22 June 2011
Archival Gold: USGS National Geologic Map Database
Posted by Jessica Ball
Time for another of these, since I haven’t done one in a while! This Archival Gold post departs a bit from the photo theme, but it’s no less useful – in fact, it was one of the most useful websites I ever encountered as an undergrad. The U. S. Geological Survey’s National Geologic Map Database contains records of, and often links to, more than 85,000 maps related to a variety of subjects: geology, hazards, earth resources, geophysics, geochemistry, geochronology, paleontology, and marine geology.
You can search the maps by map location, place name, subject, author, title, date, and a number of other criteria. And when you get your results, you’ll often find maps available online in PDF or GIS form.
In addition to the maps, you can search for information on any geologic unit – by name, age, location, rock type – pretty much anything, using the GEOLEX lithologic and geochronologic unit name database.
The Map Database is a great resource for finding modern and older maps – especially useful if you’re doing some detailed mapping in an area, and want to see what interpretations other researchers have made of the landscape. (You can’t beat direct links to digital maps, and detailed references to those that are only available on paper.) And GEOLEX will give you the whole naming history and usage of pretty much any geologic unit you can think of, as well as the state the unit crops up in (and whether the name varies from state to state).
Thank you for sharing this! As an undergrad geography student, I know I’ll be referencing it often.