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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Spring 2011
DOI: 10.5062/F48G8HMQ

URLs in this document have been updated. Links enclosed in {curly brackets} have been changed. If a replacement link was located, the new URL was added and the link is active; if a new site could not be identified, the broken link was removed.


Science and Technology Resources on the Internet

The Geosciences: Selected Web Resources

Linda Zellmer
Assistant Professor
Malpass Library
Western Illinois University
Macomb, Illinois

Copyright 2011, Linda Zellmer. Used with permission.


Geological science, or more commonly geoscience, is a term that refers to the collection of scientific disciplines that study the Earth, including geology, paleontology, mineralogy, hydrology, and environmental geology, to name a few. This bibliography contains links to and brief descriptions of a variety of web resources, including reference works, publication indexes, style and citation manuals, photographs and images, earth science education resources as well as sources related to specific sub-disciplines of the geological sciences. It includes resources that can be used to teach and learn about the geosciences, as well as resources that might be useful to a wide variety of users, including students, researchers and the general public.


In the opening paragraph of the book Principles of Geology (1830), Charles Lyell gave the following definition: "Geology is the science which investigates the successive changes that have taken place in the organic and inorganic kingdoms of nature; it enquires into the causes of these changes, and the influence which they have exerted in modifying the surface and external structure of our planet." This definition is probably just as valid today as it was when Lyell first wrote it in 1830, albeit with some minor alterations. Geological scientists study the Earth and other planetary bodies to learn about their structure, composition and history. The geological sciences consist of a number of sub-disciplines, including economic, structural, regional and planetary geology, paleontology, mineralogy, stratigraphy, geomorphology, geochemistry and geophysics. Some definitions also include oceanography and atmospheric science, which are excluded from this webliography.


This webliography is written for librarians who serve geoscientists, including undergraduate students, researchers, and faculty, as well as general users who are looking for geoscience information. It contains a selected list of web resources related to a wide range of geology-related topics that can be used to teach and learn about geology, as well as links to resources that might be useful to researchers. It is not a comprehensive list. It focuses on web sites related to the geology of the United States; people looking for information about the geology of other countries of the world should look for the geological survey for that country (see the section on Organizations). It also includes information on specific topics related to the geosciences, such as minerals, energy, geologic time and geologic maps.

Geoscience information is available from a wide variety of sources, including commercial publishers, government agencies, scholarly societies, museums, and universities. Some of the resources in this webliography were included in the Geology chapter of Resources for College Libraries (Twiss-Brooks and Zellmer 2006) or selected as best web sites by the Geoscience Information Society (GSIS). To locate other resources, I consulted links available from geological surveys, professional organizations, and other geology libraries. Links were selected based on usefulness as an educational resource, persistence, whether they have been active for a number of years and are regularly updated. Annotations include information on the source of the site and why a particular site might be useful to a librarian, researcher or student. The list has separate sections for: resource types; information on specific geoscience topics; economic geology and natural resources; geological features or phenomena; and natural hazards, each of which are divided by subject. The divisions within each section are organized alphabetically. Within each subject area, resources are organized by usability; general resources are listed before more technical sites.

Resource Types

Information on Specific Geoscience Topics

Economic Geology & Natural Resources

Geological Features & Phenomena

Natural Hazards

Resource Types

Encyclopedias, Glossaries & Dictionaries


A number of print encyclopedias deal with various aspects of the geosciences. However, several free online encyclopedias can be consulted for quick information.

Encyclopedia of Earth
The Encyclopedia of Earth, developed by the Environmental Information Coalition (EIC), won the best web site award for 2007 from the Geoscience Information Society. It is a collection of authoritative, non-technical articles written by scientists, teachers and practitioners that can be used to learn more about the Earth, its environment and their importance to society.
Encyclopedia of Life
The Encyclopedia of Life is an online reference that provides information about all species on Earth developed by volunteers and edited by scientists at major natural history institutions. While many believe that it only includes living species, it includes over 2700 references to fossils. Although it does not include all fossil species, it can be used to determine where a particular fossil may fall in the tree of life.

Glossaries & Dictionaries

Geology, like many other scientific fields, has its own unique terminology. Two major print dictionaries cover most of the terms in geology and geophysics. However, several people and organizations have developed online dictionaries that can be consulted for quick definitions. Some of these online dictionaries and glossaries are general while others deal with specific geoscience subjects.

General Geology

Three general geology dictionaries are available online.

Geologic Glossary
The Geologic Glossary is dictionary of general geologic terms from the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Geology of the National Parks web site. It contains more than 375 terms and definitions, including common minerals, geologic deposits, features, landforms and processes, and geologic time periods. Some terms contain links to images or publications with more information.
Dictionary of Geological Terms  {}
This geological dictionary, developed by James M. Fausnaugh, a practicing geochemist, contains more than 500 terms related to geology, including terms related to economic geology. While it is more comprehensive than the Geologic Glossary, it does not contain any links to images or diagrams that might provide further explanation of a term or concept.
Illustrated Glossary of Geologic Terms  {}
This glossary, provided by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University, is based on the glossary that originally appeared in the book Earth: An Introduction to Geologic Change (Judson and Richardson 1995). It contains more than 800 terms with definitions, which have been updated to conform to current usage in the geological sciences. While it is titled an illustrated glossary, there are very few illustrations. However, it is a very useful source of basic definitions for the general public and undergraduate students.


Earthquake Glossary
The U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program has developed an illustrated glossary of nearly 200 earthquake-related terms. Each term is linked to a separate page containing a definition and illustrations that further explain the term. The site also contains links to earthquake topics, frequently asked questions, information for kids, students & teachers, "Today in Earthquake History," photos, publications and earthquake related Google Earth maps.


Glossary of Glacier Terminology
This glossary, by Bruce F. Molnia of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), contains 85 terms related to glaciers. It is a digital USGS publication, designated USGS Open File Report 2004-1216. The glossary contains definitions and annotated photographs showing glacial phenomena and features in Alaska. It does not contain terms related to continental glaciations.


Glossary of Mining Terms
This alphabetical glossary, developed by the Kentucky Mining Institute, contains more than 400 terms related coal mining. It contains definitions of terms, and a few links to pages providing photographs illustrating the terms. Because it deals primarily with coal mines and mining, it is missing terms related to mineral mining and quarrying.

Oil & Gas

Oilfield Glossary
The Oilfield Glossary is a dictionary containing more than 4600 terms related to all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including geology, geophysics, drilling and production. It is developed and maintained by Schlumberger, a major oil field service company. Each term in the glossary is linked to a definition or "see" reference. Definitions are at least a paragraph long (some are longer) and are cross linked to other terms in the glossary. Related terms are linked in see references.


UCMP Glossary
The University of California Museum of Paleontology has developed an online glossary of terms that would be useful to people learning about paleontology. Terms can be browsed alphabetically or by paleontology-related topic (phylogenetics; geology; biochemistry; cell biology; ecology; life history; zoology; botany or paleogeography). Definitions are one to two sentences long. Terms used in definitions that are found elsewhere in the Glossary are cross-linked.
USGS Paleontology - Glossary of Terms  {}
The U.S. Geological Survey's Paleontology - Glossary of Terms is a list of more than 100 terms related to paleontology, or the study of past life forms. Its emphasis is on paleostratigraphy, the study of fossils as they relate to stratigraphy. Many of the terms in the Glossary relate to geologic time and fossil groups.


USGS Photoglossary of Volcano Terms
The U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program has developed a glossary of volcano related terms. The USGS Photoglossary of Volcano Terms is an alphabetical list of more than 80 volcano-related terms that are linked to pages containing one to two paragraph definitions and photographs showing the feature described. Definitions contain links to other terms included in the glossary.
Glossary of Volcano and Related Terminology
The Glossary of Volcano and Related Terminology is a list of more than 500 terms related to volcanoes and volcanism developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory. Definitions are generally one or two sentences, although some are longer. Some terms are linked to other pages that provide more information on the topic. It also includes 22 references to publications for more information, many of which were published by the USGS.

Water & Water Resources

Water Science Glossary of Terms
The U.S. Geological Survey has developed a general water dictionary with more than 150 terms as part of their Water Science for Schools program. Definitions are generally one to two sentences, although some are longer. A few links to additional pages with more information on specific concepts are also provided.
Water Quality Association Glossary of Terms
The Water Quality Association has compiled a detailed glossary of more than 2000 terms related to water quality. While many of the terms in this glossary relate to water quality and chemistry, it also includes a number of terms that relate to the geology of water.
Water Words Dictionary  {}
The Nevada Division of Water Resources has compiled the Water Words Dictionary, a 385-page list of water resource related terms. The list is organized alphabetically; each letter links to a separate section, which is stored as a PDF file. Many of the terms relate to the geology of water. The site also includes links to six appendices (on Nevada water basins, water quality, water use and conservation, endangered species, water agencies and a geologic time scale), a list of abbreviations and acronyms used in the Dictionary, conversion factors, references, and quotes.

Databases & Indexes

GeoRef, an index to more than 3,000,000 publications related to the geology of North America and the world, is the major index to the geological literature. It is developed by the American Geological Institute and is available through several database vendors. However, several free indexes to geological literature are available online for research.

USGS Publications Warehouse
The U.S. Geological Survey Library maintains an index to Survey publications called the USGS Publications Warehouse. It is a combination of a bibliography and electronic library that includes citations to more than 75,000 USGS publications, of which more than 40,000 are available electronically in DJVU format. The USGS Library is working to convert the DJVU publications into PDF documents. Some of the publications, such as early USGS Annual Reports, contain articles on individual topics which have not been indexed separately.
National Geologic Map Database
The U.S. Geological Survey and Association of American State Geologists have cooperatively developed an index to geologic and geoscience-related maps in the United States. It can be searched by specific place name, state, and type of map. When available, digital versions of the maps can be viewed through the site. Information on geospatial (GIS) data, some of which can be downloaded, is also available on the site. In addition to providing separately published geologic maps, this site can also be used to identify maps published in U.S. and state government reports, an option that is not available in GeoRef.
Geologic Guidebooks of North America
The Geologic Guidebooks of North America database is a free index to geologic field trip guidebooks developed by Geoscience Information Society volunteers and hosted by the American Geological Institute. Field trip guides or guidebooks are important resources that can be used to learn about local geology. They summarize the geology of a particular region or route along a road or trail. They can be published by national, state or local geological organizations or by groups that study a particular aspect of geology, such as the Friends of the Pleistocene. The index can be used to locate bibliographic information about guidebooks available for a particular area.
GeoRef Preview Database
The GeoRef Preview Database is provided free of charge by the American Geological Institute, the organization that develops the GeoRef database. The Preview Database contains references to recent articles and other publications in the geological sciences that are in the process of being indexed for addition to GeoRef. The citations are not indexed or translated and have not been checked by indexers.
Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates  {}
The Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates is an index to more than 130,000 publications related to vertebrate paleontology covering the time period from 1509-1993. It is provided by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and based on their print index of the same title, which was published until 1993. It can be used to do taxonomic searches for publications on fossil vertebrates.

Geologic Time Scales

Archbishop James Ussher once calculated the age of the Earth based on the Bible, but scientists now agree that the Earth is considerably older. Several resources are available online to explain geologic time, including several online geologic time scales and explanations of geologic time. Geologists divide geologic time into eras, periods, epochs and ages (also called stages in some areas of the world). Geologic time scales give the names of these different divisions as well as their age (in million years before present [Ma]). While earlier geologic time scales were depicted in black & white, more recent time scales are shown in color. The colors on geologic time scales are also used to show rocks of that age on geologic maps.

Geologic Time Scale
The Geological Society of America (GSA) developed and disseminated a geologic time scale focusing on the Americas during their centennial in 1988. This web site provides access to the 1999 and 2009 editions of the Society's geologic time scale for the Americas. In addition to providing divisions of geologic time, this time scale also shows information on the magnetic polarity of the Earth (whether the Earth's magnetic pole pointed north or south). On this time scale, the size of individual geologic ages is shown relative to their length.
International Stratigraphic Chart  {}
This geologic time scale, titled the International Stratigraphic Chart, is provided by the International Commission on Stratigraphy. It was originally developed by the International Union of Geological Sciences and published in Episodes (Gradstein et al. 2004). It lacks the magnetic polarity information available on the GSA time scale; stages (ages) are shown as if they were equal in length.
Phanerozoic Geologic Time Chart
The British Geological Survey has a simplified version of the geologic time scale on their web site that shows eons, eras and periods and the date for each, which is what most freshman geology students are expected to memorize. Users who want more information on a particular geologic period can link from the period to view the names and dates for epochs and ages.
Big History & ChronoZoom
ChronoZoom is a project hosted by the Department of Earth & Planetary Science at the University of California Berkeley. It was developed by Roland Saekow, a student who took a course on Big History taught by Walter Alvarez, a UC-Berkeley professor. Big History deals with the history of the Earth from the Big Bang to the present. ChronoZoom, which requires a current Silverlight plug-in, allows users to tour Big History, including the history of the cosmos, Big Bang, Earth, life on Earth, human pre-history and human history.
GeoWhen Database
The GeoWhen Database, developed by Robert Rohde, a physicist at the University of California-Berkeley, provides information on geologic time, including current and former geologic time scales, stages and stratigraphic intervals. The site provides information on how each named division of geologic time can be identified in the stratigraphic record based on fossil evidence. It also includes local terms for regional names of geologic divisions that are recorded in the literature.


The Earth is not flat; it has landforms, such as rivers, valleys, hills, and mountains. It also has a spherical shape; thus, a globe is the only true depiction of the Earth. A map is a two dimensional representation of the three-dimensional Earth. Maps can be used to show the location of objects or features, their shape (physical characteristics), cultural features (buildings, roads, cities, etc.) and political features, such as state, county, and international boundaries. Some geologists study rocks in the field to identify the extent and age of geological units and structures and then record this information on a map. The resulting map is a geologic map. Geologists also use other maps, specifically topographic maps, which show the shape of the Earth's surface with contours and (sometimes) shading. The following sections provide information on resources related to geologic and topographic maps.

Geologic Maps

Geology is about place; the location that a rock or fossil was collected is important. Rock units and geologic structures, such as faults, are distributed over an area and can be clearly shown on a map. Geologic maps show the distribution of geologic features, including types of rocks and unconsolidated sediment in an area, structural features, such as faults and folds, mineral deposits, and fossil localities. The distribution and age of rock units and geologic features are shown by colors, lines, and specialized symbols unique to geologic maps. Several useful sites can be used for more information about geologic maps.

Geologic Maps
This web site, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey Western Earth Processes Team and the National Park Service, provides basic information about geologic maps and their symbols. Pages on the site provide information on the colors used on geologic maps and the letter symbols, lines, faults, strike and dip symbols and how to read a map key (also called a legend).
Meeting Challenges with Geologic Maps  {}
The American Geological Institute has developed a web site that provides basic information about geologic maps, including scale, legend, the geologic time scale, how they are made, and their value. The site also gives examples of how geologic maps are used for environmental protection, hazard mitigation, resource evaluation and land use planning. A number of examples are given for each topic.
Using Geologic Maps
The Maine Geological Survey has developed a web site that provides information on reading and interpreting geologic maps. While the site provides examples of the types of features and resources found on Maine geologic maps, some of the principles apply to other areas. The site provides information on the types of maps and features that can be found on Maine geologic maps and, in some cases, how to read a map to find those features. It also includes a section on informed map reading, which discusses criteria to consider when choosing a geologic map.
OneGeology is an initiative that was launched in 2007 by geological surveys throughout the world as part of the International Year of Planet Earth. The goal of OneGeology is to develop an interactive geological map of the world at a scale of 1:1,000,000. It will help people understand the environment of the Earth; that environmental problems are global, rather than local; and that these problems cross political boundaries. Geologic map data is offered through a portal, an interactive map system that can be used to zoom in on an area and turn map layers on and off.

Topographic Maps

Just as geologic maps are important resources for geologists, other maps are also useful. The U.S. Geological Survey has been mapping the United States at various scales for more than 125 years. Many libraries have collections of print topographic maps distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program. The following resources can be used to help interpret and locate topographic maps.

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
When planning field work, geologists usually like to look at topographic maps of their study area to survey the landforms. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a Federal body that maintains and approves geographic name usage throughout the United States, has developed the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), an index to nearly 2 million cultural and geographic features that appear on U.S. topographic maps. GNIS can be used to find the name of a map showing a particular place or feature (such as a mountain or river). Each record in the index gives the elevation, latitude and longitude and (most importantly) the name of the topographic map showing the feature. It also provides links to the feature in National Map Viewer, Google Earth and other online mapping systems.
National Map Viewer
The National Map Viewer is the U.S. Geological Survey's replacement for distributing print topographic maps through the Federal Depository Library Program. The Viewer, which is developed by the USGS, can be used to search for a location, create a custom map of a specific area or find the latitude and longitude of a specific place on a map. Custom maps may cross boundaries between two topographic maps, and can be sent to a local printer or plotter or downloaded for use with Geographic Information System (GIS) software.
Topographic Map Symbols
When the U.S. Geological Survey still issued printed maps, they also issued flyers titled Topographic Map Symbols showing the symbols used on topographic maps. This USGS web site contains the scanned images of the printed flyer as well as explanatory information about reading a topographic map. The symbols are organized alphabetically by type of feature shown: bathymetric features, boundaries, buildings & related features, coastal features, contours, control data and monuments, glaciers and permanent snowfields, land surveys, marine shorelines, mines and caves, projection and grids, railroads and related features, rivers, lakes and canals, roads and related features, submerged areas and bogs, surface features, transmission lines and pipelines and vegetation.
Reading Topographic Maps: Activities for Earth Science Teachers and Students
This 90-page book on reading topographic maps was developed by James R. Chaplin, a geologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey. It provides a survey of how topographic maps are used, scale, latitude and longitude, section, township & range and contours. It also includes exercises for teachers who want to use maps in their classrooms to teach map reading skills.
How to Read Illinois Topographic Maps  {}
This Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) publication, which has been revised from several earlier ISGS publications, provides information on reading topographic maps. Chapters provide general information about maps, topographic map symbols and colors, information found on the map margin, scale, orientation, how to locate features on a map, relief and contours, a glossary and a bibliography with additional references.

Mnemonic Devices for Geology

Almost every freshman geology student is faced with trying to memorize at least part of the geologic time scale as well as other geologic properties. A number of mnemonic devices (phrases that can help with memorization) have been developed to help students learn these basic elements of geology. The following sites provide mnemonic devices for geology students.

Geologic Mnemonics  {}
This site, which resulted from a November 2004 Science Friday show on National Public Radio, provides a set of mnemonic devices that can be used to remember the names of geologic time periods that were supplied by listeners. It includes a number of phrases that give the first letter (and in one case first 3 letters) of geologic time periods, epochs and eras.
Geologic Mnemonics
Not to be outdone, a site in the European Union developed by Pjotr Wiese provides a wide variety of geology-related mnemonic devices that were contributed by users. It includes devices for memorizing geologic time as well as other geologic concepts (Mohs hardness scale, grain size, the hardness of silicate minerals, the order of crystallization of minerals from magma and the most abundant elements in the Earth's crust).


Geologists regularly meet with their colleagues at national and regional professional meetings hosted by several major organizations. Most geology organizations publish their own journals and book series, including some of the most prestigious titles in the earth sciences. Most states also have a state government agency, similar to the U.S. Geological Survey, that is responsible for geologic mapping and other geology-related issues and resources within their state. These survey organizations also disseminate information in the form of geological reports on a wide variety of topics. The following organizations are important sources of geological information.

Geological Society of America
The Geological Society of America is the oldest national earth science organization in the United States. The Society holds one annual meeting and several regional meetings every year, publishes 6 journals, three book series, maps and field trip guidebooks (books describing the geology along a particular route or in a given area). Their web site is an important resource for librarians doing collection development in the earth sciences.
American Geological Institute
The American Geological Institute is a federation of nearly 50 professional organizations in the geosciences. It is also the organization that develops the GeoRef database, the primary index to the earth science literature. The AGI also serves as a lobbying organization for its member societies and works to raise public awareness of the importance of the earth sciences to resources, natural hazards and environmental science.
U.S. Geological Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the primary geoscience and mapping agency of the U.S. government. It produces topographic and geologic maps of the United States and its territories; maps water resources, natural resources and ecosystems; and collects, monitors and analyzes data and other information to learn more about natural resources and natural hazards. It produces publications in many subject areas that are issued online and in print through the Federal Depository Library Program.
Association of American State Geologists
The Association of American State Geologists is an organization made up of state geologists and chief executives of geological surveys in the United States and Puerto Rico. The state geological surveys serve as sources of geological information within each state, and may also be responsible for water, natural and mineral resources. Many state geological surveys publish and distribute information on the geology and geology related issues in their state. The AASG web site is useful to librarians because it offers a map with links to each individual state geological agency or organization.
Geoscience Information Society (GSIS)
The Geoscience Information Society is an organization of information professionals and librarians that works to improve communication and exchange of information between scientists, educators, librarians, editors, cartographers and other information professionals. They meet annually with the Geological Society of America, where they present papers and posters related to earth science information, learn about new publications and resources in the field from publishers and government agencies, and offer a free annual workshop on geoscience information.
American Geophysical Union
The American Geophysical Union is the major U.S. organization in the geophysical sciences. They publish 14 journals related to the Earth and space sciences (including geophysics, geochemistry, oceanography, meteorology and water resources), and several book series. Their books are not included in most collection development tools, such as GOBI, so their web site is an important resource for librarians doing collection development in the Earth, geophysical and space sciences.
Directory of Geoscience Organizations of the World  {}
While this article is directed towards the geology of the United States, there are times when users want to find information about the geology of other countries. One of the best places to start is the geological survey for that country. The Geological Survey of Japan maintains a directory of geological surveys and organizations that includes almost every country of the world. Each entry contains the address for the survey and a link and e-mail address for each organization (if available).
Geoscience Connections – Geological Surveys of Other Countries  {}
The Directory of Geoscience Organizations of the World is the primary source for information about geological surveys and organizations in countries of the world. Another useful source is the Geoscience Connections site from the Geological Survey of Canada. It provides links to web sites of provincial geological surveys, the USGS, U.S. states, and surveys of other countries. However, it does not provide information on contacting surveys that do not have web sites.

Photographs & Images

Geology is a visual science; it is best learned when a student can look at images and photographs of the landforms, structures, rocks, minerals and fossils being studied. While faculty and students can search for images in a number of search engines, several image collections devoted to the Earth and earth sciences can also be used to locate images.

Earth Science World Image Bank
The Earth Science World Image Bank is a collection of nearly 6000 geoscience photographs and images on a wide variety of earth science topics provided as a community service by the American Geological Institute (AGI). Images in the collection are contributed by geologists who make the photographs available for non-commercial educational use. All of the images are indexed by subject and location and most include a description that explains the feature shown.
EROS Image Gallery Collections
The EROS (Earth Resources Observation & Science) Data Center, located near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the U.S. Geological Survey's archive of remote sensing imagery. It contains aerial photography, satellite imagery, elevation and land cover data, digitized maps and an image gallery. It manages data and images from the USGS and other agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The EROS Image Gallery is a special collection of images and image collections that includes images from three Earth as Art exhibits, which show satellite images that were chosen for their artistic quality, Landsat images of the area traveled by Lewis and Clark, and Landsat and relief images of each U.S. state and Puerto Rico. EROS also provides free online access to Landsat imagery for the entire world.
USGS Earth Science Photographic Library
The U.S. Geological Survey has a collection of more than 400,000 photos that were taken by geologists doing research and mapping in the United States and U.S. territories from 1868 to the present. These images document the discovery, development, and science done by the Geological Survey and its predecessors. While most U.S. states and some territories are represented, most of the photographs deal with the western United States. This site provides online access to approximately 30,000 photographs on a wide variety of topics.
NASA Image Exchange (NIX)
The NASA Image Exchange (NIX) is a search engine that can be used to look for photographs, images and videos on a wide variety of topics. Most photographs are digital and can be viewed online. They can be browsed by subject or general theme (aeronautics, aircraft, devices, education, facilities, people, projects, Solar System and beyond, space flights and wind tunnels) or searched by general location (the name of a state or country). Some photographs, especially those of features on other planets, people and equipment, have extensive descriptions. Descriptions of images related to the Earth are somewhat limited.
Slide Sets
Geology professors used to rely on photographic slides to teach their classes. With the advent of the Internet and digital photography, slides have been replaced by collections of digital photographs (some of which were developed by scanning slides) showing geologic features. The Slide Sets collection at the University of British Columbia Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences contains digital slide sets and diagrams on a wide variety of topics, including geology, structural geology, fossil reefs, lithoprobe analysis, clastic depositional environments, landslides and geophysics.
ClipArt Etc. Earth Science
The Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida has collected more than 700 clip art images related to the earth sciences, including geology, minerals, hydrology, meteorology and topography. The site serves as a clearinghouse for clip art and images illustrating many different geologic concepts, including landforms, faults, folds and other geologic structures, meteorological phenomena and fossils. Images, most of which are taken from digitized books that are out of copyright, are credited with their source information.

Writers' Guides

Each individual subject seems to have its own citation style, and the geosciences are no different. While there are several print publications on geoscience writing, several online sites contain information that can be recommended to students writing geoscience papers, including a digitized volume from the U.S. Geological Survey and author information from major geological professional organizations in the United States.

Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey
Many geology librarians value their bound volume of the Suggestions to Authors, because it provides information on using terminology unique to the geosciences, including place, mineral and formation names. Although written for U.S. Geological Survey authors, this publication is sometimes recommended as a guide for writing theses and dissertations. It includes a very useful chapter on preparing references, including examples of citations for maps and guidebooks, which are somewhat unique to the geological literature. It also contains information on preparing maps for geoscience publications.
Author Information from the Geological Society of America
The Geological Society of America, the oldest professional organization of geoscientists in the United States, publishes a number of journals, book series, maps and charts. Each of their publications has a unique style of manuscript preparation. This web site provides information for authors preparing articles for their publications, including individual journals and book series. The "Style" section of the Author Guides for individual journals provides more information on citing publications.
Submission Guidelines for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin  {}
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, another major geological society, also provides information for authors of their publications. This site provides basic information on submitting to their flagship publication, the AAPG Bulletin, including a separate page that provides information on References Format that has a link to a Reference Style Checklist ({}) which includes sample citations for articles, books, maps, theses and Internet resources.
American Geophysical Union Author Guide
The American Geophysical Union has developed a new Author Guide for authors of articles in their journals which includes sample citations for references. It includes information on the use of mathematical symbols in text and how to include information about mathematical parameters used in the text. It also includes several pages showing several types of references, including journal articles, books, maps, theses and conference papers.

Information on Specific Topics

Earth Science Education

While geology is not a required course in most high schools, there are a number of resources that can be used to teach geological concepts to all grade levels. The educational resources available cover the entire range of topics covered in elementary, middle and high school, college geology courses and standards for earth science literacy.

Earth Science Literacy Initiative
The Earth Science Literacy Initiative was developed by a committee with input from more than 350 researchers and observers who participated in a 12-day online workshop. The committee, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, was charged to define a set of ideas and concepts that Americans should know about the geosciences. The result of their work, the Earth Science Literacy Principles, summarizes the big ideas and supporting concepts pertinent to geoscience literacy. The Principles are available on the ESLI web site. One item to note is that the Principles include a statement about information literacy: "an Earth science literate person . . . knows how to find and assess scientifically credible information about Earth" (page 2).
On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
This web site has been developed by the National Association of Geology Teachers (NAGT) to improve undergraduate geoscience education. Funded by the National Science Foundation, it includes web resources and information on virtual and in-person workshops on a wide range of topics of interest to working academics and students who are contemplating careers in academia. It also includes links to resources on teaching a variety of geoscience topics and themes.
DLESE: Digital Library for Earth System Education  {}
DLESE, the Digital Library for Earth System Education, was funded by the National Science Foundation from 2002-2007 and is presently hosted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and maintained by NCAR library staff. DLESE was originally developed by a group of educators, students, scientists and librarians to provide access to shared earth science teaching and learning resources so that students and teachers could locate and explore earth science data. It includes records describing and linking to a wide variety of educational resources, imagery, photographs, diagrams, data and lesson plans.
U.S. Geological Survey and Science Education
U.S. Geological Survey scientists and educators have developed a number of educational resources for all grade levels, from K-12 to community college and university. The resources cover many earth science topics, including natural resources, natural hazards, maps, geographic information, biology and issues affecting quality of life. This site organizes the USGS educational resources by grade level (primary, secondary and undergraduate), highlights resources on hot topics and provides links to other online resources, including social media, educational videos and animations, lectures, science careers and internships, employment and training opportunities.
Earth and Space Science Teachers Domain
The Teachers Domain, which was developed by WGBH Boston, a public television station, is a source for free digital multimedia resources in all subject areas, including art, English (language arts), math, science and social studies, from public television shows. It provides access to media resources, information, lesson plans and a summary of how each resource relates to the appropriate national standard, such as the National K-12 Science Standards. The Earth and Space Science Teachers Domain features resources on Earth in the universe, the Earth system, structure and processes, water resources, weather and climate.
Resources for K-12 Earth Science Educators
The Geological Society of America has identified and organized earth science education resources by general earth science topics: general earth science, earthquakes & volcanoes, energy, environmental science, geology & geologic time, mapping and geography, paleontology and evolution, plate tectonics, rocks, minerals and mining, space science, water and weather and climate. They are further divided by grade level (elementary, intermediate and secondary). Each section includes links to lesson plans and additional resources, including links to information, software, videos books and other media. All resources are free.
OneGeology Kids
OneGeology Kids is part of the OneGeology web site that was developed by geological surveys throughout the world. This site provides some basic information about geology, maps, rocks and minerals, fossils and dinosaurs, earthquakes, volcanoes, world geology, energy and water, all topics that might be studied by geologists. Of particular interest is the What is Geology page, which is an authoritative summary of information on the topic.

Geologic Time

The section on Geologic Time Scales provides links to charts showing divisions of geologic time. Those sites do not provide an explanation about how geologic time is measured. The following sites explain the concept of geologic time, including how the age of the Earth and rock units is measured, the development of the geologic time scale and life forms that existed during various geologic time periods.

What is Geologic Time?
The U.S. Geological Survey has developed a series of web sites, which are part of the Geology in the National Parks program, that provide information about the concept of geologic time. The sites include information on the evidence for an ancient Earth, the geologic time scale and a page titled Putting Time into Proportion that includes geologic time scales drawn to scale. The time scales are linked to separate pages on individual eras that provide an Earth reconstruction and summary of what was happening on Earth at that time.
Geologic Time
This site contains the contents of the U.S. Geological Survey's General Interest Publication Geologic Time (Newman 1997), which was updated with new information on the age of the Earth. It includes information on the relative time scale (how the age of rocks is determined in the field) and radiometric time scale (how the age of rocks is determined through radioactive decay). It is useful because it provides information on how the age of rocks is determined and some historical information on the names of geologic periods.
Geologic Time: The Story of a Changing Earth
This web site on geologic time was developed by the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Paleobiology. Using a sliding bar, and pull-down menus, users can learn more about the early Earth (Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic), and subsequent geologic periods and epochs, their geologic record and the life forms that existed at that time. The site also includes links to basic concepts, including dating methods, Earth processes and life processes.
Geological Timeline  {}
The British Geological Survey also has an interactive resource about geological time. Their "time line" is designed as a clock with 46 parts, each 100,000,000 years long. Some of the sections are hot linked to information on the rocks of that age and the life forms that existed during that time period. It does not include any of the technical jargon related to geologic time, such as the names of individual geologic time periods, eons and epochs.


Geophysics is the study of the Earth (or planetary bodies) using physical properties of rocks and rock layers, including seismicity, electromagnetism, gravity and radioactivity. It is a highly specialized subject within the geological sciences. Several sites provide basic information about geophysics as well as specialized data collections.

Society of Exploration Geophysicists Education and
The Society of Exploration Geophysicists is one of the major professional organizations for geophysicists. The Education section of their web site provides some simple explanations about the importance of geophysics and the work of geophysicists. It also provides links to other resources, including PowerPoint presentations for K-12 education, and recorded online presentations and lectures, which are located in the Online Presentations part of the Education web site.
USArray: A Continental-scale Seismic Observatory
USArray is a program funded by the National Science Foundation that is managed by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS). Over a 15-year period, the program will deploy a network of temporary and permanent seismographs across the continental United States to record earthquakes and provide data that will help geophysicists and geologists learn more about geologic structure of the continental United States. The web site includes publications, links to data from the program and updates on the program.
Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
IRIS is a consortium of over 100 universities in the United States that operates facilities to acquire, manage and distribute seismological data. It conducts geophysical research on seismic events and Earth properties, promotes the free and unrestricted exchange of data, encourages cooperation between members and other organizations to improve geophysical research and communicate about how geophysical research benefits society. The site provides information about and access to seismograph data, reports and publications, free posters and other educational materials.
National Geophysical Data Center
The National Geophysical Data Center is a national data center for geophysical data dealing with observations of the solid Earth, oceans and Sun-Earth system. It includes data of Earth observations from space. The Center has data available from a wide variety of Earth observations including data from aeromagnetic and geomagnetic surveys, satellite observations, marine seismic data, and data from ocean drilling. Some data is available for free download, while other data must be purchased. Despite the fact that NGDC is part of a government agency, most data was not included in the Federal Depository Library Program.
USGS National Geomagnetism Program
The Earth's magnetic field varies over time. The USGS' National Geomagnetism Program provides information on observations and variations in the Earth's magnetic field. The Program collects and provides access to continuous data on variations in Earth's magnetic field and conducts research on possible hazards related to these variations, such as disruption of radio communications and power grids. The site provides access to magnetic field data, publications and movies showing magnetic storm disturbances.
NASA Earth Observatory
The NASA Earth Observatory provides access to images and information about Earth's climate and environment based on satellite and field observations conducted by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration. The site can be used to view images related to natural hazards, such as storms, fires, drought (and its effect on crops) and floods. It also provides global maps based on satellite observations, images of Earth processes, phenomena, data and educational resources.
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)
Just as Earth's magnetic field varies from one location to another, the gravity of the Earth also varies from place to place. The GRACE web site, which is part of the NASA Earth Observatory, provides information on a program to map Earth's gravity field. The site provides a basic introduction to gravity and gravity anomalies, as well as information about the GRACE program. Data from the program are available from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mineralogy & Petrology

Minerals are naturally-occurring inorganic compounds or elements that have well-defined chemical compositions. Mineralogy is the study of minerals, including their composition, classification, properties, formation and occurrence. Rocks are made up of one or more minerals, and are either differentiated (individual minerals can be identified) or undifferentiated (individual minerals cannot be identified, as in obsidian or basalt). Petrology is the study of the composition, origin, occurrence, structure and history of rocks. Several useful sites are available for the study of rocks and minerals; while many of these sites were developed for amateur collectors, they are also useful sources of information for others.

Mineral Identification Key II
This site, provided by the Mineralogical Society of America, was written by three mineral collectors. It is designed to be used online to identify minerals. Information on the site can be used as a guide to identify a mineral specimen. Users are guided through the process of performing simple diagnostic tests to identify possible matches; once a match is identified, other resources, including print mineral identification guides, can be used to confirm the identity of the specimen.
The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom
This site, which was developed by a mineral collector, is an interactive reference guide to minerals and gemstones. Unlike most of the sites in this webliography, its existence is supported by ads for minerals and jewelry. It contains information on minerals (organized alphabetically, by chemistry, crystal structure, color, streak and hardness), gemstones (organized alphabetically, by color and crystal group), a photo gallery, glossary and links to additional resources. Each entry contains information on the mineral or gem's chemical composition, properties and tests that might be used in identifying a specimen. The site would be useful to both amateur collectors and students who are trying to identify a mineral. Entries for gems contain information on properties, pictures and text describing the gem, source, uses and names of similar gems.
Mineralogy Database
The Mineralogy Database is the hobby of David Barthelmy, a petroleum geologist. It contains information on more than 4000 minerals and images of more than 3700 specimens. Information on minerals can be accessed through an alphabetical list, by crystal form, chemical composition, mineral property, or other means. Each entry contains information on the chemical composition, whether the mineral name is accepted by the International Mineralogical Association, images, crystal structure, mineral tests, physical properties and other information. Like the Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom, the site is supported by ads. bills itself as the "largest mineral database and mineralogy reference web site on the Internet." Developed by Jolyon Ralph and Ida Chau, it contains information about minerals of the world, mineral collecting and localities, and other resources, including a directory of dealers, clubs, shows and web sites. It is supported by ads. Minerals can be searched by name, property, chemistry and association (when two or more minerals occur together in the same deposit). It contains names of recognized mineral species, as well as other names, including foreign language names. Each entry contains a mineral's chemical composition, tests, physical properties, information on where it is found (occurrence) and references to articles where the mineral is discussed.
Rock Identification Key
The Rock Identification Key was written by Donald Peck, one of the authors of the Mineral Identification Key II. While written by a hobbyist, the information will be useful for rock collectors and others who need information and a guide to identifying rock specimens. It provides basic information on what rocks are, types of rocks, the rock cycle, rock-forming minerals and rock collecting. It also contains information on common rocks, including the type of rock, appearance, mineral composition and how each type of rock forms.
American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
The American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database is a free index to crystal structures (the arrangement of atoms or molecules in a mineral) that were published in the journals American Mineralogist, Canadian Mineralogist, European Journal of Mineralogy and Physics and Chemistry of Minerals. The index was developed at the University of Arizona by Robert T. Downs and Michelle Hall-Wallace. The database provides crystal structure data that can be used in software, as well as citations to articles containing the data.
RRUFF is a cooperative project of the University of Arizona Mineralogy and Crystallography group and California Institute of Technology, Mineralogy Research Group. The goal of the project is to develop a complete set of Raman spectra for minerals. The resulting database will be free and openly accessible. Raman spectroscopy uses light (usually from a laser) which is scattered when shown through a mineral specimen. The site will be most useful for professionals, rather than amateurs.
GeoRoc: Geochemistry of Rocks of the Continents and Oceans
GeoRoc is a database developed by the Max Planck Institute for Geochemistry with funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. It contains information on geochemical analyses of volcanic rocks and mantle xenoliths (rock fragments of the mantle that are found as inclusions in other rocks). It contains analytical data on over 275,000 rock samples, including sample location, rock name and type, age, and chemical composition, as well as a citation to the article containing the data.

Paleontology & Evolution

Paleontology is the study of past life, which is preserved in various forms in the rock record. Several sites related to evolution are included in this section because the study of past life by paleontologists provides some of the scientific evidence by showing that life has changed over time, a basic concept of theory of evolution. A number of websites provide information about the science of paleontology, fossils and evolution. These sites would be useful to students, teachers and the general public.


The Paleontology Portal
This site, which is hosted by the University of California's Museum of Paleontology, is a selective collection of links to Internet resources on North American paleontology developed by the museum, the Paleontological Society, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the US Geological Survey. It provides links to information on famous flora and fossil sites, a searchable collection of fossil images, a hyperlinked U.S. geologic map that can be used for further exploration, and information on careers, collections, education resources and interviews with paleontologists.
Frequently Asked Questions about Paleontology
This site, from the University of California Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, contains a set of twelve questions and answers about paleontology and paleontological careers, fossils and fossil collecting, dinosaurs and the UC Museum of Paleontology. The answers are presented in brief, understandable text, with some links to other resources.
UCMP Online Exhibits
This web site contains online exhibits from the University of California Museum of Paleontology on a wide variety of resources on the history of life, evolution, education resources, research at the UCMP, and other topics related to paleontology. The History of Life section allows users to explore the tree of life and learn more about fossil and living organisms.
DinoData is a collection of a wide variety of resources related to dinosaurs, including art, news, maps, a glossary, and listing of dinosaur genera, that includes information on when each genus lived and where they were first found and described. It was developed by Fred Bervoets, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a group of contributors and artists. It was a featured resource in Science magazine's NetWatch (Leslie 2003).
Paleontology Database
The Paleobiology Database is an index to fossils available in collections throughout the world that was developed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California-Santa Barbara with funding from the National Science Foundation (2000-2008) and the Australian Research Council (2009-Present). The Database contains references to publications; fossil names, synonyms, classifications and occurrences; information on the collection containing the fossils; and the geologic age of the specimen. The database can be searched by location, fossil name or collection. When a record for a specific fossil is viewed, the user can click on a link to view a map of all locations where the fossil has been found.
Faunmap is an electronic database and interactive mapping system with information on the distribution of late Quaternary mammals in the United States. It was developed by the Illinois State Museum with funding from the National Science Foundation. It uses GIS to organize data and create maps on the fly showing the distribution of late Quaternary mammals. Data can also be downloaded for use in a GIS.


Science, Evolution and Creationism
Science, Evolution and Creationism is an online book from the National Academy of Sciences that explains the scientific method, documents evidence supporting evolution, and evaluates alternate perspectives. It can be downloaded for free from the National Academies web site or read online. It was written by the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Revising Science and Creationism.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life project is a collection of more than 9000 web pages providing information on the diversity, evolution and characteristics of organisms, including fossil organisms. It was developed through a collaborative process by expert and amateur contributors and edited by academics throughout the world. Branches on the Tree are hierarchically linked, allowing users to browse for the name of a fossil and connect to pages describing related organisms and see how fossil organisms are related to animals and plants that exist today. Extinct species are also identified. Pages include references to recent articles and links to internet resources on a given organism.
Evolution: A Journey into Where We're from and Where We're Going
This web site is a comprehensive learning resource from PBS and the WGBH NOVA Science group. The site provides information about the science of evolution, and was designed for teachers, students and the general public. It includes resources for both teachers and students, including online courses for teachers who want to learn how to teach about evolution, videos and teachers guides, and information for students on learning about evolution.

Planetary Geology

While planetary geology used to be taught as part of astronomy in physics departments, it has now become an accepted discipline in many major geology departments in the United States. The following sites contain information about the geology of the moon and planets in our solar system.

U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center
The U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center web site provides access to maps, data and information about the geology of planets as well as links to imagery of neighboring planets. It also hosts the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature in cooperation with the International Astronomical Union. The site also has an online mapping system, Map a Planet, that can be used to explore imagery of Venus, Earth's Moon, Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
Geologic History of the Moon
In 1987, the U.S. Geological Survey published a summary of the Geologic History of the Moon, USGS Professional Paper 1348. It summarizes the geology of the Moon based on imagery and information learned from samples collected during the Apollo space program. The volume was written by Don E. Wilhelms, a USGS geologist who taught geology to the Apollo astronauts and participated in Lunar landing site selection, with contributions from several other USGS geologists. The digitized version of this Professional Paper is provided through the USGS Publications Warehouse in DJVU format.
Lunar & Planetary Institute (LPI)
The Lunar and Planetary Institute is a research institute that supports NASA and other institutions doing research in planetary geology. It is part of the Universities Space Research Association, a non-profit corporation organized by the National Academy of Sciences that is made up of over 100 universities in the world that offer programs related to space science and engineering. The LPI Resources page includes links to digital imagery and publications, including e-books and meeting reports, related to the Moon and planets.
Earth Impact Database
The Earth Impact Database is a list of confirmed impact structures that have been found throughout the world. It is developed and maintained by the Planetary and Space Science Center at the University of New Brunswick; information on impact structures is collected from researchers and the published literature. Data from the Database was used on This Dynamic Planet: World Map of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Impact Craters, and Plate Tectonics, a map developed by the USGS and Smithsonian Institution in 2006. Database entries contain the crater name, location, latitude and longitude (in degrees, minutes and seconds), diameter, age, type of bolide and other information and images.
NASA Planetary Data System
The Planetary Data System, developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), archives and provides access to peer-reviewed data from NASA lunar and planetary missions, astronomical observations and laboratory measurements. The site allows users to browse for information about a planet in the Solar System, Earth's Moon or other astronomical phenomena, sign up to receive updates about data and locate images from planetary missions. It also provides a collection of NASA press releases and information about each planet in the Solar System (including Pluto).

Regional Geology

Many people want to learn more about the geology of their local area. Some of this information can be found in federal or state government documents, particularly reports from state geological surveys (see the Association of American State Geologists in the Organizations section of this webliography). Field trip guidebooks are also a useful source of information. They can be identified using the Geologic Guidebooks of North America online database, which is included in the Publication Indexes & Databases section of this article. Obtaining guidebooks can be a challenge for librarians and the general public, because organizations leading trips usually only print enough for participants; if they do print extras, the organizations want payment (a check) before they will send a guidebook to a purchaser. They are also a challenge for the organizations that host the trip because there is no way to determine the ultimate demand for a particular guidebook. To alleviate these problems, some organizations are now posting their guidebooks online. The following sites can be used to learn more about local regional geology.

Geology of the National Parks
The first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park, and many of the most visited national parks in the United States were established to preserve geological features and phenomena. The U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service have developed a set of web sites with information about the geology of the national parks. The site provides links to information about park geology through an alphabetical list of the parks, a state list and a list by geologic province (a region with a similar geologic structure or history). Many national park web sites have a link to nature and science that provide information and links to reports on the geology of the park or park region. The Park list also includes links to reports on science issues of individual parks.
Virtual Field Trip Guides: United States and Canada  {}
The Walter Geology Library at the University of Texas at Austin has developed a web site with links to collections of online field trip guidebooks. It contains links to virtual field trip guides, guides that describe the geology and geologic setting of a particular area, that are available on the Internet. The site is organized by region of the United States and Canada.


Stratigraphy is the study of rock layers and layering. Stratigraphic concepts can be used to determine the relative age of rocks (the age of one rock unit based on its relationship to other units in the area). Distinct rock units, called formations, can be identified and mapped. The following sites provide information on the names of geologic formations and the rules that apply when identifying and naming geologic units.

Geologic Names Lexicon
At first glance, the Geologic Names Lexicon, or GeoLex, appears to be part of the National Geologic Map Database, as they share some of the same graphics on their front page and are both developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. However, the purpose of GeoLex is entirely different. Geologic maps show the distribution and extent of distinct geologic units, called formations, which occur in an area. When a new formation is named or its extent or age is modified, the original name and subsequent changes are described in the literature. The Geologic Names Lexicon contains records of the names of all geologic units in the United States, their age and extent, and citations to publications with the original descriptions and subsequent changes. GeoLex can be searched by geologic age, formation name, location and author. Clicking on the "History" link in a record provides detailed information on publications that describe or modify the status of the formation.
SEPM Sequence Stratigraphy Web
This web site from the SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), provides information on the principles of sequence stratigraphy, the study of rock relationships in the stratigraphic record. It includes a number of interlinked pages that include descriptive text, images and animations to explain features in the sedimentary record. The site includes bibliographies on major stratigraphic concepts, sections on depositional systems, exercises, PowerPoint lectures and a glossary on sequence stratigraphy.
North American Stratigraphic Code
Most scientific fields have naming rules, and geology is no exception. The North American Stratigraphic Code is a document that outlines the procedures for classifying and naming geologic units. The Code is the set of rules that are followed when identifying, naming, revising or abandoning formal geologic unit names in North America. It was developed by the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature, and is based on the International Commission on Stratigraphy's {International Stratigraphic Guide}.

Structural Geology & Plate Tectonics

Structural geology is the description and analysis of rock structures, such as folds and faults. Plate tectonics is a geological concept that describes the movement of Earth's crust. It explains the Earth's geologic processes and structure and has revolutionized the interpretation of how the Earth works.

Structural Geology

Teaching Resources in Structural Geology
This web site, which is provided by the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Leeds, contains a wide variety of resources that can be used to teach about structural geology. It includes basic information on rocks and rock deformation, folds, faults, shear, structural features, strain, virtual field trips, and rheology, which is the response of materials such as rocks to outside forces. The site can be used as a model for teaching structural geology concepts.
Keck Geology Consortium Structural Geology Slide Set
The Keck Geology Consortium Structural Geology Slide set was developed by H. Robert Burger while he was a professor at Smith College. It is an annotated collection of photographs of structural features that can be used to teach and learn about structural geology. With the advent of digital photography, the slide set has been converted to a collection of digital images that can be viewed on the University of British Columbia's Earth and Ocean Sciences web site.
Structural Geology on the Web
This site, developed by a former University of Illinois graduate student, is provided and maintained by the Smith College Department of Geosciences. It describes itself as "A deformed roadcut on the information superhighway." The site contains links to web sites of structural geologists, images of geologic structures, data sets and bibliographies, links to computer software for use in structural geology, resources on plate tectonics, books and journals, professional organizations, course syllabi, research and academic groups and meetings. Although some of the links are out of date, the site is still quite useful.

Plate Tectonics

This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics
The theory of plate tectonics, which is now largely confirmed, revolutionized the field of geology. This web site is the digital version of a book by W. Jacquelyne Kious, a writer, and Robert I. Tilling, a USGS geologist, published by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1996. It is a general introduction to the concept of plate tectonics that includes historical information about the theory of plate tectonics, plate motions, hotspots, unanswered questions and how plate tectonics impacts people. It is a very useful and readable summary of the concept of plate tectonics.
The PALEOMAP project and web site have won a number of awards. The site contains animations and images that show the motion of the continents and development of ocean basins during the last 1100 million years. It was developed by Christopher R. Scotese, a geologist at the University of Texas at Austin. The site shows greatly reduced versions of the animations and images, which can also be purchased for use in classes.
This Dynamic Planet: World Map of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Impact Craters, and Plate Tectonics
In 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution published a map of the world showing plate boundaries, locations of major earthquakes, volcanoes and impact craters. This site includes the content of the map, which was distributed to Federal Depository Libraries, and an interactive map showing the same information. The map and web site can be used to explore the relationships between plate boundaries, earthquakes and volcanoes. Some data used to create the map can also be downloaded from the site.
The Plates Project  {}
The Plates Project is a research program at the University of Texas at Austin Institute of Geophysics. The site provides access to movies (animated PowerPoint presentations) showing plate movements from 750,000,000 years ago to the present, images of paleogeographic reconstructions, information on teaching about plate tectonics and GIS data related to plate tectonics. By modeling plate movement, the location of natural resources, such as sedimentary basins containing oil and gas and mineral deposits, can be identified.
Geology: Plate Tectonics
This site, from the University of California Museum of Paleontology, provides basic information about plate tectonics. The site includes a history of the concept, information on the mechanisms driving plate tectonics and links to animated gifs showing plate movements. Because it is affiliated with a museum, the information is presented in a clear, understandable manner that can be used by teachers at all levels.

Economic Geology & Natural Resources

Economic geology is the study of geological materials which have economic or industrial value. Much of our daily life is dependent on Earth materials: water used for drinking and irrigation; metals used in automobiles and electric wiring; oil, gas, coal and uranium used as fuels; and sand, gravel and gypsum, which are used for concrete in roads and buildings. Economic geologists use geological principles to study and identify new deposits of Earth materials that have economic value. This section describes some Internet resources that can be used to learn more about Earth materials with economic value.

Energy Resources

Most of the commonly used energy resources in the United States are derived from non-renewable geologic sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Information sources on these resources include statistical sites, which provide data on energy and resource use, electrical consumption, prices and forecasts, and reports on the availability of individual resources, including coal, oil and gas. The following sites are useful for locating data and information about energy resources in the United States.

EIA Reports & Publications
This web site, from the Energy Information Administration, contains links to statistics and publications on energy resources, including petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable and alternative fuels and uranium. It also provides information on the electric power industry. In addition to information on energy commodities, it provides links to forecasts, data, charts and analyses on energy consumption, state and country energy use and financial news. Data, which is presented in online tables, can also be downloaded for use in Excel.
Energy Statistics
This site, also from the Energy Information Administration, is organized by energy source (petroleum, natural gas, electricity, coal, renewable and alternative fuels, and nuclear), topic (forecasts and analyses, environment and households, buildings and industry) and by geography (U.S. or international). Links can be followed to pages on each commodity, topic or place, which provide additional links to data, reports, analyses and forecasts. Data can be downloaded in Excel format for further analysis.


Coal is a rock that contains carbonaceous material derived from the burial and compaction of plant remains. It is used to generate nearly half of the electricity used in the United States (Energy Information Administration 2010). The Energy Information Administration web sites described above provide statistics on coal use and production. The following web site contains information on coal resources in the United States.

National Coal Resource Assessment
The U.S. Geological Survey's National Coal Resource Assessment was a project to identify and assess the coal resources available in the United States. The web site for the assessment provides links to publications (organized by coal-producing region), GIS data and the names and contact information of people at the USGS who can provide additional information on each region. Publications and geospatial data (which are compressed tar.gz files) can be downloaded from the site.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy makes use of heat from the ground to generate electricity and heat buildings and homes. Electrical generation requires deep wells or access to hydrothermal resources. Geothermal heat for buildings and homes makes use of the constant ground temperature on Earth. The following resources are useful sources of information about geothermal energy.

Other Energy Resources – Geothermal
The U.S. Geological Survey provides information on geothermal energy as a resource. The site includes links to publications, interactive mapping sites and data related to geothermal energy. The Learn More link on the site provides a good summary of geothermal energy as a natural resource. The site also includes a link to USGS Circular 1289, which is titled Geothermal Energy: Clean Power from the Earth's Heat.
Geothermal Technologies Program
The U.S. Department of Energy provides access to a variety of resources related to geothermal energy. This site provides information about the DOE's geothermal technology program, grants and loans, and geothermal technology. The site also provides links to publications related to geothermal energy. The Technologies page provides links to brief summaries, including basic information, enhanced geothermal, hydrothermal and heat pumps.

Oil & Gas

Oil is a naturally occurring liquid that is used to produce a wide variety of commodities, including gasoline, heating oil, plastics and other chemicals. Natural gas is gaseous hydrocarbons that are found with other hydrocarbons, including oil, coal and oil shale, which is primarily used as a fuel for heating, cooking and manufacturing. The Energy Information Administration web sites described above provide statistics on oil and gas production and use. The following web sites contain information on oil and gas resources in the United States.

National Oil and Gas Assessment
The U.S. Geological Survey has developed an assessment of oil and gas resources in the United States. This site provides links to assessments (organized by geologic basin), publications, information on methods used in the assessment, GIS data and related studies. The site also provides links to other government agencies and professional associations that deal with oil and gas. GIS data, which is available in shapefile and e00 formats, can be downloaded for use with GIS software.
Alaska Petroleum Studies
The U.S. Geological Survey has also developed an assessment of oil and gas resources available in the Arctic. The publications and GIS data are provided on a separate part of the USGS Energy Resources web site. The Alaska Petroleum Studies site summarizes energy-related activities in Alaska and provides links to other assessments that are being done in the region as part of the USGS World Energy Project Circum-Arctic Assessment.
World Petroleum Assessment 2000
The U.S. Geological Survey's World Petroleum Assessment was issued to Federal Depository Libraries on CD-ROM as Digital Data Series (DDS) 60. The results of this assessment are also available online. From this site, users can view world maps showing assessment regions, petroleum provinces, and type of resource. Reports are organized into eight regions, and can be downloaded in PDF format. Each region report provides information on the geology and data on potential resources by region and country within each region and geologic province. GIS and statistical data can also be downloaded.


The supply of non-renewable fuels is limited. In addition, mitigating climate change requires a reduction in carbon emissions. The United States will have to find other sources to supply power. Nuclear power is one option that has been suggested. Nuclear power requires uranium or other radioactive elements, which release heat when they decay. The heat is used to generate steam, which drives the turbines that generate electricity. Publications about uranium geology can be found using the USGS Publications Warehouse, which is listed in the Publication Indexes & Databases section of this webliography. The following resources provide information on uranium resources, demand, and environmental issues.

Nuclear & Uranium
The U.S. Energy Information Agency provides information about nuclear energy on this web site, which includes an explanation of nuclear power, data on nuclear power generation, uranium production, nuclear power plants and radioactive waste, and reports related to nuclear power. The site also has a link to a web site, called Energy Kids, explaining energy sources, including nuclear power.
Uranium Resources
This site from the U.S. Geological Survey's Energy Team provides links to information related to uranium, including environmental issues related to past uranium mining. Some parts of the site are still under development. The site provides links to recent publications related to uranium geology and posters on environmental issues and uranium resource assessments. The Uranium Data page, which is found on the Uranium Resources Publications and Data section of the site, provides links to data from the National Uranium Resource Evaluation reports.

Mineral Resources

Much of our daily life is dependent on minerals. The metals used in automobiles and electric wiring and sand, gravel and gypsum, used in concrete for roads and buildings, are examples of economic mineral deposits. Many sites provide information on minerals or the commodities that are derived from minerals. Some are general and provide information on a wide variety of economic minerals, while others deal with specific types of economic mineral deposits. The following resources can be used to locate information about economic mineral deposits.

Minerals Yearbook
Minerals Yearbook is an annual U.S. Geological Survey publication that summarizes the mineral and material industries in the United States and 175 foreign countries. It contains information on over 90 mineral commodities, statistics on materials and minerals and information about new developments, economic and technical trends. It is divided into three volumes: Metals & Minerals, Area Reports: Domestic and Area Reports: International. Metals and Minerals contains information on about 90 commodities, mining and quarrying trends, statistical methods used in compiling Minerals Yearbook, and a statistical summary of world & U.S. mineral production. The Area Reports volumes provide information on the mineral industry of each U.S. state, territory and possession (Volume II) and 175 world countries (Volume III), including government policies and programs, infrastructure, industry ownership and structure, environmental issues and statistics on trade and production and a summary of recent developments related to minerals and materials in the area. The site also provides a link to early Minerals Yearbook volumes, which were digitized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mineral Industry Surveys
Mineral Industry Surveys is an online U.S. Geological Survey publication that provides statistical and economic data on mineral production, distribution, stocks, and consumption, which are issued monthly, quarterly or annually. The site provides access to information on U.S. production of selected mineral commodities, and links to pages dealing with mineral commodities. Each page provides information on the commodity's importance and use, and links to summaries of production and reserve statistics and price data (in dollars).

Metallic Minerals

Metallic minerals are important resources because they have a wide variety of uses in everyday life, including coins, electrical wires, cars, buildings, artificial joints and jewelry. They are valuable because they conduct heat and electricity. Most metals are derived from ore deposits, which require processing to extract the valuable metals. Information on specific metals is available in the individual commodity chapters of Minerals Yearbook or Mineral Industry Surveys. The following resource provides additional information on metal demand and prices.

Metal Industry Indicators
Metal Industry Indicators is a monthly U.S. Geological Survey newsletter that provides analyses and forecasts of economic trends for primary metals, steel, copper, primary aluminum, and aluminum. The newsletters contain information and predictions on price index trends and availability and the demand for the commodities. Price trends are given as percentages, rather than dollars.

Non-Metallic Minerals

A wide variety of geologic deposits are considered non-metallic minerals including aggregate (sand, gravel and crushed stone) and dimension stone (stone or rock used to face buildings or in countertops). Coal, oil and gas are sometimes discussed as non-metallic minerals as well. They are treated in the Energy section of this webliography. The following Internet resources deal with non-metallic mineral deposits in the United States.

Aggregates & Dimension Stone

Aggregates and dimension stone are important resources in the construction industry. Aggregates, which include crushed stone, gravel, and sand, are used in concrete and in roads as a surface and subsurface material. Dimension stone is rock that is quarried or mined and used as a facing on buildings and on floors and countertops. The following resources contain information on aggregates and dimension stone.

Natural Aggregates of the Conterminous United States
Natural Aggregates of the United States is a U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin (1594) by William H. Langer that was published in 1988. It surveys the availability of natural aggregates in the United States, which are used in concrete and construction, and the aggregate industry. It also provides address information for state geological surveys and transportation agencies. While the address information may be dated, the summaries on sources of sand and gravel, properties, and possible aggregate substitutes are still useful.
Natural Aggregate: Building America's Future
This U.S. Geological Survey Circular (1110), which was written by William H. Langer and V. M. Glanzman in 1993, provides a survey of the aggregate industry and aggregate availability. It is available in DJVU format from the U.S. Geological Survey's Publications Warehouse. It includes chapters on the geology of aggregates, supply and demand, the industry, planning and regulations.
Natural Aggregates
This web site, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, provides links to people at the USGS who deal with aggregate. Users can also link to publications containing information and statistics on the worldwide supply of, demand for, and flow of aggregates. It also provides links to separate pages on construction sand and gravel and crushed stone.
Dimension Stone: Statistics and Information
Dimension stone is natural rock that is quarried for use as a building facing, floors or countertops. It is also carved by artists. This U.S. Geological Survey web site contains links to publications, USGS employees working on dimension stone, current and historical statistics and other information on dimension stone. The site also includes links to US and non-US organizations dealing with dimension stone.

Water Resources

Water is vital for life on Earth. It is found in the oceans, which cover more than 70% of the Earth, on the surface of the Earth, in the form of rivers and lakes, and under the Earth, as groundwater. It also forms the glaciers that cover Greenland, Antarctica and other areas of the Earth. The following web sites are important resources related to water in the United States.

The Water Cycle
This site, from the U.S. Geological Survey, consists of a set of interconnected web pages explaining the Water Cycle. It includes every component of the Water Cycle displayed in an interactive graphic (text links are also provided). The water cycle graphic can also be displayed in many other languages. Each section provides information about that component of the cycle and its role and importance in the cycle.
Ground Water Atlas of the United States
In the 1990s, the U.S. Geological Survey published a collection of regional atlases providing information on the geology of major aquifers in the fifty States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This publication, which was distributed to Depository Libraries through the FDLP, has been scanned and is available online. The Ground Water Atlas describes important US aquifers, including their location, extent, geology and hydrology. The text of each volume is presented in HTML format with links to images from the text.
Water Resources of the United States
This is a centralized web site from the U.S. Geological Survey that includes links to data, information on water resources in each state and other water-related information. It is divided into eight sections: surface water, groundwater, water quality, floods and droughts, water use, contamination and pollution, international water activities and methods and modeling. It also allows users to connect to information about USGS activities related to water in their state. State web sites provide access to streamflow and groundwater data, water quality, precipitation and USGS (not state government) publications related to water resources in each state.
Groundwater and Drinking Water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a web site with information on water quality and protection. The site has information on drinking water protection, water security, standards and risk management, data, grants, and consumer and educational resources. The site is an excellent starting point for people who are looking for information about water quality issues and EPA programs related to water.
Water: H2O = Life  {}
This web site, by the American Museum of Natural History, was developed to accompany an exhibit on water at the Museum. It provides information on the basic themes in the exhibit, including life in water, the source of water on Earth, uses of water (other than drinking), the distribution of water on Earth, water scarcity, value of clean water and ecosystem restoration. It also provides information for teachers and students.

Geological Features & Phenomena

The December, 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, recent earthquakes in and near Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake and tsunami near Honshu, Japan and crater collapse and eruption of Pu'u O'o (named the Kamoamoa vent) are examples of the power of geological events and phenomena. People are also fascinated by other geological features, such as caves, deserts, glaciers and mountains. This section of the webliography provides links to and information on sites dealing with geological features and phenomena. For information on mountains, see the Geology of the National Parks web site, which is listed in the Regional Geology section of this webliography.


Caves are natural openings in the Earth that are large enough to allow a person to enter and extend beyond the zone of light penetration. They were used by early humans as natural shelters and still interest people today; many caves are open to the public as tourist attractions. The following sites provide information about caves, cave life, cave tourism opportunities and lava tubes, special types of caves that can be found in volcanic areas.

Geology of Caves
This site, developed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, provides information about caves, cave formation and features, cave minerals and uses of caves, educational resources and references. Terms in the text are linked to the USGS' Geologic Glossary so that users who are unfamiliar with certain geologic terms can get a definition. It includes a few diagrams on cave formation.
The Virtual Cave
The Virtual Cave web site was developed by cavers Djuna Bewley and Dave Bunnell. It provides information and diagrams on four types of caves: solution caves, lava tube caves, sea caves and erosional caves, including summaries of how each type of cave forms. The site also contains photographs of cave deposits and diagrams showing where and how these deposits form, links to sites on cave conservation, educational resources, show caves, and cave organizations.
Lava Tubes and Lava Tube Caves
This site, from the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory, contains information on lava tubes and lava tube caves. It includes descriptive information on some famous lava tube caves and provides links to sites on volcanic processes (such as lava flows and flood basalts) as well as links to web sites of several western U.S. lava tube caves.
Exploring Caves  {}
This K-3 educational web site from the U.S. Geological Survey provides a very general introduction to caves and cave life. It includes a guided tour of a cave (given by a bat), which is used to teach children about caves, hydrology, cave life, types of caves, and care of caves. It includes lesson plans and other teacher resources. The print version of this guide, which was originally sent to Depository Libraries, includes a large 2-sided poster.
Mysterious Life of Caves
This web site was developed to accompany the NOVA PBS show The Mysterious Life of Caves, which aired in 2002. It contains information on how caves form, cave life, information on Lechuguilla cave, a teacher's guide and links to a page with a list of cave organizations and books on caves. While it was developed for the NOVA program, it contains information that might be useful to students and researchers.
Journey Into Amazing Caves
This web site contains information developed for the IMAX movie Journey Into Amazing Caves, including information about the production of the film, which was partly funded by the National Science Foundation. The site contains links to cave location maps, and information resources that can be used to learn about caves, cave ecology & microbiology, preservation, a teacher's guide, list of caves that can be toured and other information resources on caves.
Show Caves of the World
This web site, developed by Jochen Duckeck, a German caver, is an online guide to commercial and government operated "show caves," caves that can be toured, from around the world. Caves can be accessed alphabetically by name or by country. The site also provides links to each cave, when available, as well as extensive bibliographies on caves and caving in each country.


Technically, a desert is an area that receives 10 or fewer inches of rainfall a year. While many people think of them as devoid of life, several major American cities, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, are located in deserts. The following site provides information on deserts. Another source of information is the individual parks that are located in deserts, which can be found by using the Geology of the National Parks web site, listed in the Regional Geology section of this webliography.

Deserts: Geology and Resources
This site, provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, is the online version of a USGS General Interest Publication of the same title. The original book was written by A. S. Walker in 2000. The site gives information on deserts: what they are, how and where they form, types of deserts and desert features, eolian processes, desertification and a list of additional readings. Because it is a General Interest Publication, it is written at a general level which means it can be used and understood by general readers.


Earthquakes are sudden movements of the Earth and the ground shaking that occurs after those movements caused by slip along a fault or volcanic activity. Definitions of earthquake-related terms can be found in the Earthquake Glossary, found in the Glossaries & Dictionaries section of this webliography. The following site can be used to find information about recent earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
The U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program web site contains near real time information on the latest earthquakes, including maps showing the locations of recent earthquakes. Clicking on an earthquake location allows the user to access more information about that quake. Each quake record contains maps showing the location, reported shaking, and seismometer traces. Users interested in earthquakes can set up RSS feeds so that they are informed of quakes. The site also provides educational resources, guides on preparing for earthquakes, and earthquake monitoring and research. When major earthquakes occur, the U.S. Geological Survey usually prepares a poster summarizing the quake location and geology of the region. These posters are also available on the site.


Glaciers are masses of ice formed from recrystallized snow which accumulates over time. They usually flow under their own weight. At one time much of the northern United States and Canada were covered by glaciers, resulting in a variety of glacial landforms. Now, very few glaciers exist in the contiguous U.S. In addition to the Glossary of Glacier Terminology, found in the Glossaries and Dictionary section of this webliography, the following resources can be used to find information about glaciers and glacial activity.

Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World  {}
This web site provides information about one of the two projects of the U.S. Geological Survey's Glacier Studies Project. The Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World is a long-term project to use satellite imagery to determine the areal extent and distribution of glaciers on Earth. Six volumes of the atlas are available online from this web site.
All About Glaciers  {}
All About Glaciers is a web site developed by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSDIC) Education Center. The site provides information on glaciers, how they grow and retreat, types of glaciers, and glacier research. The site also provides links to books and other educational resources. The NSDIC Education Center also provides other sites on related topics, including the Cryosphere, Frozen Ground, Snow and Sea Ice.
Glaciers: Clues to Future Climate
This web site provides access to a PDF document of a U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication which was written by Richard S. Williams, Jr. in 1983. The publication provides information on glaciers and glacial hazards. It also provides basic information on the late Quaternary continental glaciations in the United States.
The Great Ice Age
This U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication was written by Louis L Ray in 1993. It provides information on the late Quaternary continental glaciations, including the area covered by the continental glaciers, and examples of some of the evidence and deposits left by the continental ice sheets. Like other USGS General Interest Publications, it is written at a basic level which can be understood by most general readers. It is useful because it helps people understand the science of glacial geology and learn more about the records of past glaciations.


Tsunamis are sea waves that result from the movements of the seafloor caused by earthquakes, submarine landslides or volcanic explosions. They can also be caused by coastal landslides, such as the one that occurred in Lituya Bay, Alaska in 1958. The most notable tsunami occurred December, 26, 2004, caused by the magnitude 9.2 earthquake that struck the area off of Indonesia near the Andaman Islands. It generated a tsunami that spread over the entire Indian Ocean, killing over 250,000 people. Because tsunamis are waves that are caused by Earth movements, tsunami information is available from many different agencies, including the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey. The following sites provide information about tsunamis.

Life of a Tsunami
This U.S. Geological Survey web site provides a very basic explanation of how tsunamis form. It explains tsunami in 4 parts: initiation, split, amplification and runup. Each part has a brief, easy to understand explanation with an illustration. The site also provides links to a web site containing quicktime video animations of tsunami behavior in northern and central California. The videos, which compress 2 ½ hours of wave activity into 30 seconds, show that the energy of a tsunami is reflected back out to sea, where it can continue to interact and re-build.
Tsunami Links
This is a very well-organized set of links to information about tsunamis developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center. The links, which are divided into sections, include general information, tsunami hazards and preparation, popular publications, warning systems, USGS tsunami publications, outside publications, research, Caribbean tsunami information and refers users to NOAAs Tsunami Research Center's links page. It also includes a few links to earthquake resources.
Tsunami and Earthquake Research at the USGS
This site, which is also part of the USGS Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center, contains links to resources on tsunami research at the U.S. Geological Survey. It includes links to a number of animations of tsunamis throughout the world, including recent events, past tsunamis, numerous animations, panoramas showing tsunami damage, and models of possible tsunami activity that might result from an earthquake along the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Tsunami
This NOAA web site contains a lot of general information about tsunamis, including a brief tsunami vocabulary, YouTube videos of recorded tsunamis, summaries of NOAA activities and plans regarding tsunamis and links to information on other agencies web sites. It also has information on tsunami warnings and hazards, educational resources and tsunami animations. The education page has a link to a page called Tsunami Information for Kids which includes a video, games, and coloring books as well as other educational resources and links.
NOAA Center for Tsunami Research
This web site, also from NOAA, focuses on the NOAA's research efforts regarding tsunamis. It is more technical than the Tsunami web site, and includes information on tsunami forecasting and hazard assessment, the Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) monitoring system, a list of historical tsunami events, and an information page with separate pages on tsunami education, data, links and frequently asked questions.


Volcanoes are openings in the Earth's crust through which magma, ash and volcanic gases erupt. The term can also be used to refer to the landform formed by an eruption. The term can also be used for small conical formations of mud (mud volcanoes), which form in volcanic areas or places that are under tectonic stress. Volcanoes occur along the Earth's plate boundaries in subduction and rift zones and in the middle of plates over hotspots. The following resources provide information about volcanoes throughout the world.

America's Volcanic Past  {}
This U.S. Geological Survey web site provides information about volcanic rocks and features that existed during the geologic past throughout the United States. It is divided into four sections, which provide information about volcanoes and volcanic rocks by state; by region, national park or monument; an introduction to volcanism in the United States; and links to other volcano information.
Global Volcanism Program
The Global Volcanism Program is part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Their web site provides information on volcano names, photos and videos, weekly and monthly reports on volcanic activity (not real time), and an online map that allows users to zoom into a part of the world and link to a list of volcano names in that region. The site also provides data with the name, location and type of volcano for the entire world in an Excel spreadsheet and as a Google Earth kmz file.
USGS Volcano Hazards Program (VHP)
This site, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, provides information on the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, including alerts and updates on volcanoes in the United States, links to educational resources on volcanoes, images of volcanoes (including webcams of live volcanoes), information on volcano hazards and links to volcano observatories in the United States. Users can link to volcano information and web cams from an interactive map or through the individual observatories.
Vents Program
The Vents program, which is a project of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, studies hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor and their ecology. The site provides information about hydrothermal vents, vent research and images, videos of vents and information on vent activity throughout the world.

Natural Hazards

Many, although not all, natural hazards are related to geology, including hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and volcanoes. While many sites in this webliography provide information about specific natural hazards, none of them provides general summary of natural hazards. The following sites provide information about and links to additional information on the concept of natural hazards.

Natural Hazards Center
The Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder is a clearinghouse for information related to the social science and policies related to disasters. The site is a collection of resources on disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. The Center's resources page includes a separate site of web resources that includes separate pages for different types of potential natural disasters, including one for near Earth objects, as well as links to hazard related statistics. It is an important starting point for anyone looking for information on natural disasters.
Natural Hazards
The U.S. Geological Survey has identified natural hazards as one of their mission areas. This web site is a central clearinghouse of links to USGS programs related to natural hazards. Among the natural hazards recognized by the Survey are earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, geomagnetism, seismology and coastal and marine geology. Floods, tsunamis and hurricanes are grouped under the coastal and marine geology category. The site provides links to fact sheets on flood, tsunami and hurricane hazards in the United States.
Flood Safety
NOAA's National Weather Service provides several links to resources related to natural hazards. This site is particularly useful for information related to floods. It includes links to resources from many different agencies that deal with floods, including NOAA, FEMA and the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as flood-related hazards, such as debris flows, droughts, ice jams and floods caused by melting snow.
Are You Ready? Natural Hazards  {}
This web site is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Are You Ready Guide. It provides information on a wide variety of natural hazards, including fire, floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and several weather hazards. A separate page of information is provided for each type of hazard. Very few links to outside information are provided.
Natural Hazards Data, Images and Education
NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center provides data on tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes to assist with response planning and disaster mitigation. This site provides information and links to data and information, natural hazard images and posters and educational materials related to natural hazards. It also provides a link to data on geothermal energy.


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Judson, S. and Richardson, S.M. 1995. Earth: An Introduction to Geologic Change.Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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Lyell, C. 1830. Principles of Geology: Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface, by Reference to Causes now in Operation. London: J. Murray. p. 1.

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Twiss-Brooks, A. and Zellmer, L.R. 2006, editors. Geology. In: Elmore, M., editor. RCL: Resources for College Libraries. Chicago, IL: American Library Association. p. 415-453.

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