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Louisiana Geological Survey to Continue Surface Geologic Mapping of State

The Louisiana Geological Survey (LGS) has received a grant for $141,983 in funding from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for surface geologic mapping in Louisiana for fiscal year 2010 as part of the STATEMAP component of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. Originally begun in the early 1990s, STATEMAP projects are conducted in annual cooperative agreements with the USGS.

Through STATEMAP, the LGS plans to map the surface geology of the entire state at a scale of 1:100,000, which allows for abundant detail while covering relatively large areas. A current STATEMAP project involves mapping the surface geology of a substantial portion of the Mississippi River delta plain in southeastern Louisiana, an area that experienced some of the most significant land loss in the Louisiana Coastal Zone as a direct result of the last four hurricane strikes. Such detailed geologic maps aid in planning for hurricane protection because they depict aspects of landforms, such as their relative elevations, composition, and texture, which correlate with engineering properties.

Past STATEMAP-supported mapping projects have led to the discovery of previously unknown features of substantial geologic importance as well as refinements of previous mapping. The most noteworthy discovery is an anomalous structure in the northern Florida parishes now understood to be Louisiana’s only known impact crater.

Surface geology compilations, upon delivery to the USGS at the end of each STATEMAP project, are open-filed at LGS where copies may be purchased. Links to 1:100,000- and 1:24,000-scale open-file maps from the main publications catalog may be found at the LGS website www.lgs.lsu.edu. These preliminary drafts are available for reference by members of the public, and to aid in applied research by consultants and other investigators in geotechnical, geoarchaeological, and other earth-science subdisciplines. Each year the LGS selects one or more 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangles, compiled in house or with STATEMAP support, for cartographic production to be printed as a lithograph.

Investigators for this mapping project are Louisiana Geological Survey research associates Rick McCulloh, Paul Heinrich, John Snead, Marty Horn, and Hampton Peele.