USGS - science for a changing world

Connections - Partnerships in Science

USGS Geological Research Activities with DOI Bureaus
- Listed by Science Activity

Hazards projects
(Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides)

Bureau of Reclamation Colorado Studies

Bureau of Reclamation provides funding for seismic station operational support for Paradox Basin.

Lind S. Gee,

Cascades Volcano Observatory

CVO provides real-time monitoring, conducts geological and geophysical studies on volcano histories and processes, and assesses volcano hazards for volcanoes in the Cascade Range from Mount Baker, Washington, to Lassen Peak, California. CVO interacts frequently with land managers, including National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation, on cooperative programs to update monitoring networks and with Federal, State, and local officials and the public to prepare for the next eruption in the Cascades. Mount Rainier National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, and Lassen Volcanic National Pare are DOI entities dependent on this information to insure the safety of their visitors.

Cynthia A. Gardner,


Geomagnetism program receives direct funding support from BIA and OIC for access to space at Fredericksburg facility.

Carol A.K. Finn,

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory provides real-time assessment for volcano and earthquake hazards located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and entire Island of Hawaii through numerous interactions with National Park, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and public officials. The Park uses this information to insure visitor and employee safety and to provide unique visitor experiences of active volcanism. Geologic mapping on Mauna Loa provides the Fish and Wildlife Service with detailed age dating of hundreds of substrate lava flows for studies of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna and for archeological studies of colonization. The distribution of ’a’â and pâhoehoe has been used to find the elusive seabird ’U’au, the Hawaiian petrel.

James P. Kauahikaua,

Hazards-Wildfire and Debris Flow

The focus of this project is to develop tools and methods for the prediction of post-wildfire landslide activity and hazard delineation. Agency personnel dealing with post-fire rehabilitation and emergency planning need tools to determine the both the probability and magnitude of such potentially destructive events, so we have developed methods to predict which basins might produce post-fire debris flows, and how big these events might be. By utilizing these methods, DOI (National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management), State, and local land-management agencies can tailor debris-flow specific mitigation efforts to watersheds that are the most prone to the largest debris-flow events.

Lucile M. Jones,

InSAR Applied to Volcano Studies

The InSAR Applied to Volcano Studies project uses satellite radar interferometry to measure and map ground-surface deformation at volcanoes and other targets of interest to DOI agencies, including the National Park Service. Results, in the form of images, papers in scientific journals, information updates, and less formal communications, are conveyed to counterparts in USGS and other agencies in support of hazards assessment and land management decisions.

Daniel Dzurisin,

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Landslide Assessments, Monitoring, and Research

Landslides, debris flows, and rock falls are hazards to humans and infrastructure at many of the nation's public lands, including lands managed by the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management. The USGS research focuses on landslide processes, including their mechanisms, recurrence, distribution, and probability. Study is being conducted in selected areas of Washington State, California, and Oregon. Our research includes use of LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) imagery and analysis of digital landscape signatures for characterizing different mass wasting settings, critical state soil mechanics tests for determining the likelihood of a landslide transforming into debris flow, and recently developed numerical models for predicting debris-flow inundation.

Rex L. Baum,

Long Valley Observatory

Monitor volcanic, seismic, and geothermal activity in the Long Valley area and provide hazard assessment and continuing consultation to Federal (including Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service), State, and local officials and to the general public. Devils Postpile National Monument is a DOI unit dependent on this information.

David P. Hill,

Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project

The overarching objective of the project is to increase resiliency to natural hazards by incorporating the needs of the southern California decision-making community into natural hazards science in new and existing research activities. The natural hazards being investigated in this project include earthquakes, floods, wildfires, landslides, coastal erosion, and tsunamis. The USGS will work with collaborators in setting the direction of future research and to apply the results of scientific research to loss reduction. Partners include State, county, city, and public lands government agencies (including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management), public and private utilities, companies with a significant impact and presence in Southern California, academic researchers, FEMA, NOAA, and local emergency response agencies.

Lucile M. Jones,

Navajo Land Use Planning Project

The project’s objective is to provide a geologic framework to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Navajo Nation for land-use planning and natural resource management. We will provide information for land use planning; native plants and invasive species; geologic controls on groundwater; geologic hazards - sand and dust storms, flash floods, and earthquakes; education on ecosystem and the role of native people; and a better understanding of ecosystem responses to land use and global warming.

Margaret M. Hiza,

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Northern California Seismic Network

The project does earthquake monitoring, reporting, and data archiving surrounding BOR reservoirs in central and northern California. Benefits include documentation of occurrence or absence of reservoir induced seismicity, imaging of active faults near BOR dams, and rapid reports of observed and predicted earthquake motions at BOR dam sites for quakes above magnitude 3.5. Background seismicity provides input to updates of USGS National Hazard Maps of predicted ground motion which BOR uses to evaluate dam safety. ShakeMaps produced in the minutes following large quakes help guide which dams BOR need to inspect. Archived earthquake waveforms provide input for engineering analyses of BOR facilities.

David Oppenheimer,

Seismic monitoring: The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) and Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) backbone

Earthquakes represent potential hazards to the visitors, staff, and infrastructure of many of the nation's parks and public lands. The tectonic forces that created so many of the parks' spectacular mountain ranges and volcanoes possess the capacity for tremendous destruction. Many National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Land Management managed lands are located in the seismically active areas studied by the USGS. For instance, several park service units lie along the San Andreas Fault system. USGS science products for planning and emergency management agencies include information on earthquake probabilities, shaking hazard maps, and liquefaction hazards.

Lind S. Gee,

Sierra National Forest - Ferguson Rockslide

The USGS is monitoring and studying rock slide on State Highway 140 that closed off normal road access to Yosemite National Park.

Mark E. Reid,

Volcanic Hazards Mapping and Research

The results from this project advance understanding of how volcanoes evolve and behave in terms of magmatic and volcanic processes, which are critical in accurate eruption forecasting, hazards assessment, and volcano-monitoring strategies. Through field, laboratory, and statistical studies the USGS will: (1) develop an integrated view of magmatic and eruptive processes; (2) decipher the eruptive history of dangerous volcanoes; (3) put that eruptive history into a time-stratigraphic context; (4) identify the events leading to volcanic unrest; and (5) synthesize this geologic information into evaluations of eruption potential and hazards assessments. Geologic maps with accompanying explanatory pamphlets and GIS-based digital files are products of these investigations, as are hazards assessments of the studied volcanoes. The USGS has conducted studies in Long Valley and Mammoth Mountain near Devils Postpile National Monument, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and Medicine Lake in Lava Beds National Monument,  Mount Mazama/Crater Lake in Crater Lake National Park, Newberry in Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Mount Rainier National Park, and more than 20 volcanoes along the Katmai segment of the Aleutian arc in Katmai National Park and Preserve. All work in the National Parks and Bureau of Land Management managed lands involve some level of cooperation with Park personnel, and in many instances, the USGS volcanologists provide geologic training for Park personnel.

Judith E. Fierstein,

Volcano Emissions

Primary objective is to measure gas flux from volcanoes in National Park Service units such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and others in the U.S. Certain gases can impact visitor and employee safety and gas flux measurements provide information that enables us to issue eruption warnings and to improve our understanding of how volcanoes work. Gas flux measurements of noxious sulfur dioxide gas and other pollutants at Kilauea Volcano react with oxygen and atmospheric moisture to produce volcanic smog (vog) and acid rain. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is closely monitoring gas emissions from Kilauea and working with local officials, including the National Park Service, to better understand volcanic air pollution and to enhance public awareness of the hazard.

Cynthia A. Werner,

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Volcano Research Laboratories

Provide geochronology and gas and water chemistry data for volcanic and hydrothermal systems in National Park Service units for hazard assessment and research studies.

Margaret T. Mangan,

Yellowstone Chloride Monitoring

The USGS monitors chloride concentrations with the newly developed "Field Chloride Analyzer. " The chloride flux data will be used by NPS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory scientists to estimate real-time geothermal heat flux and could potentially provide early warning information on volcanic hazards in the park. Project is funded by the USGS-NPS water quality partnership program. NPS Yellowstone also provides indirect support in the form of field assistance and collaboration.

Thomas Chapin,

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

The USGS, in partnership with NPS monitors volcanic, seismic and geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Through a Memorandum of Understanding, there is direct collaboration with YNP and the University of Utah. This project benefits the NPS through continuing hazards assessment and consultations, as well as real time monitoring of earthquakes, stream flow, and water and ground temperatures.

Jacob B. Lowenstern,

Geologic landscape and coastal assessments projects
(National Cooperative Geologic Mapping, Coastal and Marine Geology)

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3D/4D mapping of the San Andreas Fault Zone

The objective of the project is to understand the evolution of the San Andreas Fault since its inception. Geologic mapping developed during this project have been used in land use and emergency planning at the local, State, and Federal level, including by the National Park Service.

Russell W. Graymer,

Appalachian Blue Ridge Landscape

The project objective is to determine how geology has influenced the topography, water, soils, and plant and animal communities of the Appalachian Blue Ridge Mountains. Research is being conducted in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and adjacent lands. Research results are published electronically and in GIS format.

C. Scott Southworth,

BALANCE (BAsins & LANdscape Co-Evolution): An integrated geologic and geomorphic approach to understanding earth-surface processes related to ground water, geologic hazards, and ecosystems

The project’s objective is to understand the earth-surface processes related to ground water, geologic hazards, and ecosystems in southern California. This project is using geologic mapping that is integrated with landscape studies to investigate the geology, geomorphic history, and tectonic evolution of the mountain ranges, mountain fronts, and valleys in the region to improve understanding of landscape evolution as it bears on ground-water resources, geologic hazards, and ecosystem structure and health. The products include high quality, multipurpose digital geologic maps and accompanying databases and reports to aid land managers and decision makers from other Federal agencies, including BLM, to solve diverse land use problems in the area.

Jonathan C. Matti,

Coastal Evolution: Process-based Multi-scale Modeling

The primary goal is to identify the physical processes and anthropogenic influences that have resulted in significant morphological changes to the San Francisco Bay Coastal System. This will aid in the assessment of the future impact of sea level rise, climate change, and sediment management practices on the region’s beaches, tidal wetlands, and submarine resources. Project received funds from the NPS to investigate sediment transport at the mouth of San Francisco Bay, specifically the dynamics of the opening of Chrissy Marsh.

Daniel Hanes,

Coastal Watershed Restoration

This project has three objectives:

  1. Advise managers of other DOI agencies (including Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service) on specific watershed issues related to human activities such as impact of dams or dam removal on downstream river, estuarine, and marine environments and habitats.
  2. Use dams, artificial floods, dredging operations, and other human activities to conduct large-scale sediment transport experiments to learn how to predict sediment transport more accurately at the interface between rivers, estuaries, and marine settings.
  3. To conduct research on problems of interests to managers other government agencies in settings along the river/sea/estuarine interface.

The locations of active work are: Elwha River, Colorado River, San Francisco Bay, Tomales Bay, and Matilija Creek/Ventura River.

David Rubin,

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Framework Geology of Mid-Continent Carbonate Aquifers

The purpose is to understand geologic controls on ground-water availability in south-central United States. The National Park Service and the State of Oklahoma are concerned that large-scale water withdrawals from the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer will grossly diminish the only groundwater resource in the region. The USGS is working in cooperation with NPS to characterize the surface and subsurface geohydrology of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer system and to characterize surface geology, karst landforms, and geohydrology of the Ozark aquifers at Buffalo National River.

Charles D. Blome,

Geohydrology of Coast Ranges Basins

To understand how geology influences ground-water availability, movement, and contamination in the Western U.S. The USGS is working with the NPS in the west, including Death Valley National Park.

Victoria E. Langenheim,

Geologic Framework of Rio Grande Basins

This project investigates the geologic framework of basins and adjoining mountain flanks along the Rio Grande Rift in different areas of the southwestern U.S. to provide information on critical groundwater aquifers, hazards and resources. Project activities include geologic and geophysical mapping for important basins of the Rio Grande Rift. Mapping is integrated with studies of stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, and hydrogeologic characteristics of basin-fill sequences, and structural geology with emphasis on major faults and their effects on groundwater. An improved understanding of the hydrologic framework of the aquifer systems will allow States (Colorado and New Mexico) to regulate groundwater withdrawals with greater validity and will foster improved long-range management of groundwater and linked surface water resources. Information provided by the project is aiding decision makers at various levels of government, including BLM, BOR, and BIA, manage groundwater resources in the basin.

Mark R. Hudson,

Geologic Mapping SW Sequoia National Park

The objective is to map the geology of the Mineral King 15' quadrangle (CA) thereby providing complete geologic map coverage of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The NPS provides funding for field and analytical expenses and performs GIS compilation.

Thomas W. Sisson,

Geology of Parks and Federal Lands of the Southwest

The project supports DOI land management agencies in its resource management and preservation of cultural, biologic, hydrologic, and geologic feature. The DOI bureaus rely on the USGS for basic geologic research and geologic inventories and maps. These data inform managers on issues such as geologic controls on groundwater, soils, and vegetation, erosion of cultural sites, geologic hazards, and biological habitat characterization. In addition to the National Park Service, USGS geologic maps and data bases are used by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and local organizations such as municipalities, ranchers, and private resource managers.

George Billingsley,

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Geophysical and Geologic Investigations in the Great Basin

Groundwater, geothermal, and buried mineral resources are extremely valuable resource in the Great Basin. Federal and local agencies have requested assistance from the USGS to provide them with information on the geologic controls over groundwater, geothermal, and buried mineral resources in the Great Basin. The government entities include DOE, BLM, NPS, and water agencies. The Federal government is the largest landholder and resource manager in the region and USGS is providing them with the best, highest quality geophysical and geologic information to understand the geologic framework controls on hydrologic, geothermal, and mineral systems.

Geoffrey Phelps,

Holocene Climate of the Pacific Coasts

Improved knowledge of the history of the natural variations in climate along the Pacific margins of the U.S. will benefit the National Park Service units and improve ability to predict and assess impact of future climate change on the West.

John A. Barron,

Integrated Geologic Studies of Coral Reefs: Impacts from Land-based Pollution and Sea Level Rise

This Project addresses two broad research objectives both derived from a series of workshops and publications:

  1. To better understand the behavior of sediment on coral reefs, including its delivery pathways, residence time, processes of transport on the reef, and effect on corals and other organisms.
  2. To evaluate the effect of the projected rapid sea-level rise on coral reef communities.

This project provides critical information to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and has received funds from the National Park Service for sea-floor mapping and submarine groundwater discharge studies.

Michael E. Field,

Karst Applied Research Studies Through Geologic Mapping (KARST)

The KARST project integrates mapping and hydrogeology at local, regional, and national scale to address issues related to groundwater and subsidence hazards in karst terrains where urban, industrial, and agricultural development is increasing. Nearly 25 percent of the U.S. is in karst terrain and a large segment of this area is undergoing rapid urban and industrial development. The project is producing geologic maps at 1:24,000 and 1:100,000 scales that will be integrated into the National Geologic Map Database. Derivative maps and scientific papers address specific karst groundwater and subsidence issues at national, regional, and local scales. This project includes partnership and support with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Environmental Protection Agency.

David J. Weary,

Missouri River Geologic Framework

To provide information on hydrologic controls on water availability to interested partners including the National Park Service (NPS), State geological surveys, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to understand the surficial processes that control the geology, hydrology, and ecology of the lower Missouri River. Studies conducted in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The NPS requires information on geologic controls on habitat distribution as it considers land acquisition related to the implementation and management of the congressionally mandated Missouri National Recreational River.

Scott C. Lundstrom,

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Multi-Disciplinary Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound

An interdisciplinary project that coordinates, integrates, and links USGS studies with Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Projectgoals and objectives. Current studies have three themes:

The primary focus within these themes is to develop information that benefits the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the physical, chemical, and biological processes–as well as human dimensions–associated with the restoration or rehabilitation of the nearshore environment. Puget Sound partners and citizens will receive USGS results through databases, geospatial models and analyses, technical reports, and formal publications. As the Puget Sound Partnership expands the scope of Puget Sound problem-solving, USGS stands ready to provide the necessary scientific foundation for decisionmakers.

David Oppenheimer,

National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies: Pacific

High-resolution multibeam mapping of Santa Barbara Channel, Glacier Bay’s and Hawaii’s complex marine ecosystem and the marine species is funded jointly by the USGS, National Park Service, and the Minerals Management Service. The goal is to develop integrated geological and oceanographic habitat models, as a step toward determining the habitat relationships of critical species and resources.

Guy R. Cochrane,

North Slope Alaska Subsurface Geophysics

Interagency agreement with BLM to perform geophysical investigations to identify potential interferences caused by new Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS mapping equipment and to evaluate the impacts upon the geophysical results. Another goal is to determine impacts and signatures of wastes or artifacts in the unique tundra and permafrost geologic environments found in Alaska.

Jared Abraham,

Pacific EEZ Minerals

This project addresses the mineral resources that occur within the EEZ of Pacific coastal States and Pacific islands of U.S. interest. Little is known about the resource potential of the vast mineral deposits that occur within the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United States. The U.S. EEZ encompasses 3.4 million square nautical miles, an area about 20 percent greater than the entire land area of the U.S. Quantitative information about U.S. EEZ resources is essential in order for the Federal, including the Minerals Management Service, and State governments to make informed decisions about:

James R. Hein,

Sources, Transportation, and Fate of Natural Oil and Gas Seepages

Tar and oil residues are common on California beaches, especially in southern California where natural oil seeps are present. Baseline information on tar and oil accumulations from natural seepage and spills is sought in order to manage the offshore production of oil and gas. The Minerals Management Service and the County of Santa Barbara have funded the USGS organic geochemistry team in Menlo Park, California to provide geochemical information that can be used to distinguish between sources of tar from natural seeps of from man-made spill. Baseline tar accumulation on beaches is an important management tool to assess the environmental impact of natural oil seepage in contrast to possible oil spills or illegal dumping at sea. Tar accumulation on specific beaches is monitored on a periodic basis providing details of tar composition, amount, and possible transport pathways as they vary with time.

Thomas D. Lorenson,

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Surficial Geologic Mapping in the Southwest

The purpose is to provide geologic databases for understanding the potential long-term effects of urban development and land use in the Mojave Desert near Las Vegas. The multi-purpose surficial geologic maps and databases produced by this project contain information that is being used for land-management decisions with regard to (1) ground-water availability, (2) natural hazard risks, such as earthquakes, landslides, and debris flows, (3) ecosystem sustainability, (4) effects of climate change, and (5) soil compaction. This project is conducted in partnerships with State agencies, universities and other U.S. Department of the Interior agencies, including the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

David M. Miller,

The California Urban Ocean Project

Our objective is to provide information to Bureau of Reclamation and Minerals Management Service to improve understanding of coastal and marine sediment and contaminant transport processes that have a direct impact on the citizens of California. We follow these processes from source regions, through waterways to coastal estuaries, onto the beaches and continental shelf, and into submarine canyons and basin/fans. These processes include:

  1. inputs through rivers and industrial facilities into estuaries or directly into the sea;
  2. the record of coastal change and the processes that lead to the erosion of beaches;
  3. the overall spatial and temporal distribution of currents that can resuspend and transport contaminants and contaminated sediment;
  4. the distribution of contaminants and contaminated sediment (including natural contaminants) and the record of how this distribution has changed with time; and
  5. the processes that remove sediment and contaminants from the shelf, into canyons and out on to the basins.

Homa J. Lee,

USFWS - Subsurface Salinity Mapping

The USGS is utilizing terrain conductivity measurements to map the subsurface salinity for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bruce D. Smith,

Resources projects
(Minerals, Energy)

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ANVIL Points Geophysics

As part of a USGS-BLM Intra-Agency Agreement, the USGS conducted geophysical surveys at the Anvil Points Facility in Rifle, CO. The BLM has recently awarded a contract for the clean-up of the Anvil Points site, part of the Naval Oil Shale Reserves 1 and 3, also known as the Roan Plateau.

Robert J. Horton,

Aqueous Geochemistry Research and Development

Project objectives are to enhance, develop, and test emerging applications in aqueous geochemistry, and investigation of promising research topics in aqueous geochemistry. Research included uranium isotope research at Montezuma Well (NPS) and Tuba City Landfill (BIA). Also, geochemical research to help determine Tanner Crab movement in Glacier Bay National Park (NPS) was conducted. Sulfur in Mancos Shale leachage has led to a collaborative relationship with BOR scientists working on the Mancos Shale project, with results reported to BLM and BOR.

Kathleen S. Smith,

BLM Field Support

Through an Inter-Government Order, the USGS provides a broad range of technical assistance to enhance BLM's efficiency to respond to technical requests, allowing prompt management decisions. Field support locations include Randsburg, CA, Manning Canyon Repository, and the Josephine Mine.

Jared Abraham,

BOR Analyses

Project provides Bureau of Reclamation access to USGS geochemical expertise through laboratory analysis of soils, sediments, waters, and plants. If requested, project will provide assistance in the interpretation of laboratory results and planning of future field studies.

Stephen A. Wilson,

Central Colorado Assessment Project

The Colorado Front Range is one of the fastest growing regions in the western U.S. This growth has inflicted tremendous pressure on the available resources in the region and has created land management challenges for local, State, and Federal government agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. The long-term goal of the project is to provide comprehensive geoscience data and interpretations that will allow Federal, State, and local land management entities to make informed land-use decisions in central Colorado. These comprehensive earth science data will be used to improve our understanding of the availability of mineral and energy resources, the geochemical and environmental effects of historic mining activity on surface and ground water, the geoenvironmental effects of wildfires, and geologic controls on groundwater availability and quality, and geologic hazards, such as landslides and stream flooding.

Terry L. Klein,

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Geochemical and isotope studies of the evolution of ore deposits and technology transfer

Geochemical and isotope studies will be the basis for development of scientifically defensible strategies for assessing the mineral resources in the U.S. and worldwide, for predicting the potential environmental impact of exploitation, and for remediating the consequences of mining. The knowledge acquired in these studies is not specific to mineral resources and can be applied to a broad spectrum of societal relevant issues. Among these issues are the relation between hydrothermal alteration and landslides, the controls of cyanide degradation in ore processing, accidental spills and heaps undergoing closure, and the relation of life cycle mineral resources processes to water quality and human health. In addition, this knowledge can be applied to study of ecosystems and plant and animal ecology. The USGS has been invited to submit a proposal to the Bureau of Land Management National Science and Technology Center pertaining to cyanide research. In addition, cooperative studies were conducted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on grizzly bears in the Kuskokwim Mountains of Alaska.

Robert O. Rye,

The Geochemical Landscapes Project

Project objectives are to provide a multi-scale and, where possible, three-dimensional perspective on the soil geochemical landscape of the Nation. One cooperative mercury study is part of national mercury investigations (with DOI agencies as potential cooperators). Baseline geochemical studies are being conducted in Yellowstone and Joshua Tree National Parks and reports are being provided to NPS and BLM.

David B. Smith,

Geologic and Geoenvironmental Studies of the Western Phosphate Field (aka: Western U.S. Phosphate)

U.S. Geological Survey scientists associated with this project, a response to Federal land management agencies (Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs) needs, are studying the elemental, mineralogical, petrochemical, and stratigraphic character of phosphate mineralization within the Southeast Idaho Phosphate District and in selected portions of the Western Phosphate Field. Impacts on the environment associated with the presence and development of the Phosphoria Formation are also being examined. Concentrated initially in Southeast Idaho, this study is enhancing our ability to evaluate additional phosphate mineralization and to anticipate, assess, and mitigate environmental hazards, such as selenium toxicity, that are spatially associated with the existence and societal use (mining and reclamation) of the phosphate.

James R. Hein,

Geophysical Research and Development

The project supports the development of new and existing geophysical techniques for addressing critical geological problems. The USGS is performing geophysical studies in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM wants to utilize recent technical advancements in geophysics for improved characterization methods for sites containing potential hazardous materials, abandoned mine lands, and other resource management issues.As part of a BLM-USGS Intra-Agency Agreement, USGS performed a geophysical characterization study of subsurface conditions to map the extent of contamination at the Exell Helium Plant in Texas.

Jeffrey D. Phillips,

Geothermal Resource Studies

This project is compiling a new national geothermal energy resource assessment, which will provide comprehensive information on the location, nature and magnitude of geothermal resources in the United States. This information will be used by Federal, State and local agencies, as well as the geothermal industry itself, for renewable energy development strategies and land management decisions. Products will include reports and online databases. Collaboration with BLM is focused on geothermal resources on public lands and the potential impact of future development.

Colin F. Williams,

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Integrated Geological, Geochemical, and Geophysical Studies of Big Bend National Park

The objectives of this project were to conduct geological mapping as well as volcanogenic and environmental geochemical studies of Big Bend National Park (BBNP). The National Park Service is funding USGS to produce a 1:100,000-scale digital geological map for BBNP. The project also focuses on better understanding the volcanic stratigraphy and volcanogenic processes of BBNP. In addition, the USGS is also assisting BBNP with several environmental issues that potentially affect human health and wildlife habitats.

John E. Gray,

Mancos Shale Landscapes: Science and Management of Black Shale Terrains (a Regional Partnership Project)

A cooperative project with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other land-management agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other stakeholders to better understand black shale terrains and aid in land-use management. Project activities are an outgrowth of the BLM-USGS cooperative project, "Developing Coordinated Science Activities in Support of Land Management in the Mancos Shale Badlands of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. "

Richard I. Grauch,

Montezuma Well

The USGS is providing NPS with information to better understand the sources of ground water and flow paths to three water sources with the vicinity of Montezuma Castle National Monument. The results of the work will provide information for long-term water-resource management and protection of water rights.

Raymond H. Johnson,

Outreach and Technology Exchange, Eastern Minerals

The project objective is to share and exchange information between internal and external users of USGS mineral-resource information, including the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management. Methods of accomplishing these objectives include, but are not limited to, sponsoring technical sessions, symposia, or field trips at professional meetings; creating and distributing fact sheets and posters of Team research results to other USGS offices, Federal agencies, and members of Congress and their staff; and maintaining web sites for easier access to our products.

Jane Jenness,

Outreach and Technology Exchange, Western Minerals

The project objective is to share and exchange information between internal and external users of USGS mineral-resource information, including the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management. Methods of accomplishing these objectives include, but are not limited to, sponsoring technical sessions, symposia, or field trips at professional meetings; creating and distributing fact sheets and posters of Team research results to other USGS offices, Federal agencies, and members of Congress and their staff; and maintaining web sites for easier access to our products.

David G. Frank,

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Pathways of Metal Transfer from Mineralized Sources to Bioreceptors

The mid 1800s marked the beginning of a long and colorful history of mining in the western US that has left a legacy of approximately 11,000 abandoned hard rock mine sites. Thousands of these abandoned mines are on lands on or bordered by, lands managed by Federal land management agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service. At many of these sites, historical mining activities resulted in adverse impacts to the quality of water and sediment and to the health of humans and other biota. Successful management of these ecosystems requires an understanding of the processes that are responsible for the distributions, concentrations, and bioavailability of potentially toxic elements, such as arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn), in the environment. Such understanding is the scientific foundation for making decisions, developing strategy, and assessing mitigation and remediation alternatives by local, State, and Federal agencies charged with minimizing the environmental and health impacts of the elements.

Laurie S. Balistrieri,

Research Chemistry

The Research Chemistry Project provides access to state-of-the-art chemical analysis hardware and software, as well as the expertise of highly experienced research scientists to help solve unusually difficult problems in the field of analytical geochemistry that cannot be addressed by the routine methods of even the best commercial laboratories. Techniques currently supported, or under development, include ultra-trace analyses (sub-ppb concentrations) of both solid and liquid samples for virtually every element in the periodic chart, as well as the quantitative determination of specific chemical species (e.g. As(III), As(V), metal cyanide complexes) and mode of occurrence of elements in minerals. These methods permit the USGS to participate in a broad spectrum of scientific studies ranging from petrology and mineralogy to ecology and geo-environmental issues. Long term efforts of this project include the development of new standard reference materials that are used by USGS analytical labs and projects to assure the highest analytical accuracy possible; in addition, these standards are used by more than 20 countries to monitor the quality of geochemical data produced by laboratories from around the globe. This project providesanalytical services to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Paul J. Lamothe,

Process Studies of Contaminants Associated with Mineral Deposits

Project objectives included fundamental studies of the nature and scope of the effect of acid mine drainage (AMD) on the nation's waters; the evaluation of the acid-sulfate mineral deposit type on waters across different climatic zones; and the evaluation of ground-water flow paths in the Animas River watershed on water quality. Development of an overall strategy to deal with large-scale problems of surface water contamination by inactive historical mines is needed if Federal land management agencies are to develop a cost-effective approach to deal with its financial liabilities from historical mining on Federal lands. The USGS is engaged with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, and U.S. Forest Service in discussions that focus on planning for future directions and evaluation of the scope of AMD problems in the U.S.

Philip L. Verplanck,

San Luis Valley Geophysics

The USGS is being funded by the NPS to perform geophysical work in the vicinity of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The geophysical work includes EM soundings and a helicopter magnetic survey to better understand the subsurface for ground water models.

V.J.S. Grauch,

SIMWS-Sources of Industrial Minerals in Western States

This project will provide better understanding of selected industrial minerals in the western United States and will also provide better understanding of their potential for development. Assessment of these commodities will require development of improved methods to estimate industrial mineral resources and execution of these estimates for land managers, including Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs, and policy makers. The fact that many industrial minerals have low in-place value requires that economics must be addressed at the beginning of any assessment and requires new and modified assessment methodology. Development of mega quarries for industrial minerals mining and production will significantly affect some industrial minerals cost and availability. Research emphases also need to be guided by societal needs together with environmental well being. Research needs to be integrated so that multiple issues are considered, and products are useful for multiple users and stakeholders.

Keith R. Long,

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Sustainable Development of Industrial Minerals

Project goals are to advance USGS science in industrial minerals and to address the most pressing needs for industrial minerals information. Project personnel work with academia and other Federal agencies (including NPS) on industrial minerals research. The products from these studies will advance USGS development of lifecycle models for these deposits types; provide land management agencies with better geologic and minerals data on industrial minerals; identify potential environmental impacts from developing industrial minerals and geologic methods to mitigate or avoid those impacts; and identify minerals or mineral pathways that adversely impact the quality of soil, water and air in environments that may affect the health of humans, plants, animals, and food sources.

William H. Langer,

Tuba City Landfill

USGS was contracted by BIA to conduct geochemical and geophysical surveys to delineate the fluid plume leaching from the Tuba City Landfill, which serves the Navajo and Hopi Nations. USGS supports BIA as scientific/technical consultants for the project.

Robert J. Horton,

USFWS - Subsurface Salinity Mapping

The USGS is utilizing terrain conductivity measurements to map the subsurface salinity for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bruce D. Smith,

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