Geoscience and South Carolina

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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: South Carolina

$820 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166

3,800: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed)1

1,240: jobs in extractive industries in 20152

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

3 flooding disaster declarations since 19537

$60 million: NSF grants awarded in 2016 to South Carolina17

$20.3 million: NSF GEO grants in 2016 to South Carolina17

Your State Source for Geoscience Information

South Carolina Geological Survey
5 Geology Road
Columbia, SC 29212
(803) 896-7931

Workforce in South Carolina

  • 3,800: geoscience employees (non-federal/self-employed) in 20151
  • $72,500: average median geoscience employee salary1
  • 1,240: jobs in extractive industries in 20152
  • 8: academic geoscience departments3

Water in South Carolina

  • 340 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal4
  • 6.4 billion gallons/day: total surface water withdrawal4
  • 620 million gallons/day: public supply water withdrawal4
  • 125 million gallons/day: water withdrawal for irrigation4
  • 390 million gallons/day: self-supplied industrial fresh water withdrawal4
  • 75% of the population is served by public water supplies4
  • 36 USGS stream gages in South Carolina5

Energy and Minerals Production in South Carolina

  • $820 million: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20166
  • 2.4 million megawatt hours: hydroelectricity produced in 20162
  • 2 million megawatt hours: wood-derived fuel energy produced in South Carolina in 20152
  • 190,000 megawatt hours: other biomass energy produced in South Carolina in 20152

Natural Hazards in South Carolina

FEMA statistics for South Carolina

  • 3 severe storm disaster declarations since 19537
  • 11 hurricane/tropical storm disaster declarations since 19537
  • 3 flooding disaster declarations since 19537
  • 4 fire disaster declarations since 19537
  • $130 million: individual assistance grants since 20057
  • $215 million: preparedness grants since 20057
  • $330 million: public assistance grants since 20057
  • 52 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)
  • $3.7 million: South Carolina STATEMAP funding (1993-2016)10
  • 153 geologic maps covering over a third of South Carolina created through STATEMAP (1993-2010)10
  • University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University, and Clemson University 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 South Carolina13

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 South Carolina15
  • DISCOVR satellite monitors radiation and air quality over South Carolina15
  • 103 National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) sites in South Carolina16

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
  • 167 NSF grants in South Carolina totaling $60 million in 201617
  • 22 NSF GEO grants in South Carolina totaling $20.3 million in 201617
  • $1.5 million: NSF GEO grants to University of South Carolina in 201617

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • $8.14 billion: total EPA budget; 0% up from FY 201518
  • 25 active/proposed superfund sites19
  • $200 million: federal grants for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) in South Carolina(1997-2016)20
  • $8 million: annual value of federal DWSRF grants in South Carolina in 201620

Major Federal Facilities in South Carolina

  • USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center - Columbia, SC Office, Columbia, Clemson, and Sullivan’s Island
  • NOAA Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, Charleston
  • NOAA Hollings Marine Laboratory Charleston
  • DOE Savannah River National Lab


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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