because of inadequate space or incentive to retain those worth keeping. Estimating the portion at risk is even more challenging than estimating the total volume. However, the committee estimates that half of all data and collections held by industry, and at least 25 percent of collections held by individuals, academia, and government are endangered. This means that millions of items—specimens, boxes of core and cuttings, tapes, fossils, and paper documents—are in peril of
SIDEBAR 2-1 Findings of the American Geological Institute (AGI) in 1997
Large amounts of geoscience data and materials already have been identified and are in need of storage and curation. As part of a multi-phase study, AGI surveyed private industry participating in geologic activities, largely the major independent petroleum and mining companies. Their 1997 report illustrates that the items in the following table could be expected as a minimum initial contribution of geoscience data and collections from the natural resources industries.
Geoscience Data Available for Transfer from Natural Resources Industries to the Public Domain in 1997:
SOURCE: AGI, 1997.
being lost. A single facility capable of holding just these endangered materials (i.e., 2 million boxes of core, 4 million boxes of cuttings, 12 million well logs, 150 million line-miles of seismic data, 10 million fossils, with no room for additional samples) would have to be at least 20 times as large as the current USGS Core Research Center in Lakewood, Colorado.
The primary sources of potentially available (and there-