Southeastern Section–55th Annual Meeting (23–24 March 2006)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


HANEY, Donald C., Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 Mining & Mineral Res Bldg, Lexington, KY 40506-0107,

The well-being of any nation is based, in large part, on its ability to locate and prudently use its mineral and water resources; to assess potential harm to its citizens from natural hazards; and to provide for safe disposal of its waste material. Geologic maps provide essential information regarding the assessment of mineral, energy, and water resources; locating potential sites for the safe disposal of hazardous and nonhazardous waste; land-use planning; earthquake reduction; predicting volcanic hazards; reducing losses from landslides and ground failures; mitigating effects of coastal and stream erosion; siting critical facilities; and basic earth-science research. Geologic maps are the primary sources of geologic information for nearly all decision-making related to our habitation of the earth's surface and our use of its resources. Available maps are in continuous use by Federal agencies, State and local government, private industries, and the general public, but large areas of the United States remain unmapped, or mapped at scales too small to be of general use.

In the United States, government is obligated to provide services for its citizens that they cannot reasonably provide for themselves. Geologic mapping is one of those services, and our Nation has grossly failed in that endeavor. In response to that failure, the Association of American State Geologists convinced the U.S. Congress of the need, and the National Geologic Mapping Act was passed in 1992 requiring the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with state geological surveys, to geologically map the Nation at a scale of 1:24,000, with the exception of Alaska, which may use a smaller scale. The program is managed through the USGS, which provides matching funds on a competitive basis to state geological surveys and requires a map product in digital format that becomes part of a national map database. The USGS uses a portion of the funds to map Federal lands.