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Geologic Resources Division

"The Geologic Resources Division, in partnership with parks, regions, networks, and others, works to preserve, protect, enhance, and understand geologic features and processes and integrate this knowledge into resource stewardship within the National Park System."
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National Park Geologic Resources

Many parks were established to protect significant geological features, landforms, and viewsheds that frame the natural and cultural heritage of our nation.

Park geological features include the world–renowned sculptured depths of Grand Canyon, the ancient fossils of Dinosaur National Monument, the longest recorded cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave National Park, the greatest density of arches in the world in Arches National Park, the world's largest and most colorful collections of petrified wood at Petrified Forest National Park, and over half of the known geysers in the world in Yellowstone National Park.

Scientifically important fossil deposits are found in 243 parks, 81 parks contain 4,900 known caves, and another 40 parks have known karst systems. Ninety–seven parks protect 7,500 miles of shoreline, 52 parks contain geothermal systems, 38 parks have volcanoes as a major feature, and 37 have active glacial features. Park museum collections have more than 35,000 geological specimens and nearly 475,000 paleontological specimens.

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Minerals & Energy


A variety of rights to explore and extract minerals exist in and near park units. Management of mineral and energy development to prevent or mitigate adverse effects on park resources and values presents complex challenges to the NPS. Learn more...

Geologic Heritage


Over time, as Congress added to the National Park System, the variety and diversity of geologic features in parks has come to represent America's geologic heritage. Significant geologic features include fossil resources, cave & karst resources, and much more. Learn more...



Learn about opportunities in geologic research, education, and resource management in National Parks. The Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) program works with partners to match geoscience experts with volunteer opportunities. Learn more...

Soil Resources


Managing parks to preserve ecosystems and values depends on sound soil resource management. The Soil Resources Inventory aims to provide resource managers with the necessary tools and information to effectively maintain and enhance the integrity of park soils. Learn more...

Useful Resources

Last Updated: January 28, 2014