Geoscience in Massachusetts

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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

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.

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 

Workforce in Massachusetts

  • 9,887 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed) in 20171
  • $88,208: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 20 academic geoscience departments2

Water Use in Massachusetts

  • 380 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • 1.03 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal3
  • 648 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal3
  • 139 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation3
  • 28 million gallons/day: industrial fresh water withdrawal3
  • 91% of the population is served by public water supplies3

Energy and Minerals in Massachusetts

  • $296 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • Crushed stone, sand and gravel (construction), stone (dimension): top three nonfuel minerals in order of value produced in 20174
  • 1.05 million megawatt hours: solar energy produced in 20175
  • 1.06 million megawatt hours: biomass energy produced in 20175

Natural Hazards in Massachusetts

  • 47 total disaster declarations, including 11 severe storm, 8 snow, and 7 flood disasters (1953-2017)6
  • $92 million: individual assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • $120 million: mitigation grants (2005-2017)6
  • $658 million: preparedness grants (2005-2017)6
  • $515 million: public assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • 26 weather and/or climate events, each with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) (1980-2017)7

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

  • $1.15 billion: total USGS budget in FY 2018 (5.8% increase from FY 2017)8
  • The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program funds geologic mapping projects with federal (FEDMAP), state (STATEMAP), and university (EDMAP) partners 
  • $1.25 million: Massachusetts STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)9
  • Boston College and University of Massachusetts Amherst have participated in EDMAP9
  • USGS streamgages collect real-time or recent streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality data in Massachusetts

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $20.7 billion: total NASA budget in FY 2018 (5.5% increase from FY 2017)10
  • $1.9 billion: total NASA Earth Science budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)10
  • Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites measure groundwater changes in Massachusetts
  • Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite measures soil moisture in Massachusetts

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.9 billion: total NOAA budget in FY 2018 (4.1% increase from FY 2017)11
  • Next-generation geostationary (GOES) and polar orbiting (JPSS) satellites provide weather forecasting over Massachusetts
  • Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Massachusetts
  • 19 National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) stations in Massachusetts12
  • 60 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Massachusetts12

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.8 billion: total NSF budget in FY 2018 (4% increase from FY 2017)13
  • $1.4 billion: total NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards in FY 2017 (7.2% increase from FY 2016)14
  • 205 NSF GEO awards in Massachusetts totaling $92 million in 2017, including $6.4 million to Massachusetts Institute of Technology14

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.1 billion: total EPA budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)15
  • 31 active Superfund sites in 201816
  • $15.3 million: value of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grants in Massachusetts in 201717
  • $400,000: Brownfield cleanup grants awarded to Massachusetts in 201818

Federal Facilities in Massachusetts

  • USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
  • USGS New England Water Science Center, Northborough
  • NSF Center for Integrated Quatum Mechanics, Cambridge


1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017
2. American Geosciences Institute, Directory of Geoscience Departments, 53rd Edition (2018)
3. U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2015
4. U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2018
5. U.S. Energy Information Administration
6. FEMA Data Visualization: Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants (accessed May 2, 2018)
7. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters from 1980 to 2018 (accessed April 6, 2018)
8. U.S. Department of the Interior, FY 2019 Budet in Brief
9. U.S. Geological Survey, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
10. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, FY 2019 Budget Estimates
11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, FY 2019 Bluebook
12. NOAA In Your State and Territory
13. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division B) – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
14. National Science Foundation, Budget Information System
15. U.S. House of Representatives, FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (Division G) – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
16. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund Sites
17. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports
18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Brownfields Grant Fact Sheet Search

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