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Resources for Geology

Rock with Erosion Holes Agate Sandstone Layers

Geology is the study of the solid earth--its chemical properties, its structure, its morphology, its history, and its uses. The properties of earth's material makeup and the ways in which physical properties work on the earth are the two major divisions in the field. This guide introduces some of the library resources important in the field of geology. It is far from complete; don't hesitate to consult a librarian for further sources.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
For more information and additional suggestions, see the Databases Guide for Geology.
  • GeoRefS
    GeoRefS contains citations to nearly 2 million records about geology and earth sciences. It is international in scope, and citations date from 1785 to the present.
    1785-present; updated twice monthly
  • GeoScienceWorld
    GSW provides access to the full text of more than 40 journals in the earth sciences. The default search includes both GSW journals and the GeoRef index. To limit your search to GSW full text journals only, select "All GSW journals" on the Quick Search or Advanced Search menu.
  • USGS Publications Warehouse
    a database of citations to USGS publications including reports and thematic maps back to 1880. Some of the more recent entries include links to full text. Others may be available in our documents collection in one of the series listed below.
  • Publications of the Geological Survey
    Government Printing Office
    This sometimes frustrating index lists Geological Survey publications and ceased publication in 2003. When searching by subject in the print version, you may have to look first under state, then physical feature. Though it does not include the Superintendent of Documents number by which the documents are organized, it does cover many series important to the geologist, including the following:

    • USGS Bulletins (I 19.3: )
    • USGS Circulars (I 19.4/2: )
    • USGS Open File Reports (I 19.76: )
    • USGS Professional Papers (I 19.16: )
    • USGS Water Data Reports (e.g. Water Data for Minnesota) (I 19.53/2: )
    • USGS Water-Supply Papers (I 19.13: )

    • Location(s): Print version shelved under Gov Docs Ref QE 1 .U53
  • Annual Reviews
    Online access to the contents of the Annual Reviews: 29 volumes published yearly covering biomedical, physical, and social science disciplines. Full text is available for the complete backfiles of 13 titles, some going back to 1932: the Annual Review of Anthropology, Biochemistry, Cell & Developmental Biology, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Ecology & Systematics, Entomology, Genetics, Genomics & Human Genetics, Immunology, Neuroscience, Physical Chemistry, Psychology, and Sociology.

    • There is a set devoted specifically to Earth and Planetary Sciences that offers full-text access to articles from 2000 to the present on topics such as subglacial processes and feathered dinosaurs. Older volumes of this series are shelved under QE1 .A674.

    tables of contents 1932-present; full text from 1998-present
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
Reference Works
  • Encyclopedias
    • Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences
      Van Nostrand Reinhold
      This series is shelved in the reference section in various places, depending on the subject of each volume. Each volume has lengthy scholarly articles on the topics of the volume. Note that information found in these volumes should be updated with more current information. The series includes:
      Encyclopedia of Oceanography (Ref GC 9 .F16)
      Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences and Astrogeology (Ref QC 854 .F34)
      Encyclopedia of Geochemistry (Ref QE 515 .F24)
      Encyclopedia of World Regional Geography (Ref QE 5 .F33)
      Encyclopedia of Climatology (Ref QC 854 .E525 1987)
      Encyclopedia of Structural Geology and Plate Tectonics (Ref QE 601 .E53 1987)
    • Macmillan Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences
      Macmillan Reference 1996
      Offers nearly 400 accessible articles on all aspects of earth science, including solid earth, oceanographic, and atmospheric sciences, as well as some coverage of the place of the earth in the solar system.
      • Location(s): Ref QE 5 .E5137 1996
      2 vols.
  • Places to find quick information
    • Dictionary of Earth Sciences
      Oxford UP 1999
      Offers brief definitions of over 6,000 specialized terms in the field, including economic geology, geochemistry, oceanography, palaeontology, petrology, and volcanology.
  • Specialized resources
    • Encyclopedia of Paleontology
      Fitzroy Dearborn 1999
      Covers principles and methods of the field, as well as paleontologists and their findings throughout the world. Entries cover dinosaurs and other animals and plants found in the fossil record.
      • Location(s): Ref QE 703 .E523 1999
      2 vols
    • The Fossil Record 2
      Chapman and Hall 1993
      An attempt to gather what is known about the fossil record into a systematic, taxonomically-organized compilation. For each organism the first and most recent finding is listed; for some entries, more extensive comments are included. Extensive bibliographies provide a useful key to the literature.
      • Location(s): Ref QE 723 .567 1993
    • Lexicon of Geologic Names of the United States (including Alaska)
      Government Printing Office 1936
      Provides information from records kept since the 1880s by the U.S. Geological Survey, Geological Names Committee. This work identifies the names of geological features by time period and location and provides reviews of the literature referring to the names. Supplements provide information on more recently named features. Most of the names from the print volumes are also provided online.
      • Location(s): Ref QE 75 .B8
      2 vols.
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of geology.
  • GB 400-649 Geomorphology
    • 651-2998 Water. Hydrology.
  • Q General Science
  • QC Physics
  • QD Chemistry
  • QE Geology
    • 351-399 Mineralogy
    • 420-499 Petrology
    • 500-625 Dynamic and Structural Geology
    • 640-699 Stratigraphic Geology
    • 701-996 Paleontology
  • TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy, including mineral industries


Additional journals may be available in full text through various subscription databases.
Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.

  • AAPG bulletin
  • American Journal of Science
  • Earth
    This geoscience news magazine reports research developments, events, professional meetings, and trends in government policy as related to geology.
  • Economic Geology and the Bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists
  • Journal of Petrology
  • Paleobiology
  • Tectonics
    Journal containing original scientific contributions in analytical, synthetic, and integrative tectonics, restricted to the structure and evolution of the terrestrial lithosphere with dominant emphasis on the continents. A joint publication of AGU and the European Geophysical Society.
  • Petroleum Engineering Reading Room
    From the University of Texas at Austin Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. Part of the World Wide Web Virtual Library, this Website offers digital collections of publications on petroleum worldwide, as well as information about government and commercial sites and research centers.
  • U.S. Geological Survey
    Since 1879, this federal project has provided the nation with information about itself. At its Website you will find information about earthquakes, environmental and biological information, geospatial data and mapping projects, and other geologic resources.
  • Map-a-Planet
    Customize and download your own maps of moons and planets.
  • Minerals Information
    Includes an online version of The Minerals Yearbook with profiles of over 90 minerals, as well as international industry surveys and statistics, current and historical.
  • National Map: The Nation's Topographic Map for the 21st Century
    An amazing tool. The viewer allows users to zoom in on any part of the U.S. and choose map layers that include elevation, roads, water, land use, and even detailed aerial satellite images. Whether you're examining a region, a state, or a few city blocks, this tool offers access to a wealth of cartographic information.
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