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This 2016 Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting trip will explore the Core Research Center, Paleontological Collection, and National Science Foundation National Ice Core Laboratory—three collections of major national significance managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Since its inception in 1879, USGS has collected, preserved, and managed physical collections for scientific investigations of Earth’s systems. The Core Research Center is the largest federal core repository in the United States, where over 74 million meters (242 million feet) of the subsurface are represented by the collection of rock cores and well cuttings, available for use by researchers investigating resource potential, tectonics, structures, aquifers, and more.

The USGS has conducted paleontological research for more than 110 years to inform geological mapping, biostratigraphy, paleoecology, paleoclimate, and other research. Most of these paleontological samples are at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and USGS Denver facilities. The USGS Denver paleontological collection includes ~1.2 million samples. Ancillary materials consisting of handwritten ledgers, index cards, field reports, maps, and other information produced by USGS investigators provide profound knowledge about the specimens and associated geological systems. The USGS is working with NMNH to systematically digitize the collection to preserve and expose samples and data to research.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) is the nation’s repository for preserving, archiving, and sampling meteoric ice cores collected from the world’s ice sheets, ice caps, and glaciers, mostly from Antarctica and Greenland. NICL’s primary mission is to store and curate ice cores, primarily collected during NSF-sponsored projects, for present and future sample investigations.

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