Geological Survey, United States, bureau organized in 1879 under the Dept. of the Interior to unify and centralize the work already undertaken by separate surveys under Clarence King, F. V. Hayden, George W. Wheeler, and J. W. Powell. The functions of the bureau cover the exploration of the country to gather information as to geological structure; the preparation of geological and topographical maps of all parts of the country; the examination and assessment of natural resources; the study of problems of irrigation and water power; the classification of public lands; the investigation of natural disasters; the monitoring of global environment change, and the annual publication of papers, bulletins, and maps based upon surveys made. In 1962 the bureau was authorized to conduct surveys outside the public domain. The Geological Survey is also responsible for directing the National Geologic Mapping Program, using the most sophisticated of cartographic equipment for researching and compiling data.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.