Geoscience in Your State: Massachusetts

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Cover of Geoscience Policy State Factsheet. Image credit: AGI

What is Geoscience?

Geoscience is the study of the Earth and the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Understanding the Earth’s surface and subsurface, its resources, history, and hazards allows us to develop solutions to critical economic, environmental, health, and safety challenges.

By the numbers: Massachusetts

9,887 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1

380 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3

$296 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174

47 total disaster declarations, including 11 severe storm, 8 snow, and 7 flood disasters (1953-2017)6

$92 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in 201714

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Massachusetts Geological Survey Department of Geosciences 
269 Morrill Science Center 
University of Massachusetts 
627 North Pleasant Street 
Amherst, MA 01003 

Agencies Working on Geoscience Issues in massachusetts

Massachusetts Bureau of Geographic Information

Through the Bureau of Geographic Information (MassGIS), the Commonwealth has created a comprehensive, statewide database of spatial information for mapping and analysis supporting emergency response, environmental planning and management, transportation planning, economic development, and transparency in state government operations.

Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation

The health and happiness of people across Massachusetts depend on the accessibility and quality of our natural resources, recreational facilities, and great historic landscapes. DCR continues to improve the vital connection between people and the environment. DCR's focus is on improving outdoor recreational opportunities and natural resource conservation, restoring and improving our facilities, expanding public involvement in carrying out DCR's mission, and establishing first-rate management systems and practices.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

MassDEP serves the Commonwealth by protecting natural resource areas that involve water, land and air. MassDEP enforces environmental laws, provides technical assistance to cities and towns, issues permits and licenses for activities near sensitive resources, inspects contaminated site cleanups, and partners with other federal and state agencies, municipal officials and environmental stakeholders.

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

MEMA coordinates with federal, state and local government agencies, non-profits and businesses to prepare, respond and recover from emergencies and disasters.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs serves commonwealth residents interested in outdoor recreational opportunities, energy consumers and power companies, residents and businesses interacting with environmental protection laws and regulations, clean energy companies and residents interested in clean energy, farmers, and residents who work with animals.

Massachusetts Geological Survey

The Massachusetts Geological Survey's mission is to perform research on the land, mineral, and water resources of the state; coordinate/facilitate research and communication among various agencies, researchers and stakeholders; collect, compile, analyze, correlate and preserve all data pertaining to the geological environment; disseminate to the public all information leading to a better understanding of the geology, hydrology, and natural environment through the preparation of maps, databases, reports and other publications.

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

CZM is the lead policy, planning, and technical assistance agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and implements the state’s coastal program under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Through local and regional coordination and collaboration, CZM balances management of vital economic and natural resources of the Massachusetts coast and ocean waters. CZM provides technical assistance and support—primarily to local officials, marine businesses, environmental groups, and coastal homeowners—as well as information to people who visit and volunteer for the coast.

Case Studies & Factsheets


Introduction Dry wells improve stormwater drainage and aquifer recharge by providing a fast, direct route for rainwater to drain deep into underlying sediment and rock. Dry wells are most common in the western U.S. where clay or caliche layers slow down the natural drainage of water into...

Cover of AGI Factsheet 2018-004 - Present Day Climate Change

Climate Science 101 Climate is the average of weather conditions over several decades.1,2 Geoscientists monitor modern climate conditions (1880 A.D. to present) in part by taking direct measurements of weather data (i.e., air temperature, rainfall and snowfall, wind speed, cloudiness, and so on...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Ocean Acidification Impacts on Fisheries; Image credit: NOAA
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

As the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased over recent history, so has the acidity of oceans worldwide. The changing acidity of the ocean has many ecological and economic impacts, one of the most serious being its effects on marine life and fisheries. The impact of ocean...