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
American Geosciences Institute

Latest News

The White House
(2017-04-10)
March 28, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28. The order rescinds several environmental regulations instituted under the Obama Administration. It contains provisions that target various energy sectors, including coal...
Natural gas pump
(2017-04-10)
March 15, 2017 On March 15, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill that would authorize more lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). S.665, the Unleashing American Energy Act of 2017, would enable the Department of the Interior (DOI) to add additional lease sales to an existing...
Drilling rig
(2017-04-10)
March 6, 2017 The Department of the Interior (DOI) will offer 73 million acres, including all available areas in the Gulf of Mexico, for oil and gas exploration and development, according to an announcement from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on March 6. The proposed lease sale is scheduled for...
Nuclear power plant, Czech Republic
(2017-04-10)
March 2, 2017 A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (S.512) on March 2. The bill aims to modernize nuclear energy regulations and promote innovation in the nuclear sector. S.512 focuses on reforming the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC)...
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...

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 MBMG 658; Source: Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG)
2015, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG)
Montana and the surrounding states have a unique geology that presents many opportunities for valuable continuing research on mineral deposits. Research centered on economic geology and mineralogy can lead to a better understanding of the mineral deposits in this region, and thus the discovery of...
Cover of fs2016-3067; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The renewable energy sector is rapidly expanding and diversifying the power supply of the country. Yet, as our Nation works to advance renewable energy and to conserve wildlife, some conflicts arise. To address these challenges, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting innovative research...
Cover of R055; Source: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
2015, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG)
Geothermal resources can potentially contribute toward the renewable energy portfolio of White Pine County (WPC) in two ways: first through the direct conversion of heat energy into electricity, and the second by way of direct-use applications in which thermal energy is used as a source of heat for...
Cover of Energy factsheet; Image credit: The Geological Society
2016, The Geological Society of London (GSL)
Every country faces the same energy challenge: to supply enough power for homes, transport and businesses as cheaply as possible, whilst safeguarding the environment by reducing emissions. Where does the UK’s energy come from, and how has this changed over time? What is carbon capture and storage...
Cover of fs2016-3030 ; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a geology-based assessment of the continuous (unconventional) oil and gas resources in the Late Cretaceous Mancos Shale within the Piceance Basin of the Uinta-Piceance Province (fig. 1). The previous USGS assessment of the Mancos Shale in the Piceance...
Cover of USGS_2015-3064, Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
An important and sometimes overlooked aspect of contemporary natural gas exploration, development, and delivery activities is the geographic profile and spatial footprint that these activities have on the land surface. The function of many ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, in...
Cover for USGS FS 2014-3104 ; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Significant quantities of water are present in hydrocarbon reservoirs. When brought to the land surface during oil, gas, and coalbed methane production, the water—either naturally occurring or injected as a method to enhance production—is termed produced water. Produced water is currently managed...
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 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...
AIPG logo
2009, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Coal is the world’s most abundant hydrocarbon resource.  Historically, coal has been used as an energy source for heating and electrical generation.  These uses will continue into the future, with a continued decrease in coal used for heating but increasing demand to fuel electrical...