Geoscience in Minnesota

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By the numbers: Minnesota

  • 6,639 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1
  • 776 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • $3.18 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • 60 total disaster declarations, including 25 flood, 24 severe storm, and 3 tornado disasters (1953-2017)6
  • $16.7 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

Minnesota Geological Survey 
2609 West Territorial Road 
St. Paul, MN 55114 

Workforce in Minnesota

  • 6,639 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed) in 20171
  • $69,746: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 13 academic geoscience departments2

Water Use in Minnesota

  • 776 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • 2.45 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal3
  • 515 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal3
  • 276 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation3
  • 259 million gallons/day: industrial fresh water withdrawal3
  • 79% of the population is served by public water supplies3

Energy and Minerals in Minnesota

  • $3.18 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • Iron ore, sand and gravel (construction), sand and gravel (industrial): top three nonfuel minerals in order of value produced in 20174
  • 10.9 million megawatt hours: wind produced in 20175
  • 1.26 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20175

Natural Hazards in Minnesota

  • 60 total disaster declarations, including 25 flood, 24 severe storm, and 3 tornado disasters (1953-2017)6
  • $26 million: individual assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • $63 million: mitigation grants (2005-2017)6
  • $290 million: preparedness grants (2005-2017)6
  • $290 million: public assistance grants (2005-2017)6
  • 32 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
  • $2.47 million: Minnesota STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)9
  • University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota at Duluth, and University of St. Thomas have participated in EDMAP9
  • USGS streamgages collect real-time or recent streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality data in Minnesota

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 Minnesota
  • Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite measures soil moisture in Minnesota

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 for Minnesota
  • Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR) satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Minnesota
  • 15 National Weather Service Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) stations in Minnesota12
  • 215 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Minnesota12

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
  • 53 NSF GEO awards in Minnesota totaling $16.7 million in 201714
  • $13.6 million: NSF GEO grants awarded to University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 201714

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.1 billion: total EPA budget in FY 2018 (0% change from FY 2017)15
  • 25 active Superfund sites in Minnesota in 201816
  • $14.8 million: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grants in Minnesota in 201717

Federal Facilities in Minnesota

  • USGS Minnesota Water Science Center, Mounds View
  • EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth
  • NSF National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, St. Anthony Falls
  • USDA Forest Service Center for Research on Ecosystem Change, Grand Rapids


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

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