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John Steinmetz
Director, Indiana Geological Survey

Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2012

Indiana Geological Survey celebrates 175th anniversary

Feb. 3, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana Geological Survey is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its founding this year. Now a research institute of Indiana University, the survey was formed to conduct the first geological study of the state.

"We are particularly excited to celebrate this unusual milestone in our history, inasmuch as few public institutions last for so long," said John Steinmetz, Indiana state geologist and director of the survey. "Despite its 'age,' the Indiana Geological Survey still is busy, vibrant and thriving in its service to Indiana's citizens and businesses."

David Dale Owen

David Dale Owen

Print-Quality Photo

In 1836, Indiana's fifth governor, Noah Nobel, told state legislators that "without the aid and application of geological science," Indiana's mineral deposits would not be adequately developed. On Feb. 6, 1837, the Indiana legislature passed a law authorizing a state geological survey and appointed David Dale Owen as the first state geologist. Owen, the son of New Harmony colony founder Robert Owen, was a novice geologist but became one of the leading geologists in the nation.

The Indiana Geological Survey has expanded its original mission, and today it conducts applied earth science research on Indiana's geologic resources, including coal and industrial minerals and groundwater, and about topics such as seismic hazards and geothermal resources.

"As a research scientist at the survey, I feel honored to be a part of a long legacy of excellent field and laboratory geologists," said Todd Thompson, assistant director for research with the survey. "David Dale Owen set the standard that the Indiana Geological Survey and other state surveys continue to follow -- focused applied research for the citizens of state."

Located in the Geology Building on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, the Indiana Geological Survey pursues a mission of providing geologic information and counsel that contribute to the wise stewardship of the energy, mineral and water resources of the state.

Since 1837, the health, safety and welfare of Indiana's citizenry have benefited through the survey's activities, including focused reach initiatives and cooperative investigations with local, state and federal governmental agencies, businesses and industries, and educational organizations; geologic sample and data collection and archiving; and dissemination of information in many forms, including published maps, reports, databases and educational outreach programs.

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