Energy

All energy comes from the Earth, its atmosphere, or its Sun. Some resources are mined or extracted, like coal, uranium, oil, and gas. Others, like wind, solar, tidal, and hydropower resources, are harnessed at the Earth’s surface. Geoscientists play an essential role in developing energy resources and evaluating their environmental impacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
U.S. Geological Survey

Latest News

Natural gas pump
(2017-03-06)
February 7, 2017 Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced the Federal Land Freedom Act (S.335) and the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands Act (S.334) on February 7. These bills remove the authority of federal decision-makers to manage  energy resources on public lands. Sen....
U.S. Capitol
(2017-02-07)
January 19, 2017 Secretary of Energy nominee, Rick Perry, was questioned in a hearing by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on January 19. The Department of Energy (DOE) operates 17 national laboratories, manages the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and has 14,000 employees. Senators questioned...
An earthquake-safe pipeline crossing the San Andreas Fault at Cholame, California. Image Copyright © Michael Collier http://www.earthscienceworld.org/images
(2016-12-05)
On Thursday and Friday, December 1-2, the National Academies' Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbons held a workshop on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development: Legacy Issues, Induced Seismicity, and Innovations in Managing Risk. The meeting brought together experts from industry, academia, state...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2016-11-30)
November 18, 2016 The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its 2016 World Energy Outlook on November 18. This report outlines current world energy usage trends and projections through 2040. In addition to the publication, Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director for the IEA, gave a presentation on...
Screenshot of video update on seismic activity in Kansas.
(2016-11-17)
We have a brand new update on last year's webinar, Induced Seismicity in the Midcontinent. One of our speakers, Rex Buchanan, former State Geologist of Kansas, has returned to provide us with an update on seismic activity in Kansas. You can watch the short video on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/...
Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine, California. This mine dominated global rare earth element production from the 1960s to the 1980s. Although it still contains significant reserves, it closed in 2015 due to competition from China. Credit: Dan Cordier, USGS
(2016-11-17)
On Monday November 14, the National Academies' Committee on Earth Resources held a meeting on Mineral and Energy Resource Issues for the Coming Decade. The meeting covered a wide range of issues and focused on the scientific and technical advances and challenges that will affect mineral and energy...
#MapOfTheDay! Interactive map of #energy infrastructure and resources from @EIAgov http://bit.ly/1LSoCl9  #election2016
(2016-11-08)
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared an interactive map of energy infrastructure and resources across the United States from the Energy Information Administration (@EIAgov), which you can find at http://bit.ly/1LSoCl9. For information about energy, check out the...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2016-10-27)
October 12, 2016 The World Energy Council, a United Nations-accredited global energy consortium, released its 2016 World Energy Resources Report on October 12. Since its inception in 2010, the report has shown a global trend toward a more diversified global energy portfolio. The report provides a...
Atlean Lake in British Columbia
(2016-10-20)
October 4, 2016 Five federal agencies are working to increase consumers’ awareness of the benefits of switching to water- and energy-efficient fixtures and building codes. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have released statements...
IES Energy glyph
(2016-10-11)
September 14, 2016 Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell approved Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) this September. DRECP is a coordinated effort between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and...

Case Studies & Factsheets

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the North Slope Borough case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on oil production in Alaska's North Slope Borough can be found here...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Kern County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on oil production in Kern County, California can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Tarrant and Johnson counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on natural gas production in Tarrant and Johnson Counties, Texas can...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the DeSoto Parish case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on natural gas production in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana can be found...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Campbell County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on coal mining in Campbell County, Wyoming can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Boone, Logan and Mingo counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on coal mining in West Virginia's Boone, Logan, and Mingo counties...

Fig. 1. Exposure of sandstone capping an economic coal bed. Credit: J. Shaulis, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

Defining the Problem Despite Pennsylvania’s long history as a major coal producer, information on the coal geology (Fig. 1), remaining resources, and extent of past mining is not available for many areas of the state. Such information is critical for present and future coal exploration and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of OFR_13-01; Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
2013, Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources (VA DGMR)
The information in this report was compiled for and presented to the participants of the 2008 Southeastern U.S. Mesozoic Basins Energy Resources Potential Workshop held in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey published a new assessment of the undiscovered oil and gas...
Cover image of factsheet Image credit: NGWA
2016, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
While groundwater is indispensable for energy production, the reverse is also true, as energy is required for groundwater withdrawal, treatment, and delivery. Groundwater and energy are, therefore, closely interconnected, so as the demand for energy increases, the demand for groundwater increases...
Cover image of factsheet Image credit: NGWA
2017, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
Energy use for water is a function of many variables, including water source. The energy costs for groundwater include the cost to lift the groundwater to the surface. Groundwater sources typically use about 30 percent more energy than do surface water supplies.
Cover of DemystifyingEnergy.pdf; Source: Bureau of Economic Geology
2016, Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG)
Presentation at the PowerSouth trustee’s conference, Destin, Florida, January 28, 2016
Cover of PP1654; Source: USGS
2005, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Federal lands included in the Gallatin and Custer National Forests contain more than 4 million acres, in 13 discontinuous blocks across southern Montana and into western South Dakota. In order to meet the Forest Service’s most urgent needs for information about the potential for undiscovered...
Cover of FS2015-3005; Source: USGS
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
A range of geological parameters relevant to mining oil shale have been examined for the Mahogany zone of the Green River Formation in the Piceance Basin, Colorado, and Uinta Basin, Utah, using information available in the U.S. Geological Survey Oil Shale Assessment database. Basinwide discrete and...
Cover of FindingProducing5.pdf; Source: American Institute of Professional Geologists
2006, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
What sort of activities are necessary to isolate and extract the various non-renewable resources our society is economically dependent upon? Are these resources immediately ready for use, or are they in need of refinement?
Cover of PUB111; Source: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
1991, Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources (VA DGMR)
This study indicates that at the time of publication the coal resources in Lee County 944-millions short tons of coal originally existed, of which 72-million short tons have been mined, leaving 871-million short tons of remaining coal.
Cover of GF30; Source: Ohio Geological Survey
2015, Ohio Geological Survey (OGS)
Since the discovery of coal in Ohio in 1755, the state has been a major player in the nation’s energy industry. Outside of coal, the most actively drilled, energy-bearing geologic formation has been the “Clinton” sandstone. The “Clinton” sandstone is a deposit in the subsurface of eastern Ohio...
Cover of OFR2015-4 ; Source: Kansas Geological Survey
2015, Kansas Geological Survey (KGS)
This 21st annual Kansas Field Conference offers decision-makers who influence policy on Kansas natural resources the opportunity to learn more about how some of those resources are used and conserved in east-central Kansas, from suburban Kansas City south to the Marais des Cygnes wildlife areas and...