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The division of geology is organized in nine sections, as follows: 1. Section of eastern areal geology (east of the one-hundredth meridian). 2. Section of western areal geology (west of the one-hundredth meridian), includ
ing the subsection of investigations in petrology. 3. Section of Coastal Plain investigations. 4. Section of glacial geology. 5. Section of paleontology and stratigraphy. 6. Section of metalliferous deposits. 7. Section of nonmetalliferous deposits. 8. Section of eastern mineral fuels (east of the one-hundredth meridian). 9. Section of western mineral fuels (west of the one-hundredth meridian).
The section of geologic-map editing, although a part of the publication branch, comes under the general supervision of the chief geologist.
The total funds available for the geologic work of the Survey in the United States for the year 1914–15 were as follows: Geologic surveys..
429,850 The allotments of the appropriations were as follows: Section of eastern areal geology.
$24, 700 Section of western areal geology.
47,700 Section of Coastal Plain investigations..
12,400 Section of glacial geology...
7,175 Section of paleontology and stratigraphy..
23,500 Section of metalliferous deposits......
47,855 Section of nonmetalliferous deposits (including potash).
38,750 Section of eastern fuels...
31, 800 Section of western fuels..
31, 500 Of the amounts allotted to this division, approximately $309,900 was expended directly for geologic work, including the search for potash. Of this amount, about $208,540, or 67.3 per cent, was expended west of the one-hundredth meridian and $101,375, or 32.7 per cent, east of the one-hundredth meridian. If, however, the $31,500 for the operations of the land-classification board is included, 70.3 per cent of a total approximating $341,415 was spent for investigations west of the one-hundredth meridian—that is, essentially in the public-land States. The allotment for supervision, etc., is
divisible in very nearly the same proportions between the eastern and western work.
COOPERATION WITH FEDERAL BUREAUS AND STATE SURVEYS.
In strictly geologic field investigations or paleontologic studies the Survey cooperated through the division of geology with 17 StatesGeorgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Informal cooperation, without specific financial obligations, exists between most of the other States having geological surveys.
The Survey cooperates with the Bureau of Mines in the metallographic study of ores, in the investigation of the invasion of California oil wells by salt water, in studies of the application of geology to engineering problems of mining and construction, and in the examination of placers and placer mining in the United States. The Survey is also engaged with the Bureau of Standards, the Bureau of Mines, and the Office of Public Roads in a thorough and systematic study of the building stones of the United States. Through the division of geology it also cooperated informally with the Smithsonian Institution, the Bureau of Fisheries, the Forest Service, the Navy Department, the War Department, and the Lighthouse Service, as well as with a number of institutions of learning, including, in particular, the Geophysical Laboratory and Marine Biological Station of the Carnegie Institution. Services varying in extent have, during the year, been rendered to the Department of Agriculture in the examination of lands in the national forests; to the Department of Justice in connection with its suits regarding public lands; to the Navy Department in regard to oil and water supplies; to the Office of Indian Affairs in the classification of Indian lands in Arizona, Washington, New Mexico, and Oklahoma; to the War Department with reference to water supplies in its reservations; and, most important of all, to the General Land Office in the classification of withdrawn coal, oil, and phosphate lands.
The geologic work of the division, both in the field and in the office, is under the immediate supervision of the chiefs of the respective sections, who are directly responsible for maintaining efficiency and a high standard of work. Exceptions are made of the studies of detrital deposition in California, completed by G. K. Gilbert under the joint auspices of the geologic and water-resources branches, the general descriptions by Mr. Gilbert of the structure in the Great Basin region, and the general monographic description of the geology of the Yellowstone National Park, in preparation by Arnold Hague. The work of these distinguished senior geologists of the Survey is reported directly to the chief geologist.
GENERAL FEATURES OF THE WORK OF THE YEAR.
The more important scientific and economic investigations in progress in the division of geology were briefly described in the report for last year, pages 34-36, 71-74; this year reference will be made only to those features of the work that may be either new or noteworthy as to progress, as to changed conditions, or as to policy.
The most important item affecting the work of the geologic branch during the year was the increase in the appropriation for geologic surveys from $300,000 to $400,000. This was a net addition of but $65,000 to the funds of the branch, however, for $35,000 of the new appropriation was required merely to replace the amount which, for several years, had been contributed by the General Land Office to the cost of the Survey work in the classification of the public lands. The net gain in available funds has been used to enlarge the operations of all sections; but the largest proportion, in accordance with the understood spirit of Congress in voting this increase, has been devoted to the classification and valuation of lands in the public domain.
In the search for potash no clue has been neglected. In accordance with plans made the previous year, a deep well was drilled in the season of 1914 near the center of the Black Rock Desert, in western Humboldt County, Nev. Because of the late date (August 1) on which the appropriation bill was passed, the beginning of work was much delayed. However, when once started, the drilling was remarkably free from delay or mishap and on November 16 was completed to a depth of 1,500 feet. The cost of the work as carried out by the Survey with its own equipment was far less than the amount named in the lowest of the bids received for it, all of which were rejected. No bed of potash or other salts, in massive form, was encountered in this well. Nevertheless, the test is not considered conclusive as to the hypothesis that buried saline deposits remain in some of these basins as the result of the drying up of the lakes of Nevada, eastern California, and southern Oregon in Quaternary time. The field to be explored is large, and both the funds and the facilities for exploration have limited the trials to a few localities. The hypothesis on which this exploration, which is in charge of H. S. Gale, has been based deserves further test in the hope that potash-rich salt muds or brines, similar to or more concentrated than those found at Searles Lake, Cal., may be found in other places. In connection with this drilling a study of the sediments composing the beds penetrated by the drill, by the use of the microscope and soil analyses, was begun by M. I. Goldman in order to procure information as to the climatic and other conditions prevailing at different times during the long period in which the lake basin was being filled and converted into a desert. All drill samples containing salts in appreciable quantities were subjected to chemical tests.