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- Survey Programs
- Survey Cooperative Programs
- Summary of Recent Activity
- SURVEY PROGRAMS
- Geographic Information System (GIS) -
The survey serves as the fiscal agent in the collaborative effort with the other
Mineral Lands Mapping Project participants; supports the
characterization of the mineral parcels by the WV Dept. of Tax and
Revenue, the development of digital line graphs by the WVU Dept. of
Geology and Geography, the mission of the State GIS coordinator, and
WVU's Statewide GIS Technical Center; maps the economic coal beds of
the State in GIS format.
- Coal Bed Mapping Project - A GIS-based inventory of coal in
West Virginia is being created: new and existing data will be
consolidated into a computer database for each 7.5' quad; GIS
technology will be utilized to generate structure contour, outcrop,
surface and underground mined area, and modelled thickness maps for
each coalbed and quadrangle; GIS coal bed data layers will be serve
as a compliance tool for the mineral lands tax program of the State
Department of Tax and Revenue.
- Other related projects in this program include those of the WV
State GIS Coordinator, the Mineral Lands Mapping Project of the WV
Dept. of Tax & Revenue, the Digital Line Graph Development Project
of the WVU Department of Geology and Geography, and the WVU GIS Technical
- Applied Coal Resources Investigations -
The Survey calculates remaining Appalachian coal resources available for
extraction; documents the location of underground and surface mining
activity; collects, prepares, and analyzes coal-bed samples and
develops information about the chemical characteristics and properties
of coal in West Virginia.
- National Coal Resources Data System, a cooperative project with
the USGS Branch of Coal Resources, develops point-source information
characterizing West Virginia coals.
- Coal resources studies by 7.5' quadrangles include the
development of GIS-based structure contour, outcrop, and overburden
layers of data and a thickness model for each target coal bed;
restrictions to mining reconsidered and original, mined, remaining,
restricted, and available resource tonnages for each target coal bed
- Surface and underground mine locations, and other related
information, are compiled.
- A computerized coal quality database has been developed,
providing information on the chemical and physical properties of
various coals at various locations around the State.
- Applied Oil and Gas Resources Investigations -
The Survey conducts applied research related to the efficient recovery of State
oil and gas resources, focusing on future potential; develops and
maintains a collection of basic oil and gas well data in computerized
and paper form; maintains well-log and core/sample libraries for public
access; examines and analyzes production and geologic characteristics
of West Virginia oil fields with respect to enhancing oil recovery
- The Atlas of Major Appalachian Gas Plays is a
cooperative project that involved the preparation of text,
illustrations, and a summary database describing more than 30 plays in the
seven Appalachian basin states; the publication was made available in
- A computerized database on more than 100,000 oil and gas wells,
along with a publicly-available well log library and core and sample
library, are maintained.
- Applied research has included county-based studies of oil and
gas resources and studies of individual major reservoirs (such as
the Devonian shales and the Big Injun sand); recent studies of oil
fields has been geared toward secondary and tertiary oil recovery
potential in the State.
- Petroleum Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) is a USDOE-sponsored
cooperative project to provide small independent operators with
awareness of technology, services, and products available to assist
them in recovering oil and gas more efficiently and effectively.
- General Geoscience
- Industrial Minerals - This program determines the
quality, quantity, location, production, and producers of non-fuel
economic minerals in the State. Generates the Mineral Industries
Directory, a biennial publication in both hard copy and digital
form, providing information on all mineral production operations in
- Environmental Geoscience - These studies provide
technological expertise on environmental geology issues relating to
ground failure and slope stability (e.g. landslides, mine
subsidence, and karst).
- Geologic Mapping - This program creates new,
detailed geologic maps used for resource assessment, environmental
studies, and land use determinations. Geologic maps have been
produced for approximately 40 quadrangles in the eastern panhandle--work
is continuing; STATEMAP cooperative mapping project is underway,
at a scale of 1:24,000.
- Advanced Geoscience Research -
This research develops new mathematical and statistical methods for analysis of
geologic data. Research sponsored by the US Dept. of Agriculture
- Forest Service is using spatial statistics is being applied to
studies of gypsy moth infestation and eradication in the State;
models developed can also be applied to mineral resource exploration.
- Geoscience Education - This program conducts earth
science training and leadership workshops for K-12 teachers and
provides previously-trained teachers with professional outreach
opportunities; presents students and teachers with in-classroom earth
science activities/lessons through classroom visits and field trips
instruction; develops relevant and curriculum-useful earth science
activity texts, manuals, and guidebooks.
- RockCamp I sessions
- RockCamp II sessions
- Information Transfer - This program provides,
maintains, and enhances computing, networking, and communications
resources for agency programs; provides programming support for the
agency's research, information transfer, service, and administrative
operations; provides for cost-efficient access for external users to
certain geologic data and information services.
- Specialized computer programming and consultation support are
provided for staff projects.
- Network and system throughput are maintained for staff to
communicate with internal and external computer systems.
- Fee-based public access to the oil and gas well database is
- Public Service - The Survey provides responses to
requests for earth science information; presents informational talks,
exhibits, guest lectures, and similar public education efforts;
promotes the agency's products and services to the public through
participation in various public activities.
- Requests from the public for geological information are
routinely completed, especially for evaluation of mineral resources
as they relate to property taxes and from home buyers needing
information on the potential of mine subsidence on their property.
- Presentations on West Virginia geology are routinely made to
civic groups, classrooms, and at state parks.
- Management and Administration - This program provides
management and administrative support for the agency; formulates agency
personnel and administrative policies; maintains budgeting and control
of the cash flows of the agency's various funds; provides maintenance,
security, and custodial support for all agency facilities and
operations; provides publication support for agency programs and
dissemination of results of agency geoscience investigations.
- SURVEY COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS
- Earth Science Information Center (ESIC) -
The Survey maintains the State's ESIC as a comprehensive repository of maps and
- ESIC provides information on aerial photography,
flood-prone area maps, and other cartographic information.
- SUMMARY OF RECENT ACTIVITY
- Recent and On-going Research -
As an information dissemination agency, the West Virginia Geological
and Economic Survey can only be as good as the scientific information
it gathers and interprets. Geologic research, field investigation,
analysis, and data collection are keys to the Survey's expertise. At
any given time, the agency is involved in a variety of projects aimed
at gathering and making available definitive geologic information for
West Virginia. Here is a recent sampling:
- The Atlas of Major Appalachian Gas Plays - A
cooperative project that involved the preparation
of text, illustrations, and a summary database describing more than 30
plays in the seven Appalachian basin states; the publication was made
available in 1996.
- Eastern Panhandle Geologic Mapping - To provide
a complete and up-to-date understanding of the stratigraphy and
structure of this high-growth area, and to produce geologic maps
critical to planning and development, this on-going program uses the
latest mapping techniques. The resulting maps are large format,
topographic-based at 1:24,000 scale.
- Quality of West Virginia Coals - Analysis of
West Virginia coal quality is an on-going project providing maps,
graphics, summary statistics, and basic information analyses about
the composition and physical properties of the State's coal
resources. A primary aim of the program is to link potential coal
users with the appropriate West Virginia coal. A variety of quality
parameters are involved, such as Btu, ash fusion, sulfur content,
- Coal Availability Study - The effects of
geological, regulatory, technological, and cultural factors and
restrictions on the availability of coal for mining is the focus of
this comprehensive study. The findings help determine the amount of
coal available for development in the marketplace and regulatory
environment of the future. A cooperative project with the U.S.
Geological Survey and other regional state geological surveys, work
on several topographic quadrangle-sized portions of West Virginia is
- Abandoned Well Locations Study - Determining
locations of old, non-producing oil and gas wells which have not
been plugged or were plugged improperly is critical in planning
because they can contaminate ground-water supplies, release gas from
storage fields, and pose hazards for land development, landfills, and
mining. This West Virginia Division of Environment Protection-funded
project involved extensive analysis of thousands of well records to
identify and map locations of known, improperly abandoned wells.
Nearly 50,000 such wells were mapped.
- Oil and Gas Database - The Survey's sizable oil
and natural gas database is constantly updated. Subsurface data
from new oil and gas permits and well completions are verfied
weekly. Mechanical logs and well-sample data files continue to
expand. Other tracked and recorded data include production data,
completion techniques, location and owner information, stratigraphy,
pays and shows, and a host of other information.
- Reservoir Heterogeneity Study - Oil and
natural gas recovery from many Appalachian fields is hampered by
variable reservoir composition and permeability. This recently
completed U.S. Department of Energy study examined this
heterogeneity in two West Virginia sandstones as models for
prediction and increasing the efficiency of oil and gas production.
- STATEMAP Program - The foundation of many
geologic investigations is accurate geologic maps. Under this
federally-funded program, the Survey is mapping the Canaan Valley
and the Blackwater Falls area.
- Gypsy Moth Study - The Survey was contracted by
the U.S. Forest Service to develop geostatistical methods for
predicting outbreaks of gypsy moths. Outbreak probability maps and
predictive statistical tools were produced.
- Limestone/Sandstone Databases - These databases
contain information on West Virginia limestone and sandstone
mineralogical and chemical analyses, physical properties, and
geologic and geographic information. Information on sandstone as
construction aggregate and dimension stone is also available.
- Recent and On-going Service and Outreach -
Equal in importance to the research function of the West Virginia
Geological and Economic Survey are extensive public service and
outreach efforts aimed at getting the agency's expertise to as many
West Virginians as possible in a useful, informative, and
cost-effective manner. From answering service requests, to conducting
classroom presentations, to offering a huge variety of maps and
publications, the many service and outreach activities assist and
inform West Virginians daily. Here is a recent sampling:
- Earth Science in West Virginia for the 21st Century -
Funded by the National Science Foundation, this highly successful
three-year project conducted summer workshops for 160 West Virginia
teachers enabling them to enhance their earth science knowledge and
teaching skills. Classroom, laboratory, and field work sessions
provided the most up-to-date knowledge on earth science topics such
as rocks and minerals, plate tectonics and geologic processes, earth
history, maps, and the practical application of earth science to the
geologic resources, hazards, and social issues that impact West
- Rocks and Rivers: West Virginia's Geologic Heritage -
This Survey-produced video tells the story of the Mountain State's
geology, its prominent role in creating the landscape of the State,
and its impact on West Virginia's history, culture, and economy.
Originally produced for schools, it is an entertaining and
informative overview for Mountaineers and tourists as well.
- Earth Science Information Center (ESIC) - Part
of a national network providing public access to geographical and
geological information, the Survey's popular ESIC office maintains
extensive collections of aerial photos, topographic maps, flood-prone
area maps, geodetic control information, and much more. Used by a
wide variety of individuals and organizations, ESIC materials are
available for examination or copying.
- Visiting Geologists Program - In conjunction
with the Division of Parks and Tourism, this program provides Survey
geologists to State parks as guest speakers and tour leaders for
- Outreach Presentations - The Survey conducts an
extensive and on-going program of talks, exhibits, and classes for
schools, colleges, civic groups, professional organizations,
government agencies, and public events.
- Service Section - The Service Section responds
annually to hundreds of requests for information from the public,
industry, government, and academia by phone, letter, and visit. The
Section also houses the Publication Sales office, selling the wide
variety of Survey maps, reports, bulletins, and open-file reports by
mailorder or in person.
Page last revised: May 20, 2010