmetallic mineral commodities, such as limestone, gypsum, marble, and other building stones, and clay, gravel, and sand may make important contributions to the establishment of a sound and stable society in Alaska. Alaska's fuels, her coal and perhaps her petroleum, may prove sufficient when adequately developed to satisfy not only her own needs but to sustain a considerable "export” trade as well. Many of these materials or their finished products are being shipped to Alaska today when Alaskan reserves, as yet practically undented, may be able to offer the same or better materials with lower costs and greater efficiency. Along with its postwar development of such mineral resources the Branch must continue at an increased tempo the delimitation of areas in which the production of metallic minerals is, or may become, possible. It is the duty of the Alaskan Branch to provide the basic information necessary for the continuation, expansion, and greater diversification of Alaska's mineral industry.
During the field season of 1944, which included the latter part of the fiscal year 1944 and the early part of the fiscal year 1945, the Alaskan Branch, through its regularly appropriated funds, carried out 15 specific projects and 4 supervisory projects, the majority of which were devoted to petroleum, coal, quicksilver, copper, tin, and zinc investigations.
The program for the field season of 1945 has been influenced in compliance with the needs of certain units of the War and Navy Departments. In the latter part of the fiscal year 1945 about twothirds of the technical geologic personnel of the Alaskan Branch of the Geological Survey were engaged on projects designed to meet these needs. In addition six projects relating to mineral commodities for which there was an acute demand to meet war needs were in progress at the close of the fiscal year 1945.
A major activity of the Alaskan Branch throughout the fiscal year has continued to be the compilation of aeronautical pilotage maps and charts from photographs furnished by the Army Air Forces, and financed with funds transferred to the Geological Survey from the Air Forces.
During the 1945 fiscal year 3 bulletins were published, 8 preliminary mimeographed reports on strategic and critical mineral investigations, 7 press releases embodying technical information and designed to take the place of preliminary reports pending regular printing of the results, 1 geologic and topographic map accompanied by a brief report, and 12 other press releases were issued.
TOPOGRAPHIC BRANCH The headquarters offices of the Topographic Branch and the Atlantic Division are in Washington, D. C.; the headquarters office of the Central Division is in Rolla, Mo.; and that of the Pacific