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Earth History Subject Guide
|Reference Materials||Books||Internet Sources||Maps||Articles|
Finding resources for your
hometown's geologic history project
For subject assistance, please Ask a Librarian
Here are some resources for looking up definitions for terms that may come up in the resources that you find:
Good online source for locating basic information about earth sciences terms and topics.
Guide to Minerals, Rocks & Fossils (online through Credo Reference)
Divisions of Geologic Time (online from the USGS)
You can try starting off by doing a search for your specific region in our catalog, but you may get few results back.
Keep in mind that books on the geology of the broader region around your state (such as the "Mid-Atlantic") may have a chapter or section on your topic but often you will need to physically locate the book and search through its index to determine if it discusses your specific region. You might even want to start by doing a very broad search for Geology--United States.
Items with "Pennsylvania Documents" listed as their location are located by the Government Documents section on the upper level of the library.
Roadside Geology series & Geology Underfoot series
To check to see if a guide to your state has been published, search our catalog.
The Centennial Field Guide, published by the Geological Society of America, is a six volume series that covers the geology of the United States by region. This is located in the Oversized section of the library.
The Geological Society of America also publishes a number of other series that might have useful content for your papers. Do a keyword search in our catalog for Geological Society of America and the name of your state/region to look for this content.
If your region includes a national park of interest to you then you may want to check out one of these titles:
|Not finding anything in our catalog?|
If you are not finding relevant materials in our collection, here are two places you can try looking:
WorldCat: This is one of the databases that we subscribe to and it includes records from over 71,000 libraries around the world.
If you find something useful here that we do not have, then try to borrow it from another library.
Google Books: This is the result of a project in which Google scanned materials from major research libraries around the country, and also colloborated with publishers to provide access to their content.
For much of the content you will only be able to see a small preview of the text, but you can search across the full text to see if there is a chapter or a section that focuses on your topic.
This is pretty hit or miss but can be worth checking.
Association of American State Geologists (AASG) have put together a clickable map that allows you to locate the website hosting the geological survey of your state.
Most of these state websites will have links to "Educational Resources" or "Publications" which could be worth exploring further. Some of the educational resources may be aimed at K-12 but others will be appropriate for the educated layperson.
The University of Texas at Austin maintains a good website of virtual field trip guides around the US. Its coverage of the Mid-Atlantic region is unforunately not as strong as its coverage of other regions.
USGS maintains a website called Science in Your Backyard which provides updated regional information on a variety of topics. Depending on your topic, this site may be useful to you.
The United States Department of Agriculture has created a list of publications that pertain to state soils.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's website is a great place to find energy maps, facts and data for each state in the nation.
If you are looking for maps of your state then start here
If you are looking for a map of a particular place then start here
If you want to specificy what type of features you want highlighted on the map then you will want to use the comprehensive search option
If you need maps that show the topography of a region then this is a useful place to get started.
We have some geologic maps in the main library and others are located in Kaufman. To find maps in the map library, search in the catalog for your state and "geologic map".
Click here for general information about the Map Library in Kaufman
For a guide to where items are located in this Map Library, including where the geologic maps are stored, click here
Finding articles on geology topics that are understandable for someone without a background in this area can be quite difficult. Most databases focus on the primary research literature, which is very focused and often highly technical.
However, bearing that in mind, you may still find some material in these databases that will be helpfult:
GeoRef: The most comprehensive of the earth sciences databases.
Tip: After you perform your initial search, you may want to refine your results (available on the left hand side) to "Exclude Abstracts Only". This will remove results that are abstracts from conferences and have no associated full text.
GeoBase: Another good database for the earth sciences.
Here are some journals in our collection that you might find useful: