Frequently Asked Questions
Most visitor questions can be answered by visiting one of the links below.Our small staff is unable to provide consultations by phone or email.
Conditions of Use
|Maps, Photos, and Images|
Photographs, images, graphs, and art
|Students, Homework, and Reports|
Information for reports
|Jobs and Careers|
|Rock and Mineral Identification|
Rock, mineral, gem, fossil identification
Charity, fundraisers, door prizes
Consultations and Interviews
Ask a Geologist
Submit an article
Use of articles
Will You Sell My Book?
Book Reviews and Promotions
Is for sale?
Can you send information for my report?
All of the information that we have that is ready for public viewing is on our website. Most of it is covered byReturn to FAQs
Can you help with college selection?
A good place to start is to talk with a person who knows you well and who is familiar with college education. Your high school Earth Science teacher might be a great person to ask or the guidance counselor at your school. Perhaps your parents or someone else in your family attended college and can discuss college choices with you. Try to get advice from several people. You are making an important decision, and diverse input can be valuable.
Visiting geology departments is an essential part of selecting a school. An easy way to begin is to visit some geology department websites. There you can learn about school programs, courses, faculty, facilities, and student activities. A geology department with faculty who are excited about what they are doing should make a good presentation on the web.
After you have done some basic research, you can then get in touch with one or more geology professors at each of the schools that you might like to attend and arrange a visit to their department. You can contact them by email or by phone, introduce yourself, let them know that you are interested in geology and ask any questions that you might have. (Don't be afraid to email or call a faculty member. While I was a professor, I received many email messages and phone calls from prospective students. They were usually the types of students that any professor would like to teach. There is no need to be shy about contacting them. Recruitment is part of every college professor's job.)
Good professors in a quality department will want to meet with you, show you around their department, and (if school policy allows) invite you to sit in on a class or a lab. During your visit you should spend time talking with the professor about courses and programs. Try also to talk with a few students and ask them what type of experience they are having at the school. Let the professor know that you hope to do these things when you arrange the visit.
The energy and enthusiasm of the professors and students in the department where you study are more important than the name of the school or how much it might cost. You will get the best education at a school where the professors are vigorous, enthusiastic about their work, and willing to spend time contributing to the educational experience of their students. They should gladly explain what you will study, share stories about what their students are learning, describe course activities and field work, and tell you what types of careers their graduates enjoy. The students at a good school can tell you about interesting projects, challenging courses, and about professors who take them into the field.
A good geology department should have nice classrooms and laboratories where students have access to equipment, tools, specimens, computers, microscopes, and other learning materials. Departments in good financial health will have money for these, and professors can obtain them through educational grants. Departments in good financial health will be able to support student field trips that are essential parts of most upper-level courses. An ideal school will have an enthusiastic faculty and a department that is well supported.
Finally, if you have a very strong interest in a specific area of geology such as mineralogy, paleontology, or hydrology, that can be useful in selecting a school. Attending a school where one or more enthusiastic faculty members share your interest and teach those courses can provide a rich educational experience. There you will be able to learn from someone who loves that subject and will have great interest in sharing it with you on field trips, in labs, and during research projects.
So, go prepared to ask questions that will reveal all of these things. Then after you visit several schools you will have good information for making a decision.Return to FAQs
I am looking for a job, can you help?
is not hiring or accepting applications. We do not provide employment assistance. For general job information, here are a few places to consult…
AGI's Geoscience Workforce page
Occupational Outlook Handbook - "Geoscientists"
Return to FAQs
Can you identify this rock, mineral, gem, or fossil?
We are sorry, but our small staff is unable to assist with the identification of rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, meteorites or other materials.
The best way to get a reliable identification is to take the specimen to a qualified person who can handle the specimen and examine it properly. The most qualified people are usually those who live or work near the area where you found the specimen. They usually know the local rocks, minerals, gems, and fossils better than anyone. Here are some good places to try: A) a geological survey; B) a university geology professor; C) a rock shop; or D) a rock club. Many of these people provide these consultations for free as a part of their job or hobby. Get in touch with them in advance, before you decide to visit, to avoid a wasted trip.
Information on can be helpful for rock, mineral, and gem identification. If you think you have found a meteorite and are trying to identify it yourself, you can find more information here. If you think you have a valuable gem or gem material and are willing to pay a professional laboratory to identify it for you, that service can be found here.
Can I get a link on ?
We do not sell or trade links. For information on advertising, please visit our advertising page.Return to FAQs
Where can I get a geologic map?
Most geologic maps that are available to the public have been published by government agencies, such as a geological survey. They usually sell printed copies of their maps and sometimes have digital versions that can be viewed or printed. We have a list of all of the geological survey websites that we know about. Please check their website for purchase or download information.
The United States Geological Survey has published thousands of geologic maps. They have a database of geologic maps on their website, and some of the maps listed in the database can be viewed online. Also, Andrew Alden has a nice collection of state geologic maps in digital format at ThoughtCo.com.Return to FAQs
Can I use one of your maps?
Most of the maps on our website are subject to
If you are interested in licensing similar maps, please visit the Map Resources website. There you can license vector graphics like the ones that we used to create our maps, or you can hire the folks at Map Resources to compose a custom map to suit your needs. We recommend them with confidence. does not produce maps for hire or provide courtesy maps for any type of use beyond our website.
A small number of maps on are owned by others. All of these maps are attributed to the owner in the caption below the map or as an annotation on the map. If you are interested in a map attributed to another organization or person, please communicate directly with them. We are unable to communicate with these owners for you or serve as a clearinghouse for permissions.
There are many sources of public domain maps on the internet. If you are looking for world country maps, there are nice ones in the public domain on the CIA World Factbook. If you are looking for general reference maps of the United States, the United States Census Bureau and The National Map both have nice state and national maps that can freely be used by anyone.Return to FAQs
Can I use one of your photographs, images, or other graphics?
has never been and is not a source of free images. We do not license or grant permission for use of the photographs or other images that appear on our website. Nearly all of these images are strictly governed by
Instead of writing to us, please visit iStockphoto, Shutterstock, the USGS image repository, NASA Multimedia, or Wikimedia Commons for a large selection of nice images that you might be able to license or use under their terms and conditions. Many of the images on our website were obtained at these sources.
When we have used a photograph or art graphic owned by a company, organization, or individual, at larger than thumbnail size (180 pixels wide), we have attributed that image to the owner or the licensor of that image in the caption below the image. We are unable to grant permission for use of these images because we have paid the owners for a license or entered into another agreement for their use. Please contact the owner directly; we cannot provide information about them.
A small number of images on are in the public domain because they were produced by U.S. Government employees as part of their work, or the owner released them for public domain use. When these images appear on our website at greater than thumbnail size (180 pixels wide), we have attributed them to their owner in the caption beneath the image. Please contact the owner directly if you need information about a public domain image.Return to FAQs
Are you interested in selling ?
We enjoy running the website and are probably working on it as you read these words. It is more to us than a virtual property. It is our occupation and our way to share the science that we love with thousands of people each day.
However, if you are willing to pay a price that will fund our retirements, feel free to get in touch.Return to FAQs
Charity, fundraisers, door prizes, etc.?
We receive assistance requests from all over the world. It is impossible to help with all of them. One hundred percent of our charitable support goes to projects sponsored by DonorsChoose.org. We look there about once each month for possible projects to support. If you are a teacher looking for earth science teaching materials, consider submitting a project to DonorsChoose.org. You can see a list of the projects that we have supported here. We do not provide direct support to individuals, schools, or organizations.Return to FAQs
Do you publish articles written by others?
Rarely. We do not publish guest blog posts, infographics, press releases, syndicated articles, property reports, discovery announcements, or content that appears on other websites. Before you contact us or begin writing, we ask that you carefully read our instructions for submitting an article. It explains what we do not publish, what we do publish, and the requirements for publication.
If you submit an article, we will review it and reply with a simple answer: "We are unable to use your article at this time" or, "We would like to discuss the article with you in more detail." We are unable to provide detailed explanations of why articles were not accepted.
If we decide to publish your article, we will prepare it for the web at our expense, promote it on the website, and pay all bandwidth expenses. We do not pay for unsolicited articles. We hope that you find the same reward in writing that we do - which is the opportunity to share your words and expertise with thousands of interested readers from around the world.
Can I republish your articles on my website, in a book, in a newsletter, etc.?
Because of license andReturn to FAQs
Do you offer consultations or interviews?
If you need a consulting geologist, check the professional listings in your telephone directory or the professional licensing board of your state. We do not recommend geologists for consultations.
If you want to interview someone about a geological issue, we suggest contacting the geological survey that has expertise in your state or country.Return to FAQs
Ask A Geologist!
The United States Geological Survey has a fantastic service called the Ask a Geologist Program. They also host the very useful USGS FAQ.Return to FAQs
Can you answer a question about geology?
Please use the guide below to contact an appropriate person. Most of these link to organizations that have expertise on specific topics or geographic areas. has a very small staff that receives hundreds of messages each week. Giving personal replies to that volume of messages is impossible. We offer the links below to help you obtain the information that you need from a qualified source.
- For questions about the geology of your local area, a state, a country, or a specific region, please contact the local geological survey.
- For questions about specific geology topics, try USGS Ask a Geologist or USGS FAQ.
- If you have a question about geologic hazards at a specific site or about mineral properties - you need a consulting geologist who can do an on-site investigation. Check your yellow pages or the website of your state government licensing board. We do not provide recommendations for consulting geologists. If you have a general question about geologic hazards or mineral resources, we suggest contacting your local geological survey.
- If you have a question about mineral rights, leasing, or royalties - you need an attorney who can advise on how the laws of your state apply to your situation. Consult your yellow pages or your local bar association.
- If your question is specific to , we can be reached at . Please know that we do not provide private consultations. All of the information that we have that is available for public viewing is posted on our website. Our small staff is in the business of publishing a website that serves thousands of people per day. To do that job properly, we must decline all requests for private consultations - even if you offer to pay us.