Terrestrial ecosystems: Surficial lithology of the conterminous United States

Scientific Investigations Map 3126
Prepared in collaboration with NatureServe
By: , and 



As part of an effort to map terrestrial ecosystems, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has generated a new classification of the lithology of surficial materials to be used in creating maps depicting standardized, terrestrial ecosystem models for the conterminous United States. The ecosystems classification used in this effort was developed by NatureServe. A biophysical stratification approach, developed for South America and now being implemented globally, was used to model the ecosystem distributions. This ecosystem mapping methodology is transparent, replicable, and rigorous. Surficial lithology strongly influences the differentiation and distribution of terrestrial ecosystems, and is one of the key input layers in this biophysical stratification. These surficial lithology classes were derived from the USGS map 'Surficial Materials in the Conterminous United States,' which was based on texture, internal structure, thickness, and environment of deposition or formation of materials. This original map was produced from a compilation of regional surficial and bedrock geology source maps using broadly defined common map units for the purpose of providing an overview of the existing data and knowledge. For the terrestrial ecosystem effort, the 28 lithology classes of Soller and Reheis (2004) were generalized and then reclassified into a set of 17 lithologies that typically control or influence the distribution of vegetation types.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Terrestrial ecosystems: Surficial lithology of the conterminous United States
Series title Scientific Investigations Map
Series number 3126
DOI 10.3133/sim3126
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center
Description 1 Plate: 45.0 x 35.0 inches
Country United States
Other Geospatial Conterminous United States
Projection Albers Equal Area Conic
Scale 5000000
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details