Geoscience data sets and software on the web.

Data Sources: There is so much data out there you can download, you can do science and never leave your computer! Below are some links to web sites with access to data bases, along with brief descriptions. You can use these to obtain data needed to complete some of your assignments (or if you just want to play). If you find new databases that are particularly interesting please let me know and I will add the link. If old links are broken let me know so that I can fix or remove them. I last checked the links on 8/2017. While there are quite a few entries below it doesn't start to tap into all that is available. If you are interested in specific information (type or place) a Goggle search including descriptors plus the word database might be a good start.

USGS data sites:

USGS Earthquake Haazard data: This site includes not only earthquakes, but geodetic, hazard and other types of related data.

United States Geological Survey earthquake data: This is a direct link to the USGS earthquake catalog. Using search criteria of time period and area one can obtain a listing of the position and size of earthquakes. One can use this to predict recurrence intervals, assess relative seismic risk and look for clustering.

United States Geological Survey river discharge data: River discharge data from the extensive system of gauging stations. Peak and average daily discharge data are easily accessible and extensive. This data can be used to computer recurrence intervals for future discharge events, or for looking for temporal changes due to urbanization.

United States Geological Survey sediment load data: Not available for as many sites as the discharge data, this is still a very extensive data base of sediment load data. It could be used to estimate dam basin infill times, or to look for temporal changes, or to simply see what the relationship is between discharge and sediment load.

United States Geological Survey coal resources data: Searchable by state, county, geologic age and several other parameters, this database returns in table form information on position, coal rank, and volume.

United States Geological Survey geophysical data: This comes in a great variety of forms. There is a focus on magnetic and gravity data.

United States Geological Survey National Archive of Marine Seismic Surveys (NAMSS): Most of the data is in a special format (SEG-Y) and requires specific software, which can be found in the public domain to access it.

Aeromagnetic Surveys in Yukon Flats Alaska (USGS): A Web site for the Distribution of Data By Philip J. Brown, 2003, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-319. Can download data in ASCI format. It is a specific example of a large array of geophysical data the USGS makes available.

USGS Geochemical Database: Includes all sorts of geochemical data including NURE data.

USGS volcano hazards data: This site includes monitoring data, and hazard assessments and reports.

California heat flow data bases (USGS): This has data that can be downloaded in text or Excel format.


NASA portal for earth science data and services: This takes a bit of exploring before you finally get the data, but is quite rich in the types and amount of data available.

Geological Society of America data repository for publications: Often there is not room in journal articles to include lengthy data tables, and so they are put into this repository for GSA periodicals. They are PDF files, and a very good source of data to play with. The variety of types of data is great.

Society for Sedimentary Geology: This page has a data archive with maybe 20 or so data sets, of a varied sedimentologic character. Some were as Excel sheets.

NOAA Geophysical Data Center: This site including multiple types of data, including on tsunamis, wildfires and more.

Smithsonian Institution Natural History Museum Global Volcanism Program: This is the portal for the program overall, but the database tab is prominent above. At the time I tried it they were working on the search options, but you could download a comprehensive Excel sheet that had all the data in it. Data on both the characteristics of individual volcanoes and the history of eruptions is available.

Virtual Ocean: a marine geoscience database: This has detailed topography available, and its development was funded by the National Science Foundation.


Petrologic database of the Ocean Floor: This has a huge array of data on oceanic basalts from all sorts of sites and places supported by NSF. One searches by data type, region, and geologic site.

GEOROC: Geochemistry of Rocks of the Oceans and Continents is a database out of Germany. I had trouble getting this one to work, but didn't really try that long.


National Geophysical Data Center: This is out of Boulder and includes a wealth of data, some of which is in specific formats for specific software. However, there is a "selected ascii data files" option under "Marine sediment and rock" that has a lot of good pertinent stuff.

The Global Heat Flow Database of the International Heat Flow Commission (site provided by the University of North Dakota). Gobs of data here in user friendly Excel sheet form. Listed by country and by continent. Position is given in latitude and longitude. For better maps without distortion this needs to be transformed to UTM positions when mapping the distribution.

California heat flow data bases (USGS): This has data that can be downloaded in text or Excel format.

Global Paleomagnetic database: This is a database created initially by Michael McElhinny and various other researchers. One could the entire Access database or can query it over the web at the Norwegian geological Survey site link provided here.

World Stress Map: This is a beautiful database (at least to a structural/tectonic type like me.

Environmental, climate change:

Global Change Master Directory: This is a humongous and varied database that actually takes some time to get through. However, for data on the global environment this is a good place to start.

National Snow and Ice Data Center: This very extensive site maintained at the University of Colorado Boulder has an abundance of data in numerous forms, including tabular and image data. One that could be interesting to check out is ice velocity data for Antarctica.

Vostok Ice Core data: This is incredible data that gives real insight into one major forcing agent when it comes to climate change (Milankovich cycles): can be read into Excel

Nebraska data:

NRD DEM data: This is free 30 and 10 m DEMs and shaded relief images with world files.

USGS Geologic map of Nebraska (GIS): One can download the GIS files for a basic geologic map of Nebraska.

UNL School of Natural Resrouces Nebraska geology related GIS data: This is specifically for ArcGIS, but has a lot of information.

Agrichemical Contaminant Database for Nebraska Ground Water: This looks at contaminant data from wells in Nebraska.

Many state geological surveys serve geoscience data specific to the state.

Kansas Geological Survey databases related to oil and gas: There is a great array of very interesting information available here, including core images from some wells!

Kansas Geological Survey database for the High Plains (Ogallala) aquifer: Of primary interest is water level data that is available. One can search by specific area.

South Dakota Geological Survey geology database portal: water, oil and gas, core and other data are available here.

Software sources
: This is far from exhaustive, but will give you entry in this vast world. There has been an explosion of available software in the last year or so. A lot of it is freeware. There is also a lot of commercial stuff available of a great variety of price ranges.

Rainer Petschick Macintosh software list is rich, and includes Excel macros.

North Dakota's geology software link list is varied, though focused on mineralogy/petrology software.

Rick Allmendinger's software link includes a lot of very useful programs for structural analysis.

Rod Holcombe's structural geology software.

Overview site of geology software.

Sorry if something isn't there when you try to link to it, but that's the nature of the web.

Return to syllabus.

Copyright by Harmon D. Maher Jr.. This material may be used for non-profit educational purposes if proper attribution is given. Otherwise please contact Harmon D. Maher Jr.