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Biennial report of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 2018-2019
Biennial report NBMG 2018-2019



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Product Code: OF2020-04

Title: Biennial report of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 2018–2019

Author: James E. Faulds
Year: 2020
Series: Open-File Report 2020-04
Format: 47 pages, color

Nevada is a unique state with many opportunities and some challenges resulting from its distinctive geologic, geographic, economic, and demographic heritages. It is richly endowed in natural resources but is also prone to earthquakes, floods, and other natural hazards. The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) is the state geological survey of Nevada and is tasked with analyzing and characterizing these resources and hazards for the benefit of Nevada’s citizens.

As defined by state statutes (NRS-514), NBMG serves as the state’s official locus of data, analysis, and exchange on Nevada’s geology, natural resources, and geologic hazards. We disseminate this information to local, state, and federal agencies, major industries, engineers, educators, and to the general public. Our primary mission is to provide geologic information to enhance the safety of Nevada’s citizens and to facilitate environmentally sound and sustainable economic development of Nevada’s mineral and energy resources, applying geologic research for the public good throughout the state. We are a statewide public service unit that resides in the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering in the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Since its inception in 1929, NBMG has produced geologic maps for much of the state and catalogued more than 320,000 geologic specimens and reports. This report summarizes NBMG activities, programs, and accomplishments for 2018 and 2019.

To fulfill its mandate, NBMG employs about 30 individuals, including geoscientists, GIS (geographic information systems) and cartographic professionals, technicians, and staff. NBMG conducts research and publishes reports on mineral, geothermal, and oil and gas resources, engineering geology, geologic hazards, hydrogeology, geologic mapping, and Nevada’s overall geologic framework. NBMG cooperates with numerous state and federal agencies in conducting this research and in providing geologic and resource information. Research results are published as NBMG bulletins, reports, maps, and special publications, as well as in federal publications and scientific journals. In the 2018–2019 period, NBMG produced dozens of publications on Nevada’s geology, natural resources, and geologic hazards, including 11 NBMG geologic maps, 20 NBMG reports and other publications, and more than 90 papers in nationally and internationally recognized scientific journals. Geologic research conducted by NBMG has benefited many industries in Nevada (e.g., the mining, mineral, and geothermal industries) and enabled the state to become leading producers of gold and geothermal power. Geologic information managed by NBMG also helps government officials make informed decisions on the use of Nevada’s lands.

To preserve and provide public access to this information, NBMG manages and operates the Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library, whose staff catalogues and archives geologic reports, rock and mineral samples (including cuttings and core from geothermal and oil-gas wells), mining district files, aerial photographs, and geologic and topographic maps. About half of the NBMG staff are supported by State funding, with the other half supported by external grants. NBMG has been very successful in acquiring external grants and expended ~$5.43M in external funds on statewide projects in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. State funding during this period totaled ~$2.74M.

Continued rapid population growth in Nevada has resulted in increasing needs for mineral, energy, and groundwater resources, land-use and infrastructure planning, and assessments of geologic hazards. NBMG’s major programs are geared toward applying cutting-edge technology to satisfy these needs. NBMG’s major activities are briefly described below and reviewed in greater detail in subsequent chapters: 1) Geologic Mapping, 2) Mineral Resources and Economic Geology, 3) Geothermal, 4) Geologic Hazards, 5) Nevada Geodetic Laboratory, 6) Cartography & GIS, 7) Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library, 8) Open Data, and 9) Education and Outreach.

Biennial reports from previous years include the following: Open-File Reports 2000-01, 2002-03, 2004-02, 2006-20, and 2008-06, 2010-14, 2012-10, 2014-02, 2016-08, and 2018-08. You can view these reports here.

This report was prepared for the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Suggested citation:
Faulds, J.E., 2020, Biennial report of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, 2018–2019: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Open-File Report 2020-04, 47 p.

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