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Update on MBMG's geologic mapping program and new coal research

, : Update on MBMG's geologic mapping program and new coal research. Northwest Geology 27: 47-49

The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG) has been engaged since 1986 in a long-term program to provide up-dated, detailed geologic maps for the State. This program has been conducted cooperatively with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) which administers the STATEMAP program, one part of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP). The NCGMP was established within the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992, which must be reauthorized by Congress every four years. There are three parts to Montana's geologic mapping program--1:100,000-scale maps of 30'X60' quadrangles, larger-scale Special Focus maps (usually at 1:48,000), and a new Geologic Map of Montana at 1:500,000, all in digital format. Although these three efforts have equal importance, 1:100,000-scale quadrangle mapping must precede compilation of the new State map. Additionally, specific mapping and/or GIS work being conducted at any one time reflects the optimum use of available funding and staff. 1:100,000-scale geologic maps. The most immediate objective of MBMG's geologic mapping program is to provide detailed, accurate, and updated digital geologic maps at the 1:100,000 scale. Preparation of these maps involves (1) compilation of the wealth of new geologic data and information available in recent years, and (2) extensive new field mapping of large areas of the State previously either unmapped or in need of more detailed mapping. The 1:100,000-scale maps are released as MBMG Open-File Reports as they are completed. In eastern Montana, east of 108 degrees West Longitude, 80 percent of the mapping is complete. In central Montana, between 112 degrees and 108 degrees West Longitude, mapping commitments are shared with the U.S. Geological Survey, and about half of the mapping is complete. In western Montana, west of 112 degrees West Longitude, about 83 percent of the mapping is complete, including 1:250,000-scale work by the U.S. Geological Survey and 1:100,000-scale work by MBMG. Paper copies of early maps are produced from hand-compiled originals inked on mylar topographic base maps. Beginning in 1996, MBMG's geologic maps are now being prepared digitally, and the older hand-compiled maps are being converted to digital format as time and funding permit. Currently, these digital maps are only available as hard copies produced from the digital geologic layer overlain on a mylar topographic base. Release of maps in digital format will begin as soon as each map is provided with the essential metadata coverage that conveys to the user the history and limits of the digital product. In all cases MBMG's GIS products meet or exceed existing GIS standards of the USGS and of the State of Montana. Special Focus geologic maps. Special Focus maps provide more detailed geologic mapping in a smaller geographic area, and are usually prepared at a scale of 1:48,000 or larger.


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