USGS - science for a changing world

Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center

Geologic Framework

Geologic and hydrostratigraphic mapping, fault/fracture analyses, and 3-D volumetric and property models of aquifers improve the USGS’s ability to analyze recharge, storage, flow pathways, and changes in hydrologic properties across faults. An improved understanding of these geologic controls will help federal/state/local water agencies to develop effective water-use management plans and propose better strategies for enhancing recharge. Surficial geologic mapping improves the USGS’s ability to understand or identify past climate information recorded in the geologic record, geomorphic or climatic thresholds that may have triggered major changes in ecosystems in the past, and areas of the landscape most sensitive to changes in climate or land use.

GECSC researchers perform geologic framework mapping of basins and adjoining mountain flanks to provide information on critical ground-water aquifers, hazards (seismic, subsidence, landslide), resources (minerals, energy), and geomorphic system response to environmental change. Geologic mapping is a key component in any hydrogeologic model as it provides the stratigraphic and structural frameworks. Accurate mapping of the fault, fracture and joint trends is also needed to characterize the structural deformation of the hydrogeologic framework.

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