Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have a question? Explore the breadth of our science and find the answer here!

USGS hydrologic technician collecting streamflow data

About USGS

The USGS is the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. We provide science about natural resource conditions and problems.

Image: Iiwi on Mamane

Biology and Ecosystems

USGS science is used by other agencies to help conserve species, lands, resources, and priority ecosystems.

A wildfire in a forest

Climate and Land Use Change

USGS science helps communities understand the implications of change, anticipate the effects of change, and reduce the risks associated with a changing environment.

Geologic map

Data, Tools, and Technology

The USGS has developed many tools and techniques for analyzing data and specialized websites for sharing information and products with the public.

Methane hydrate


The USGS conducts basic research on geologic energy resources including oil, gas, gas hydrates, geothermal, and coal.

Image: Bat Necropsy

Environmental Health

The USGS seeks to understand and minimize exposures to toxic agents and infectious disease agents in the environment.

Tuktu Bluffs of the Alaska North Slope


The USGS provides accurate geologic maps and geologic information that forms the critical framework for understanding everything from environmental change to natural hazards.

Topo map

Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data

The USGS provides the mapping and digital geospatial foundation for the Nation.

Volcanic selenium and sulfur - a delicate balance...


The USGS studies geologic processes that concentrate mineral resources in the Earth's crust, and assesses areas of undiscovered mineral resources. We also collect national and international information on mineral commodities.

A small stream of red hot lava spreads out in a smooth, ropy texture as it cools to black.

Natural Hazards

The USGS monitors and conducts research on a wide range of natural hazards to help decision-makers prepare for and respond to hazard events that threaten life and property.

Image: Sampling Diseased Coral


USGS science is used to help manage coastal and ocean resources that extend from shorelines and estuaries to the deep sea.

IN-KY scientists collecting water quality samples from a stream


The USGS monitors and studies a wide range of water resources and water conditions, including streamflow, groundwater, water quality, and water use and availability.