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

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...
U.S. Supreme Court building
(2016-10-11)
September 16, 2016 On September 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered a complete freeze on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Lake Oahe, North Dakota. The decision in the case, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (16-cv-1534),...

Case Studies

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 for USGS FS 2014-3010 ; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey is developing approaches for the quantitative assessment of water and proppant involved with possible future production of continuous petroleum deposits. The assessment approach is an extension of existing U.S. Geological Survey petroleum-assessment methods, and it aims...
Cover of ofr-14-06; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2014, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Under the Department of Energy (DOE) National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) (Contract DE-EE0002850) Supplemental Data project to discover new geothermal data, the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) investigated the geochemical makeup of groundwater from select thermal springs and wells during late...
Cover of FS_2015-3050; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered mean volumes of 14 million barrels of conventional oil, 430 billion cubic feet of conventional gas, 34,028 billion cubic feet of continuous gas, and a mean total of 391...
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
In addition to resource availability, development logistics, and political aspects, the AIPG Energy Committee also considered the environmental aspects of energy production and use. The Energy Committee statement was reviewed through an environmental protection/sustainability lens in an effort to...
Cover of PetroleumIssuesandAnswers.pdf ; Image Credit: American Institute of Professional Geologists
1999, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Petroleum is the principal source of energy in the U.S. and the source of all petrochemicals. It is critical to our national security. to our economic well-being and our life style. The oil and gas industry is the only industry currently prepared to fuel this nation. Dismantlement of this domestic...
Cover of RI-111; Source: North Dakota Geological Survey
2012, North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS)
The Tyler Formation (Lower Pennsylvanian) is a regionally extensive, organic rich unit that contains, over a significant part of its range, good to excellent quantities of kerogen. The richest kerogen is situated in the deepest portion of the Willston Basin (McKenzie County) and consists of marine...
IES Water cover image
2011, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
As we did a generation ago, we now face significant challenges — challenges that need to be met sooner rather than later to protect and grow our economy, build energy autonomy and preserve our resources for future generations. These challenges center on two resources: energy and water.
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 PP1625f; Source: USGS
2009, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed the National Coal Resource Assessment (NCRA), a multiyear project by the USGS Energy Resources Program, in partnership with State geological surveys in the coal producing regions of the United States. The NCRA is the first digital national coal-...
Cover of GeologyEconomy2.pdf; Source: American Institute of Professional Geologists
2006, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
The United States depends on many mineral commodities which it once exported. High costs of mining and production, and in certain instances, a lack of local supply, make it more economically sound to import many resources from countries where production is not so expensive. According to the United...