Geoscience and Nevada

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What is Geoscience?

Geoscientists study the Earth’s systems—the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Geoscience expertise enables us to develop solutions to critical economic, environmental, health, and safety challenges.

By the numbers: Nevada

$7.65 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166

4,060: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed)1

14,200: jobs in extractive industries in 20152

Nevada ranks #2 in the nation for production of geothermal energy, and #3 for solar power

47 fire disaster declarations since 19537

$15.6 million: NSF grants awarded in Nevada in 201617

$1.9 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in Nevada in 201617

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
University of Nevada, Reno/178
Reno, NV 89557
(775) 784-6691


Workforce in Nevada

  • 4,060: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed) in 20151
  • $79,170: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 14,200: jobs in extractive industries in 20152
  • 11: academic geoscience departments3

Water in Nevada

  • 1.2 billion gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal4
  • 1.4 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal4
  • 581 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal4
  • 1.6 billion gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation4
  • 5 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal4
  • 94% of the population is served by public water supplies4
  • 43 USGS stream gages in Nevada5

Energy and Minerals Production in Nevada

  • $7.65 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166
  • 310,000 megawatt hours: wind power produced in 20152
  • 2.3 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20152
  • 3.9 million megawatt hours: geothermal energy produced in 2016, #2 in the nation (20% of U.S. production)2
  • 2.6 million megawatt hours: solar power produced in 2016, #3 in the nation (6% of U.S. production)2

Natural Hazards in Nevada

FEMA statistics for Nevada

  • 5 severe storm disaster declarations since 19537
  • 11 flooding disaster declarations since 19537
  • 47 fire disaster declarations since 19537
  • $2 million: individual assistance grants since 20057
  • $17 million: mitigation grants since 20057
  • $219 million: preparedness grants since 20057
  • $20 million: public assistance grants since 20057
  • 18 weather and/or climate events, each with costs exceeding $1 billion (inflation adjusted) 1980-20168

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geologic Mapping

  • $1.06 billion: total FY 2016USGS budget; 1.6% up from FY 20159
  • The USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) funds geologic mapping projects by states (STATEMAP) and universities (EDMAP)
  • $3.7 million: Nevada STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)10
  • Over 50 geologic maps in Nevada created through STATEMAP (1993-2013)10
  • University of Nevada-Las Vegas and University of Nevada-Reno participated in EDMAP10

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $5.6 billion: total FY 2016 NASA Science budget; 6.6% up from FY 201511
  • $1.9 billion: total FY 2016 NASA Earth Science budget; 7.7% up from FY 201512
  • GRACE satellites measure groundwater changes in all of Nevada13
  • SMAP satellite measures soil moisture in all of Nevada13
  • GPM satellite measures precipitation over all of Nevada13

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.8 billion: total FY 2016 NOAA budget; 5.9% up from FY 201514
  • GOES satellites provide state-of-the-art weather forecasting over Nevada15
  • DISCOVR satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Nevada15
  • 104 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Nevada16

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.46 billion: total FY 2016 NSF budget; 1.6% up from FY 201517
  • $1.28 billion: total FY 2016 NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards; 1.6% up from FY 201517
  • 86 NSF grants in Nevada totaling $45.6 million in 201617
  • 15 NSF GEO grants in Nevada totaling $1.9 million in 201617
  • $1 million: NSF GEO grants to University of Nevada-Reno in 201617
  • $433,000: NSF GEO grants to Iowa State UniversityUniversity of Nevada-Las Vegas in 201617

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.14 billion: total FY 2016 EPA budget; 0% up from FY 201518
  • 2 active/proposed superfund sites19
  • $205 million: cumulative federal grants for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in Nevada (1997-2016)20
  • $12 million: annual value of federal DWSRF grants in Nevada in 201620

Major Federal Facilities in Nevada

  • USGS Nevada Water Science Center, Carson City
  • USGS Henderson Field Station, Henderson
  • DOE NNSA Nevada Site Office, Las Vegas


1Data Derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics 2015
2DOI U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
3American Geosciences Institute Directory of Geoscience Departments 2016
4USGS Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2010
5USGS WaterWatch Total Streamgage Stations, March 10, 2017
6USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017
7FEMA Summary of Disaster Declarations and Grants, 2016
8NOAA Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Mapping
10USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
11NASA Budget Documents, Strategic Plans and Performance Reports
12American Institute of Physics FY2016 Appropriations
13Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE); Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP); Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
14NOAA Total Budget
15Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) & Deep Space Climate Observatory (DISCOVR)
16NOAA in Your State
17NSF Budget Internet Information System
18EPA Budget and Spending
19EPA Search for Superfund Sites Where You Live (August 2017)
20EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports

Date updated: 2017-08-07

Written and compiled by J. Bernau and A. Ackerman for AGI, July 2017

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