United States Geological Survey

scientific agency of the United States government

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a scientific agency of the United States government. The agency is a part of the United States Department of the Interior.

United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Seal of the United States Geological Survey
Official identifier of the U.S. Geological Survey

Flag of the United States Geological Survey
Agency overview
FormedMarch 3, 1879; 145 years ago (1879-03-03) (as Geological Survey)
JurisdictionUnited States
HeadquartersJohn W. Powell National Center
Reston, Virginia, U.S.
38°56′49″N 77°22′03″W / 38.9470°N 77.3675°W / 38.9470; -77.3675
Employees8,670 (2009)
Annual budget$1.16 billion (FY2019) [1]
Agency executive
  • Dave Applegate[2], Acting Director
Parent agencyUnited States Department of the Interior
Cascades Volcano Observatory (Vancouver, Washington State, USA)

The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines: biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization. It has no power to regulate.

The USGS science focus is on seven "Mission Areas", (1) Climate and land use change, (2) Core science systems, (3) Ecosystems, (4) Energy and minerals, (5) Environmental health, (6) Natural hazards, and (7) Water.[3][4]

Administratively, it is divided into a Headquarters unit and six Regional Units.[5] Other specific programs include:



The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide. Its National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Golden, Colorado detects the location and magnitude of global earthquakes. The USGS also runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the U.S. under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System Archived 2009-10-28 at the Wayback Machine (ANSS). The USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, and the public, both domestic and worldwide, about significant earthquakes. It also maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research. It also conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards.

The USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online. The motto of the USGS is "Science for a changing world."[6]

Other websites

USGS official site
Major USGS sites: Water, Geology, Geography Archived 2006-12-29 at the Wayback Machine, Biology Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine


  1. H.J.Res. 31
  2. "Dave Applegate, Ph.D." U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  3. "Start with science". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  4. Energy and Minerals Archived 2019-04-01 at the Wayback Machine and Environmental Health Archived 2018-02-18 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Map of geographic areas". Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  6. "USGS Visual Identity System". July 27, 2006. Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2008-12-29.