About Us

We provide science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods, the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on, the health of our ecosystems and environment, and the impacts of climate and land-use change. Our scientists develop new methods and tools to enable timely, relevant, and useful information about the Earth and its processes.

collage of scientists

Who We Are

Created by an act of Congress in 1879, the USGS has evolved over the ensuing 125 years, matching its talent and knowledge to the progress of science and technology. The USGS is the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior. It is sought out by thousands of partners and customers for its natural science expertise and its vast earth and biological data holdings. 

Image: USGS Topographic Mapping Field Camp

History

On March 3, 1879, we were established by the passing of the Organic Act through Congress. Our main responsibilities were to map public lands, examine geological structure, and evaluate mineral resources. Over the next century, our mission expanded to include the research of groundwater, ecosystems, environmental health, natural hazards, and climate and land use change.

USGS science for a changing world

Past Directors

A listing of our past USGS Directors.

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