GSA Connects 2022 meeting in Denver, Colorado

Paper No. 27-20
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


ATWATER, Amy and CRYSTAL, Victoria, United States Geological Survey, Geological Materials Repository, W 6th Ave Kipling St., Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO 80225

In 1967 and 1968, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in partnership with NASA and the National Park Service extracted rock core from 13 locations in Yellowstone National Park. Research on these cores provided critical understanding of complex geothermal systems that would inform the potential development of other systems, external to the park, as energy sources. These cores are extremely rare due to the many restrictions on sampling in the park. Years later, the cores were used to investigate the origin of some of Yellowstone supervolcano’s lavas using techniques that did not even exist when the cores were drilled. This example illustrates the usefulness and legacy of previously collected scientific working collections to the greater research community. It also highlights the importance of national databases such as the USGS Registry for Scientific Collections (ReSciColl) for the discovery and reuse of these often-irreplaceable research assets.

ReSciColl supports the 2019 USGS scientific collections management policy and accompanying guidance with a standards-based metadata ingest function and map and keyword search capabilities to facilitate the discovery of resources. The policy implementation guidance outlines the lifecycle of samples collected for research from initiation of a Project Work Plan to the many options for proper documentation and disposition following research. It is our goal to provide help with the implementation of this policy by USGS researchers and to illustrate the benefits of these tools. Benefits include: reuse and reanalysis of materials, especially as new technologies emerge; increased accessibility of physical samples and materials for underrepresented groups; reduced or eliminated investment in new sample collection (i.e., field work), storage, and maintenance; increased opportunities for education and outreach; added value to USGS science through the promotion of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reproducible) practices for scientific collections; and increased collaboration, citation, and continuation of scientific progress. The utilization of the policy allows USGS scientists to be good stewards of their scientific collections and solidifies their legacy within the USGS as it prioritizes science for a changing world.