TABLE 2-2 Examples of Transfer of Cores from Corporate-Owned Repositories to State Geological Surveys

Donating Company

Year Donated

Receiving Organization

Number of Boxes Donated

Shell Oil Co.a


BEG (see a); BEG shipped 2,134 boxes of core to NMBGMR (seeb)


Burlington Resourcesb




Altura Energy Ltd.b




Amoco Productionc


Geological surveys of Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, New Mexico (NMBGMR)


El Paso Energy/Sonatb




Altura Energy Ltd.a




BP Amoco


Kansas Geological Survey


aSOURCE: George Bush and Scott Tinker, Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), University of Texas at Austin.

bSOURCE: Ron Broadhead, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR).

cSOURCE: Jimmy Denton, BP Amoco, Tulsa.

dPlus 50,000 boxes of cuttings.

eAt the time this document was going to press, a major oil company was in negotiation with the BEG and another state geological survey involving a donation of similar size to the Shell Oil Co. donation of 1994.

fore threatened if no other facility can take them) geoscience data and collections are major oil companies, independent petroleum producers, and mineral extraction companies (AGI, 1997). An American Geological Institute survey (AGI, 1997) estimated how much material these groups would consider contributing to the public domain if facilities existed to receive the information. Sidebar 2-1 summarizes these results. Table 2-2 shows examples of donations of core from industry to the public sector since 1994.


Although it is difficult to quantify the amount of space available in the nation’s repositories, many are essentially at or near capacity. Repository managers therefore are refusing to accept new data and collections because they simply do not have enough space in the repository. Figure 2-2 illustrates the amount of space available at state geological survey repositories around the United States, and Tables 2-3a and 2-3b summarize, respectively, the available space at state geological surveys and at other entities across the nation. Of the 35 responding state geological surveys, nearly two-thirds have 10 percent or less available space, and nearly one-quarter are entirely full. At least one-third of the state geological surveys listed in Table 2-3a have been forced to turn away geologic materials, and more than three-quarters of them could not add new space. The cross-section of other geoscience repositories around the country (Table 2-3b) reveals similarly low amounts of available space.

The following situation is typical: because of limited space, a repository can accept core and other physical data only if it discards a similar volume. The result is that every time something is added, something else must be removed. The repository can apply its own set of criteria, but without formal protocols to set priorities, valuable data and collections may be at risk from the limited assessment of a single individual. Repository managers may try to preserve geoscience data and collections in other ways, such as by offering discarded material to other qualified organizations or using it in other ways (e.g., student study sets).

Because of the vagaries in knowing how much new material might be offered, repository administrators often have difficulty estimating how quickly remaining space will fill up. Examples include the state geological surveys of Kansas, Kentucky, and Ohio, all of which have added new space

FIGURE 2-2 Percentage of available space for cores and samples at state geological surveys (based on data in Table 2-3a, which was compiled from 35 responses to the committee’s questionnaire). Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the state geological surveys that responded to the committee’s questionnaire reported that they have 10 percent or less remaining space for geoscience data and collections.

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