Geoscience and Tennessee

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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: Tennessee

$1.2 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166

5,780: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed)1

3,460: jobs in extractive industries in 20152

31 severe storm, hurricane/tropical storm, and tornado disaster declarations since 19537

11 fire disaster declarations since 19537

$80.8 million: NSF grants awarded in 2016 to Tennessee17

$2.1 million: NSF GEO grants in 2016 to Tennessee17

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

Tennessee Geological Survey
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 532-1502


Workforce in Tennessee

  • 5,780: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed) in 20151
  • $74,970: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 3,460: jobs in extractive industries in 20152
  • 14: academic geoscience departments3

Water in Tennessee

  • 470 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal4
  • 7.2 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal4
  • 920 million gallons/day: public water supply withdrawal4
  • 776 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal4
  • 92% of the population is served by public water supplies4
  • 51 USGS stream gages in Tennessee5

Energy and Minerals Production in Tennessee

  • $1.2 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166
  • 300,000 barrels: crude oil produced in 20152
  • 4.3 billion cubic feet: natural gas produced in 20142
  • 900,000 short tons: coal produced in 20142
  • 9.8 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20152

Natural Hazards in Tennessee

FEMA statistics for Tennessee

  • 31 severe storm disaster declarations since 19537
  • 17 flooding disaster declarations since 19537
  • 4 tornado disaster declarations since 19537
  • 11 fire disaster declarations since 19537
  • $196 million: individual assistance grants since 20057
  • $149 million: mitigation grants since 20057
  • $260 million: preparedness grants since 20057
  • $444 million: public assistance grants since 20057
  • 61 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 USGS 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)
  • $1.06 million: Tennessee STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)10
  • 25 geologic maps covering 1,750 square miles of Tennessee created though STATEMAP (1993-2010)10
  • Tennessee universities participated in EDMAP10

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • $5.6 billion: total NASA Science budget; 6.6% up from FY 201511
  • $1.9 billion: total NASA Earth Science budget; 7.7% up from FY 201512
  • GRACE satellites measure groundwater changes in all of Tennessee13
  • SMAP satellite measures soil moisture in all of Tennessee13

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • $5.8 billion: total NOAA budget; 5.9% up from FY 201514
  • GOES satellites provide state-of-the-art weather forecasting over Tennessee15
  • DISCOVR satellite monitors radiation and air quality over Tennessee15
  • 169 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in Tennessee16

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • $7.46 billion: total NSF budget; 1.6% up from FY 201517
  • $1.28 billion: total NSF Geosciences Directorate (GEO) awards; 1.6% up from FY 201517
  • 269 NSF grants in Tennessee totaling $80.8 million in 201617
  • 14 NSF GEO grants in Tennessee totaling $2.1 million in 201617
  • $1.4 million: NSF GEO grants to Vanderbilt University in 201617

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.14 billion: total EPA budget; 0% up from FY 201518
  • 18 active/proposed superfund sites19
  • $211 million: federal grants for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in Tennessee (1997-2016)20
  • $8.3 million: annual value of federal DWSRF grants in Tennessee in 201620

Major Federal Facilities in Tennessee

  • USGS NOROCK Southern Appalachian Duty Station, Knoxville
  • USGS Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center - Nashville
  • USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center - Tennessee, Memphis
  • DOE Oak Ridge National Lab, Oak Ridge


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
20EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund National Information Management System Reports

Date updated: 2017-08-08

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

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