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Bedrock Geology Program

The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey is engaged in a variety of investigations of the geologic framework of the state and related geologic processes. The WGNHS maintains active programs of mapping, resource characterizations, stratigraphic studies, and surface and subsurface geologic data management.

Research areas

Studies include those related to the geology and history of

  • Precambrian and Paleozoic bedrock,
  • metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources, and
  • the subsurface distribution of geologic units.

Bedrock geology projects include geologic mapping at statewide (scale 1:1,000,000), regional (scale 1:250,000), and county (scale 1:100,000) levels. These framework studies are commonly the source of investigations into geologic processes.

Research collections

We maintain and study extensive collections of subsurface geologic records, including records for public and private water-supply wells, mineral exploration core samples, and many physical samples from an extensive collection of rock core, tens of thousands of hand specimens collected in the course of fieldwork, and many other sets of information compiled, organized, and maintained throughout the more than 100 years of Survey activity throughout the state.

Educational outreach

WGNHS staff members regularly engage in educational outreach by publishing and giving talks about the results of their research activities and providing general information about the geology of the state. Some researchers in the Bedrock Geology Program are faculty in the University of Wisconsin–Extension’s Department of Environmental Sciences.

Research of the Bedrock Geology Program is designed to support decision making by Wisconsin’s citizens, public and private interest groups, and government officials. The results of this research are available in Survey publications, journal and other technical articles, educational materials, specialized consultation on specific issues, and public presentations offered to members of the public as well as members of the geologic community.

Other research programs at the Survey

Quaternary geology