The first geologic surveys made from State-appropriated funds go back to 1857-60. A second survey was made from 1871-74. In 1887, the Geological Survey of Arkansas was established under the direction of Dr. John C. Branner and lasted until 1893. During this period, Herbert Clark Hoover, who later became President of the United States, assisted Dr. Branner. For the next 30 years, the Department of Geology conducted a few geologic surveys at the University of Arkansas. In 1923 the Geological Survey of Arkansas was once again established by Act 573 of 1923 under the direction of George C. Branner, the son of John Branner. In 1945, reorganization changed the agency name to the Arkansas Resources and Development Commission, Division of Geology, under the direction of Harold B. Foxhall. From 1951 to 1995 Norman F. Williams was Director and State Geologist. Reorganization in 1955 established the agency as the Arkansas Geological and Conservation Commission. Act 16 of 1963 changed the name of the organization to the Arkansas Geological Commission. In 1995, William V. Bush became Director and State Geologist. In 2003, Mac B. Woodward was appointed Director and State Geologist. In January 2005 Bekki White was appointed Director and State Geologist. Act 129 of 2007 changed the agency name back to Arkansas Geological Survey. Established in 2019 as part of the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910), the new AR Department of Energy and Environment (E & E) absorbed the Geological Survey and in October 2020 Geological Survey started moving to the E & E Headquarters. In May 2021 Scott Ausbrooks was appointed Director and State Geologist.
- Act 1215 of 2007
- A.C.A. §15-5-201, et seq.
- A.C.A. §15-55-208, et seq.
The Seal of Arkansas Geological Commission, used until 2007.
The Seal of Arkansas Geological Survey, used from 2007 until 2020.
The Seal of Arkansas Geological Survey, used from 2020.
The Arkansas Geological Survey (AGS) is organized into three sections: Administrative Services, Information Services, and Geological Services, all of which are under the direct supervision of the State Geologist. The mission of the Arkansas Geological Survey is to increase the knowledge of the geology of the State, to stimulate the orderly development and utilization of the State's mineral, water, and fossil fuel resources, while protecting the environment.
The Administrative Services Section consists of fiscal services, human resources and support personnel services. This section provides all the administrative support for the agency.
The Information Services Section's primary function is the distribution of information prepared and maintained by the Geological Services Section. This is accomplished through three offices: Map and Publication Sales, Geological Library, and Network & Computer Services.
The Geological Services Section is composed of the geologic staff and technical support personnel. Its primary responsibilities are:
- To search for and provide information on the State's mineral, fossil-fuel (coal, oil and gas), and water resources.
- To encourage the orderly development of these resources.
- To maintain current geologic map coverage of the State.
- To study and report on the geologic factors affecting the State's environment.
Geological Services is divided into six major activities: Fossil Fuels/Energy (oil & gas, lignite & coal); Geohazards (earthquakes, landslides, karst); Minerals (industrial aka non-metallic, metallic); Hydrology/Water; Geologic Mapping (surface, subsurface); and Public Outreach/Education. Outreach efforts such as the Geology Learning Center fall under this Section but are not a separate activity.
The Geological Support Group consists of GIS/Cartographic Services, Well Sample Library, and Core Repository.
In addition to the major activities in the Geological Services Section, the Agency has several cooperative projects with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The AGS has three cooperative programs with the Water Resources Division of the USGS: Groundwater Survey Program, Stream Gauging Program (surface water), and Water Quality Program. Each of these is a cooperative program, with the majority of the work being done by USGS personnel using their equipment and facilities. These programs provide baseline water data to the public and other users of water data needed in management and protection activities.
In May 2008 a donation by the State Farm Insurance Group enabled the formation of an Earthquake Education and Outreach Program which enhances our geohazards section. This program will conduct a series of town hall meetings across the state to present "Earthquake 101"; an educational program designed for the citizen/layman.
Our mission is to serve the people of Arkansas by providing geological information in order to develop and enable effective management of the State’s mineral, fossil fuel and water resources while protecting the environment. We look forward to working with the public, industry and government in accomplishing our mission goals. Please feel free to call on us with your questions and we will do our utmost to assist you.