What Type of Data Does the United States Geological Survey Collect?


Scott Campbell

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is an agency of the U.S. federal government that collects a wide range of data related to various aspects of the earth’s surface and subsurface. This data is vital for understanding the natural resources, geologic hazards, and environmental conditions of the United States. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of data collected by the USGS.

Geologic Data

Geologic Maps: One of the primary types of data collected by the USGS is geologic maps. These maps provide detailed information about the distribution and characteristics of rocks, minerals, and other geological features across different regions. Geologic maps help in understanding the geology of an area and are used for resource exploration, land-use planning, and hazard assessment.

Stratigraphic Data: The USGS also collects stratigraphic data, which includes information about the layers or strata that make up the Earth’s crust. This data helps in understanding how different rock layers were formed over time and provides insights into past climate conditions and geological events.

Natural Resource Data

Mineral Resources: The USGS gathers data on mineral resources found within the United States. This includes information on mining operations, mineral deposits, production statistics, and commodity prices. Such data is crucial for assessing national mineral reserves and ensuring their sustainable development.

Energy Resources: Another important type of data collected by the USGS is related to energy resources like oil, natural gas, coal, and renewable energy sources. This data helps in evaluating energy potential, predicting future supplies, and developing strategies for energy security.

Water Data

Streamflow Data: The USGS measures streamflow in rivers across the country to monitor water availability and assess flood potential. Streamflow data helps in managing water resources, predicting droughts, and understanding the overall health of aquatic ecosystems.

Groundwater Data: The USGS collects data on groundwater levels, quality, and availability. This information is crucial for managing water supplies for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use.

Hazard Data

Earthquake Monitoring: The USGS operates a network of monitoring stations that track seismic activity across the United States. This data is essential for earthquake early warning systems, understanding tectonic processes, and assessing seismic hazards.

Volcano Monitoring: The USGS monitors active volcanoes to assess volcanic hazards and provide timely warnings to local communities. This includes collecting data on volcanic gas emissions, ground deformation, and seismic activity.


The United States Geological Survey plays a crucial role in collecting various types of data that are essential for understanding the Earth’s surface and subsurface. By collecting geologic data, natural resource data, water data, and hazard data, the USGS provides valuable insights into the nation’s geological resources and helps in managing environmental risks.

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