National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program

Historical Geology Photographs

Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy outcrop photo

Photograph preservation supported by the NGGDPP. Photograph cataloged at: (Public domain.)

Virginia’s Division of Geology and Mineral Resources scanned and created metadata for a collection of photographic transparencies.  The approximately 13,000 photographs in this collection were generated during the course of geologic, mineral resource, and geologic hazard investigations carried out across Virginia by geoscientists during the previous century.  The collection includes images of important rock outcrops that demonstrate key features of stratigraphic units, fossils indicative of the age of rock formations, outcrop-scale geologic structures such as faults and folds, economically significant minerals and mine sites, and geologic hazards such as landslides and sinkholes.  The images provide a visual record of nearly eight decades of geoscience work and supplement published maps and reports. Images of rock outcrops are invaluable to geologists making geologic maps or completing geologic research.  Many outcrops are ephemeral, especially in areas that have been developed since the time that the original image was made.  Outcrops that remain can deteriorate or become vegetated over time, and old photographs are often the best way to view these features.  These images assist in both reconnaissance and site-specific geologic projects which have safety, environmental, or economic benefits. This collection includes a large number of mine site images, which will aid Virginia maintain its strong record of mine safety and continued efforts to reduce or eliminate the hazards associated with active and abandoned mine sites.  This collection, in a digital format with an accompanying database, will provide a valuable source of geologic and mineral resource information to future workers.  This project is a priority because photographic transparencies fade and deteriorate over time, an irreversible process that will eventually render them useless.  The bulk of the transparencies in the collection are more than 20 years old, and some are nearly 80 years old.  Some of the images have already begun to fade. Currently, customers have no access to the images unless they come into the office, and no way to effectively search the collection using standard search methods such as keywords and location.  Scanning the slides will preserve them for future generations and make the images readily available to customers.

Access Virginia's historical collection of geologic photographs.