Science Center Objects

The Ask-A-Geologist project shut down on July 1, 2019 
after answering more than 60,000 questions since 1994.
You can send your earth science questions to Ask USGS.

Other sources of information:

USGS Frequently Asked Questions
USGS Resources for Teachers
Ask An Expert Resources (not maintained by USGS)


A brief history of Ask-A-Geologist

October 1994

Ask-A-Geologist starts as an experiment with 35 USGS scientists in Palo Alto, California. One scientist answers all the questions received on a given day of the month. In the first month, Ask-A-Geologist receives 127 messages.

September 1995

Ask-A-Geologist shut down due to widespread layoffs at USGS.

Award certificate with fancy scroll lettering plus normal lettering and some graphics.

October 1995

Ask-A-Geologist is revived and reinvented, using over 300 scientists nationwide to answer questions. Each message received is forwarded to a different scientist. The Ask-A-Geologist project wins the U.S. Department of Interior Innovation Award.

November 1995

Ask-A-Geologist receives 209 messages.

December 1995

Ask-A-Geologist shut down this month due to US Government shutdown.

October 1996

Ask-A-Geologist receives 595 messages.

October 1997

Ask-A-Geologist receives 1121 messages.

January 1998

Due to overwhelming demand, new software limits the number of questions answered each day. Ask-A-Geologist receives 1147 messages. About 60% get answers.

October 1998

Ask-A-Geologist software rewritten to save all the messages for a day, then forward to scientists for answers. Scientists can answer questions more efficiently. Ask-A-Geologist receives 1505 messages. About 50% get answers.

October 1999

Ask-A-Geologist receives 1723 messages. About 51% get answers.

November 2004

Published Sound Waves article on Ten Years of Ask-A-Geologist.

April 2012

Ask-A-Geologist receives 313 messages, mostly spam. About 6% get answers.

May 2013

Ask-A-Geologist receives 78 real questions, and answers all of them! Our spam filters are working!

October 2013

Ask-A-Geologist shut down for 18 days due to US Government shutdown.

May 2014

On average over the previous year, Ask-A-Geologist received 84 real questions per month, and answered 88% of those questions. 94% of Ask-A-Geologist emails were spam.

October 2014

Published Sound Waves article on Twenty Years of Ask-A-Geologist.

December 2018

Ask-A-Geologist shut down for 35 days due to US Government shutdown.

July 2019

Ask-A-Geologist is retired.