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Circular 1179

Records and History of the United States Geological Survey

Clifford M. Nelson, Editor

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The United States Geological Survey (USGS) was founded by an act of Congress dated March 3, 1879 (20 Stat. L., 394-395). The provisions of the act specified that “the salary of the Director of the Geological Survey, which office is hereby established, under the Interior Department, who shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, six thousand dollars: Provided, That this officer shall have the direction of the Geological Survey, and the classification of the public lands and examination of the Geological Structure, mineral resources and products of the national domain.” The act directed the termination of the three ongoing geological and geographic surveys (predecessor surveys) and the deposit of the USGS and other Federal scientific collections in the National Museum. Other clauses specified ethics for USGS employees. The act also provided for the publication of an annual report of the operations of the USGS, maps, and technical reports, a program of publications exchange, and the establishment of a library.

Although the agency was commonly referred to as the United States Geological Survey and routinely used that title on official publications, it was by the act of May 18, 1992 (106 Stat. L., 171), that the Federal Geological Survey officially became the United States Geological Survey

First posted May 24, 2010

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Suggested citation:

Nelson, C.M., Ed., 2000, Records and History of the United States Geological Survey: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1179, 674 p.


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