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critical issues

Interactive map of coal resources in the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Coal Resources Data System comes with an interactive map that provides a huge amount of information on the distribution, thickness, and classification of coal in the United States.

The interactive map contains over 250,000 data points, each typically representing a core sample, drill hole, or driller's log in a specific location. You can use the "Filter" tool to focus in on specific areas, or on data collected by specific organizations. Commonly available data include:

Interactive map of historical oil and gas production in the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey provides an interactive map of historical oil and gas production in the United States from 1859 to 2005, including Alaska and Hawaii. In this map, the country is split into quarter-mile cells and the production status of all wells in that cell are aggregated for each time period.

The map can be filtered to show oil and gas production pre-1900, for each decade of the 20th century, and for 2000-2005.

Interactive map of wind farms in the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey's interactive windFarm map provides detailed information on wind farms across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

By zooming in on the map, users can find the precise location of tens of thousands of individual turbines, with information for each turbine including the owner, generating capacity, on-line date, type of tower, blade length, total height, and the confidence with which this information can be given.

Critical Issues Monthly Roundup: April 2017

Welcome to May! Here’s what’s new from the Critical Issues Program:
  • On April 14th we held our most recent webinar, “State Responses to Induced Earthquakes,” showcasing the steps that Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio have been taking to monitor and reduce earthquakes triggered by oil and gas operations. We were lucky to have three great speakers: Jeremy Boak (Oklahoma Geological Survey), Michael Young (Texas Bureau of Economic Geology), and Steven Dade (Ohio Department of Natural Resources). Thank you to the 800+ people who registered and almost 400 who attended live. If you missed the live webinar you can find a video recording, copies of the presenters’ slides, and additional resources by clicking here.
  • How does geoscience affect your state? AGI’s Geoscience Policy program is producing factsheets answering this question for every state in the union. These factsheets cover employment, minerals, energy, hazards, and federally funded geoscience in your state. Find your state factsheet here – we have 19 states covered so far and aim to have the full 50 by the end of the summer. A special shout-out to our spring policy intern, Jeremiah Bernau, who worked tirelessly to make this project a reality.
Click "Read More" to see more news.

What are tar sands?

Tar sands (also called oil sands) are a mixture of sand, clay, water, and bitumen.[1] Bitumen is a thick, sticky, black oil that can form naturally in a variety of ways, usually when lighter oil is degraded by bacteria.[2] Bitumen has long been used in waterproofing materials for buildings, and is most familiar today as the binding agent in road asphalt.


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