First Fully Digital Geologic Map Of Alaska Exposes Hidden Minerals And Natural Resources

Posted: Jan 6 2016, 7:19pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
First Fully Digital Geologic Map of Alaska Exposes Hidden Minerals and Natural Resources
Region around the city of Fairbanks, Alaska. Credit: USGS

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The first ever digital geologic map will assist in exploration and also to prepare for natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has created the first ever 100% digital geologic map of Alaska.

The map illustrates an abundance of minerals and energy sources throughout the state in a detailed and clear format. It will assist scientists and land management authorities in planning strategies for exploration and remediation and also to prepare for natural hazards such as earthquakes, flooding and volcano eruptions.

"A better understanding of Alaska's geology is vital to our state's future. This new map makes a real contribution to our state, from the scientific work it embodies to the responsible resource production it may facilitate.” Senator Lisa Murkowski said.

The data used for creating the new digital map spans more than a century with some information taken from sources as far back as 1908 and as new as 2015. It took nearly 20 years to complete the remarkably detailed statewide digital map.

“The data contained in this digital map will be invaluable,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "It is a great resource and especially enhances the capacity for science-informed decision making for natural and cultural resources, interpretive programs, and visitor safety.”

This is the first time when plate tectonic theory is incorporated into a fully digital map, meaning the map shows several plates on Earth’s outer shell that slide over the mantle or Earth’s interior so it can help detect activity in the region.

"This work is an important synthesis that will both increase public access to critical information and enhance the fundamental understanding of Alaska's history, natural resources and environment," said Mark Myers, Commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources. The map “will be useful for natural disaster preparation, resource development, land use planning and management, infrastructure and urban planning and management, education, and scientific research.”

World’s first geologic map was made exactly 200 years ago by William Smith of England in 1815.

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