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USGS Geology in the Parks


Geology of National Parks: National Park Service Support Project


Geologic Maps of of the Parks in the National Capital Region

In cooperation with NPS Resource Management and Inventory and Monitoring Programs, USGS scientists are collecting field data of rocks and regolith in National Capital Regional Parks. These data are also being used for scientific and interpretive programs, and we are training park staff in the applications of the new geologic map database for specific Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring and Cultural Interpretation Programs.

Image of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, part of the National Capital Parks.
Image of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, part of the National Capital Parks.

Digital geologic maps and databases are being produced for the following:

  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Great Falls Park
  • Wolf Trap Farm Park
  • Monocacy National Battlefield
  • Antietam National Battlefield Park
  • Rock Creek Park
  • National Capital Parks-Central and Eastern
  • Prince William Forest Park, of the National Capital Region.

Maps characterizing land surface elevation changes in Washington D.C. from 1888 to the present have been proposed. This analysis will incorporate datasets of topographic contours for different years and hydrographic information to determine and characterize areas of elevation change. The cumulative effect of "cut-and-fill" activities throughout a city's lifecycle has drastically modified the topographic land surface elevations. The capability to map historical changes in land surface elevation addresses many questions related to landscape change analysis in urban environments. USGS scientists have used preliminary topographic change maps to depict artificial fill within surficial deposits and landforms to enhance the understanding of the impact of urbanization on the cultural and natural resources within the parks.

Image of the Virginia side of the Potomac River
Image of the Virginia side of the Potomac River, an important resource within the National Capital Region, being a major feeder into the Chesapeake Bay. Image taken from USGS site.
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