Geology

Data Construction

Geologic data sets are maintained by staff within the MBMG housed at Montana Tech in Butte. Geologists work with GIS staff to update and maintain data in a continuing manner. The STATEMAP committee composed of MBMG staff and others steer geologists to work in places needing updated map data. While the Bureau is not dependent upon other agencies to maintain this data, the Bureau does work with other agencies as part of this ongoing maintenance. Other universities and USGS staff are the most frequent collaborators.

The Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology is engaged in a long term effort to map the geology of the State at the 1:100,000 scale. Current efforts are to complete the mapping of the western portions of the State. Mapping in the eastern & central portions of the State have been completed but are subject to revisions as newer or better data are developed. Geologic research in the western areas of Montana proceeds at a slower rate than the less mountainous & less vegetated central and eastern regions. The slower pace of the field research often causes a corresponding decrease in digital data releases. Field staff are diligent in their mapping. They want to develop the best available data and will often recheck an area in a subsequent field season if they are unsure of interpretations or their understandings of the various formations. 

The statewide geology data is in a continual process of update as geologists update geologic map information in “special focus” areas in regions of rapid population growth and associated land development or other reasons. Most often, existing geologic data is used as a starting point for the more detailed examination of these special focus areas. Better understanding of the special focus mapping may lead to a better refinement of the previously existing data.

Data stewardship involves helping callers find data or helping them know which person can help them best. Stewardship also involves steering MBMG toward publishing their geology data to make it available for use (versus focusing solely on publishing maps whether paper or pdf). Currently, there is one Theme Lead staff member working about 20% time on stewardship tasks for this MSDI dataset. Usually there are two full GIS time staff members as well as students working directly with the databases.