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Minnesota

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In 1911, USGS personnel began measuring streamflow to aid in operation of reservoirs on the Mississippi River.  From that fledgling start, the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center now provides data and interpreted science to more than 30 partners in federal, state, county and local governments to help manage and protect Minnesota’s groundwater and surface-water resources.

Link to Science Center

News

Drinking water from tap
December 20, 2018

Minnesota well drillers and landowners will now have new tools to help predict arsenic concentrations in drinking water when building domestic water wells, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study.

USGS' Brian Selck samples a private well in Lycoming County, PA
February 8, 2018

The reliability of arsenic testing for drinking water in Minnesota depends on how and when well water samples are collected, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Health study, which highlights ways to improve the accuracy of arsenic tests for private wells.

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USGS
Date Published: June 26, 2019
Status: Active

Information by Region - Minnesota

  

Application to explore US Oil and Gas Assessments
Date Published: April 19, 2019
Status: Active

United States Assessments of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources

USGS Energy Resources Program provides periodic assessments of the oil and natural gas endowment of the United States and the World (click here for information about World Oil and Gas Assessments).  This website provides access to new, prioritized, assessment results and supporting data for the United States, as part...

Trout Creek flowing through scrubby forest and grassland
Date Published: April 17, 2019
Status: Active

Water Quality Across Regional Stream Networks: The Influence of Land Cover and Land Use, Climate, and Biogeochemical Processing on Spatiotemporal Variance

Land cover and land use (LC/LU), climate, and biogeochemical processing are significant drivers of water quality in streams and rivers over broad scales of space and time. As LC/LU and climate continue to change we can expect changes in water quality. This project seeks to understand the drivers of spatial and temporal variability in water quality across scales using new and existing data to...

Wild Rice River Sediment Depositional Area
Date Published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Ecoflows: Developing Indices of Streamflow Alteration

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) lists streamflow alteration as a key stressor on aquatic life in many watersheds. However, the MPCA currently does not have the information needed to quantitatively associate metrics from Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) surveys with metrics of streamflow alteration.  We are using USGS streamgage data and MPCA IBI data to develop relations...

Contacts: Jeffrey Ziegeweid, Aliesha L Krall, Greg Johnson, Kara Fitzpatrick
Locations of sites sampled along US tributaries to the Great Lakes
Date Published: April 10, 2019
Status: Active

Chemicals of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes are an important freshwater source of drinking water, fisheries, and habitat. Chemicals of concern are introduced to the environment by human activities, but resulting ecological consequences are little understood. With federal and University partners, we are characterizing the presence of contaminants and potential effects to fish in Great Lakes tributaries.

Contacts: Sarah M Elliott, Stephanie Hummel
FluEgg Theory
Date Published: April 5, 2019
Status: Active

Development of a FluEgg Model for the St. Croix River

The USGS partnered with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to collect hydraulic and water chemistry data in the lower St. Croix River for development of a model that predicts the probability of successful egg hatching and survival of juvenile invasive carp over a range of water temperature and streamflow conditions.

Arsenic speciation analyses of groundwater samples
Date Published: April 2, 2019
Status: Active

Arsenic in Minnesota groundwater—Occurrence and relation to hydrogeologic and geochemical factors

Geologic-sourced arsenic is common in Minnesota groundwater. Drinking-water managers, well owners, and well contractors need to know where and why high arsenic in groundwater is likely to occur in wells in order to take measures to protect public health. The USGS is assessing the spatial distribution of high arsenic groundwater in Minnesota, and identifying factors affecting arsenic...

Contacts: Melinda L Erickson, Ph.D., P.E., Emily Berquist, P.G.
St. Louis River, looking downstream from County Highway 52 bridge crossing.
Date Published: March 31, 2019
Status: Active

Assessing Hydrologic Changes in the St. Louis River Basin from Past Land Uses

Resource managers can use assessments of past and future land use to make science-based decisions.  This project characterizes how changes in land use can change groundwater and surface-water flows in the St. Louis River Basin, MN. The USGS is constructing a set of groundwater models to simulate groundwater/surface-water interactions and evaluate how water flows have changed.

Contacts: Timothy K Cowdery, Nancy Schuldt
Streamgage mounted to bridge, view facing downstream river at dusk
Date Published: March 13, 2019
Status: Active

Measuring Suspended-Sediment Concentrations, Grain Sizes and Bedload using Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meters and Echologgers in the Lower Chippewa River, Wisconsin

Sediment from the Chippewa River deposits in the Mississippi River navigation channel, sometimes disrupting commercial barge traffic and resulting in expensive and ecologically disruptive dredging operations. The USGS is using new applications of hydroacoustic technologies to better understand sediment transport in the Chippewa River and associated effects on commercial navigation.

USGS Monitoring Well - Wetland and Prairie Restoration Hydrology Study Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Mentor, MN
Date Published: March 9, 2019
Status: Active

Continuous Groundwater Monitoring Network - Minnesota

This project monitors groundwater level, groundwater temperature and precipitation at hourly intervals at a long-term network of sites throughout Minnesota. These data are collected from surficial and buried aquifers and can be used to estimate groundwater recharge and assist water-availability assessments. Data are corrected to manual measurements at least twice per year and are available...

September 2016 Northern Plains Flood
Date Published: February 26, 2019
Status: Completed

September 2016 Northern Plains Floods

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the September 2016 Northern Plains Floods when more than 12 inches of rain fell in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin during a 24-hour period on September 22 and 23, 2016.

June 2014 floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa
Date Published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

June 2014 floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the June 2014 Floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.

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NWIS Mapper screenshot
March 5, 2019

The NWIS mapper provides access to over 1.5 million sites contained in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), including sites where current and historical surface-water, groundwater, springs, and atmospheric data has been collected. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.

Image of data download web page
December 6, 2018

GIS Data for Iowa Shelf Oil and Gas Assessments 

Image of data download web page
December 6, 2018

GIS Data for Superior Province Oil and Gas Assessments

Interactive map and chart highlighting USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present
August 28, 2018

Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results for Continuous Assessments only from 2000-2018.

USGS
January 1, 2018

New gravity and magnetic compilations and elevation-bathymetry models have been compiled for the Lake Superior region. These data provide continuous sets of observations for geologic interpretations spanning political boundaries such as US States and the US-Canada border where bedrock geology is largely concealed beneath glacial deposits and surface water. These data are providing constraints for

USGS
November 1, 2017

The Bemidji crude oil spill site is a long-term USGS study site to understand the fate of crude oil in the shallow subsurface. A description of the site can be found at https://mn.water.usgs.gov/projects/bemidji. In 2014 concentrations of non-volatile dissolved organic carbon (NVDOC) were three times higher than diesel range organics (DRO) in the contaminant plume*. This is important because most

Application screenshot thumbnail
September 1, 2017

The National Water Information System (NWIS) web application provides access to real-time and historical surface-water, groundwater, water-quality, and water-use data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites across all 50 states.

Structure datasets for the nation from The National Map
April 20, 2016

USGS data portray selected structures data, including the location and characteristics of manmade facilities. Characteristics consist of a structure's physical form (footprint), function, name, location, and detailed information about the structure. The types of structures collected are largely determined by the needs of the disaster planning and response and homeland security organizations.

Boundaries datasets for the nation from The National Map.
April 19, 2016

Boundaries data or governmental units represent major civil areas including states, counties, Federal, and Native American lands, and incorporated places such as cities and towns.

Illustration related to the the river corridor
April 19, 2016

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are used to portray surface water on The National Map.

3D Lidar Point Cloud Image of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge
April 19, 2016

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and Fall.

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

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Application to explore US Oil and Gas Assessments
March 19, 2019

This map shows the provinces assessed by the USGS for undiscovered oil and gas resources. 

Screenshot of the FishVis mapper
November 19, 2016

The FishVis Mapper is the product of an Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC project, “A Regional Decision Support Tool for Identifying Vulnerabilities of Riverine Habitat and Fishes to Climate Change” that developed an approach for predicting fish species occurrence under current climate conditions and project how fish species occurrence may change under future climate conditions.

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Screen capture of the Red-Assiniboine SPARROW online mapper.
April 10, 2016

This mapper displays SPARROW nutrient load and yield data and the importance of various nutrient sources for the RARB, given nutrient inputs similar to 2002. Rankings can be shown by country, state/province, HUC4, HUC8, and catchment. Nutrient data can be explored using maps and interactive graphs and tables. Modeling results can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet or a geospatial dataset.

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Year Published: 2018

Transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Cedar River Basin, Iowa and Minnesota, 2000–15

Nitrate concentrations in the Cedar River in Iowa and Minnesota have increased from an average of less than 1.0 milligram per liter in the early 1900s to more than 5.0 milligrams per liter in the 2000s and have resulted in periodic water-quality impairment of the river. Spatial differences and temporal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus transport...

Kalkhoff, Stephen J.
Kalkhoff, S.J., 2018, Transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Cedar River Basin, Iowa and Minnesota, 2000–15: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5090, 44 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185090.

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Year Published: 2017

Constraining the thermal history of the North American Midcontinent Rift System using carbonate clumped isotopes and organic thermal maturity indices

The Midcontinent Rift System (MRS) is a Late Mesoproterozoic (∼1.1 Ga) sequence of volcanic and sedimentary rocks exposed in the Lake Superior Region of North America. The MRS continues to be the focus of much research due to its economic mineral deposits as well as its archive of Precambrian life and tectonic processes. In order to constrain...

Gallagher, Timothy M.; Sheldon, Nathan D.; Mauk, Jeffrey L.; Petersen, Sierra V.; Gueneli, Nur; Brocks, Jochen J.
Gallagher, T.M., Sheldon, N.D., Mauk, J.L., Petersen, S.V., Gueneli, N., and Brocks, J.J., 2016, Constraining the thermal history of the North American Midcontinent Rift System using carbonate clumped isotopes and organic thermal maturity indices: Precambrian Research, v. 294, p. 53-66.

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Year Published: 2017

Mercury and water level fluctuations in lakes of northern Minnesota

Large lake ecosystems support a variety of ecosystem services in surrounding communities, including recreational and commercial fishing. However, many northern temperate fisheries are contaminated by mercury. Annual variation in mercury accumulation in fish has previously been linked to water level (WL) fluctuations, opening the possibility of...

Larson, James H.; Maki, Ryan P.; Christensen, Victoria G.; Sandheinrich, Mark B.; LeDuc, Jaime F.; Kissane, Claire; Knights, Brent C.
Larson, J.H., Maki, R.P., Christensen, V.G., Sandheinrich, M.B., LeDuc, J.F., Kissane, C., Knights, B.C. 2017. Mercury and water level fluctuations in lakes of northern Minnesota. bioRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/118638.

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Year Published: 2016

Geomorphic responses of Duluth-area streams to the June 2012 flood, Minnesota

In 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, completed a geomorphic assessment of 51 Duluth-area stream sites in 20 basins to describe and document the stream geomorphic changes associated with the June 2012 flood. Heavy rainfall caused flood peaks with annual exceedance probabilities of less...

Fitzpatrick, Faith A.; Ellison, Christopher A.; Czuba, Christiana R.; Young, Benjamin M.; McCool, Molly M.; Groten, Joel T.
Fitzpatrick, F.A., Ellison, C.A., Czuba, C.R., Young, B.M., and McCool, M.M., 2016, Geomorphic responses of Duluth-area streams to the June 2012 flood, Minnesota: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5104, 53 p. with appendixes, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165104.

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Year Published: 2016

Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974

The Defense Minerals Administration (DMA), Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA), and Office of Minerals Exploration (OME) mineral exploration programs were active over the period 1950–1974. Under these programs, the Federal Government contributed financial assistance in the exploration for certain strategic and critical minerals. The...

Frank, David G.
Frank, D.G., 2016, Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1004, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1004.

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Year Published: 2015

A random-walk algorithm for modeling lithospheric density and the role of body forces in the evolution of the Midcontinent Rift

This paper develops a Monte Carlo algorithm for extracting three-dimensional lithospheric density models from geophysical data. Empirical scaling relationships between velocity and density create a 3D starting density model, which is then iteratively refined until it reproduces observed gravity and topography. This approach permits deviations from...

Levandowski, William Brower; Boyd, Oliver S.; Briggs, Richard W.; Gold, Ryan D.
Levandowski, W., Boyd, O., Briggs, R. and Gold, R. (2015), A random-walk algorithm for modeling lithospheric density and the role of body forces in the evolution of the Midcontinent Rift. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/2015GC005961

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Year Published: 2014

Isolation and molecular characterization of a novel picornavirus from baitfish in the USA

During both regulatory and routine surveillance sampling of baitfish from the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin, USA, isolates (n = 20) of a previously unknown picornavirus were obtained from kidney/spleen or entire viscera of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) and brassy minnows (Hybognathus hankinsoni). Following the...

Phelps, Nicholas B.D.; Mor, Sunil K.; Armien, Anibal G.; Batts, William N.; Goodwin, Andrew E.; Hopper, Lacey; McCann, Rebekah; Ng, Terry Fei Fan; Puzach, Corey; Waltzek, Thomas B.; Delwart, Eric; Winton, James; Goyal, Sagar M.

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Year Published: 2013

Comparing catch orientation among Minnesota walleye, northern pike, and bass anglers

We compared the catch orientations of Minnesota walleye (Sander vitreus), northern pike (Esox lucius), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) anglers. Results were derived from 2009, 2010, and 2012 surveys of anglers targeting these different species. Consistent with previous research, we identified...

Schroeder, Susan A.; Fulton, David C.
Comparing catch orientation among Minnesota walleye, northern pike, and bass anglers; 2013; Article; Journal; Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An International Journal; Schroeder, Susan A,; Fulton, David C.

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Year Published: 2012

Spot-mapping underestimates song-territory size and use of mature forest by breeding golden-winged warblers in Minnesota, USA

Studies of songbird breeding habitat often compare habitat characteristics of used and unused areas. Although there is usually meticulous effort to precisely and consistently measure habitat characteristics, accuracy of methods for estimating which areas are used versus which are unused by birds remains generally untested. To examine accuracy of...

Streby, Henry M.; Loegering, John P.; Andersen, David E.

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Year Published: 2011

Use of early-successional managed northern forest by mature-forest species during the post-fledging period

In eastern North America, after the young fledge, both adult and juvenile mature-forest birds may use regenerating clearcuts, although which species frequent early-successional forest and during which life stages is not well documented. To assess whether birds nesting in mature forest in north-central Minnesota use regenerating clearcuts 2...

Streby, Henry M.; Peterson, Sean M.; McAllister, Tara L.; Andersen, David E.

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Year Published: 2011

Northern goshawk monitoring in the western Great Lakes bioregion

Uncertainties about factors affecting Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) ecology and the status of populations have added to the challenge of managing this species. To address data needs for determining the status of goshawk populations, Hargis and Woodbridge (2006) developed a bioregional monitoring protocol based on estimating occupancy. The...

Bruggeman, Jason E.; Andersen, David E.; Woodford, James E.
Northern goshawk monitoring in the western great lakes bioregion; 2011; Article; Journal; Journal of Raptor Research; Bruggeman, J. E.; Andersen, D. E.; Woodford, J. E.

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Year Published: 2010

Estimated Withdrawals and Other Elements of Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States in 2005

Estimates of water withdrawals in the United States part of the Great Lakes Basin and 107 of its watersheds designated by the 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUCs) indicate that about 30.3 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d) were withdrawn for practically all categories of use in 2005. Virtually all water withdrawn was freshwater. Surface-water...

Mills, P.C.; Sharpe, Jennifer B.
Estimated Withdrawals and Other Elements of Water Use in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States in 2005; 2010; SIR; 2010-5031; Mills, Patrick C.; Sharpe, Jennifer B.

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Streamgage mounted to bridge, view facing downstream river at dusk
December 31, 2019

Durand streamgage mounted to bridge

Durand streamgage mounted to bridge - looking downstream.

Scientists in boat in river
December 31, 2019

View from Durand bridge of boat crew conducting multibeam surveys

View from Durand bridge of boat crew conducting multibeam surveys

Hydrologic Technician using crane to collect a bedload sample from the bridge
December 31, 2019

Hydro-tech using crane to collect a bedload sample from bridge

Hydrologic Technician using crane to collect a bedload sample from the bridge.

Illustration of subsurface-drained agricultural field
December 31, 2019

Illustration of subsurface-drained agricultural field

A hypothetical configuration of one of the two drained field sites, including a weather station for measuring climate data, a piezometer network for continuous water level measurements, soil moisture probes, and subsurface drainage flow. The third undrained field site will have a similar configuration, with the absence of subsurface drainage flow.

April 16, 2019

Variable Warming Upper Midwest Lakes and Implications for Sport Fish

Climate change is predicted to alter sport fish communities in Midwestern lakes, but managers currently have limited information on individual lakes that can be used to set local expectations or intervene with mitigation strategies. Northeast and North Central CASC supported researchers, with strong participation from the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, have combined

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USGS technician makes a measurement from a gage mounted on a bridge or overpass in snowy weather
April 2, 2019

Spring 2019 Flooding - Wild Rice River in Minnesota

WWG Reading on the Wild Rice River in Minnesota during record Midwest flooding in spring 2019.

Aerial view of multibeam survey of Chippewa Dunes
December 31, 2018

Chippewa Dunes Multibeam Survey - downstream of Durand bridge

Chippewa Dunes Multibeam Survey downstream of Durand bridge.

Image from an application that navigates users through USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces
November 14, 2018

National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces

This is a graphic from the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Explorer application, which allows user to drill into 70 oil and gas assessment provinces throughout the United States.

Two single-frequency ADVMs mounted to Durand bridge
October 9, 2018

Two single-frequency ADVMs mounted to Durand bridge

Two single-frequency ADVMs mounted to Durand bridge.

June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

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June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle (Audio-Described)

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

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View of bedload sample
April 25, 2018

Bedload sample collected from the Durand bridge

Bedload sample collected from the Durand bridge.

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Drinking water from tap
December 20, 2018

Minnesota well drillers and landowners will now have new tools to help predict arsenic concentrations in drinking water when building domestic water wells, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study.

USGS' Brian Selck samples a private well in Lycoming County, PA
February 8, 2018

The reliability of arsenic testing for drinking water in Minnesota depends on how and when well water samples are collected, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Health study, which highlights ways to improve the accuracy of arsenic tests for private wells.

Image shows a screenshot of the Mid-Continent Rift Story Map
January 25, 2018

The first great geologic expeditions of the United States set off in the mid-1800s, equipped with mules, rifles, and early scientific instruments. Their goal: to uncover the great mineral wealth of the United States and learn about its earliest geologic history.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
December 7, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Exterior of a municipal water pumping station
December 6, 2017

Oxygen levels, dissolved minerals among factors responsible for high concentrations of radium in untreated water from aquifer that underlies six states

White Bear Lake thumbnail
September 6, 2017

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Image shows a geologic map of the Lower 48
August 21, 2017

A carbonatite here, a glacial moraine there, a zig-zagging fault or two, even a behemoth of a batholith. The geology of the 50 States is an enormous patchwork of varied forms, beautiful in their variance but challenging to present as a single map.

Image shows a map of U.S. states colored based on the value of their mineral industry
April 14, 2017

In 2016, these five states led the pack in mineral production, accounting for about one third of the total mineral production value for the entire country.

River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
March 2, 2017

Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.

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