Before giving the outline of the plan for the general geologic survey, it will be better to explain the accessory plans and organizations. There are in the Survey, as at present organized, the following paleontologic laboratories:
1. A laboratory of vertebrate paleontology for formations other than the Quaternary. In connection with this laboratory there is a corps of paleontologists. Professor O.C. Marsh is in charge.
2. There is a laboratory of invertebrate paleontology of Quaternary age, with a corps of paleontologists, Mr. Wm. H. Dall being in charge.
3. There is a laboratory of invertebrate paleontology of Cenozoic and Mesozoic age, with a corps of paleontologists. Dr. C.A. White is in charge.
4. There is a laboratory of invertebrate paleontology of Paleozoic age, with a corps of paleontologists. Mr. C.D. Walcott is in charge.
5. There is a laboratory of fossil botany, with a corps of paleobotanists, Mr. Lester F. Ward being in charge.
The paleontologists and paleobotanists connected with the laboratories above described, study and discuss in reports the fossils collected by the general geologists in the field. They also supplement the work of the field geologists by making special collections in important districts and at critical horizons; but the paleontologists are not held responsible for areal and structural geology on the one hand, and the geologists are not held responsible for paleontology on the other hand. In addition to the large number of paleontologists on the regular work of the Geological Survey, as above described, several paleontologists are engaged from time to time to make special studies.
There is a chemic laboratory attached to the Survey, with a large corps of chemists engaged in a great variety of researches relating to the constitution of waters, minerals, ores, and rocks. A part of the work of this corps is to study the methods of metamorphism and the paragenesis of minerals, and in this connection the chemists do work in the field; but to a large extent they are occupied with the study of the materials collected by the field geologists. Professor F.W. Clarke is in charge of this department.
There is a physical laboratory in the Survey, with a small corps of men engaged in certain physical researches of prime importance to geologic philosophy. These researches are experimental, and relate to the effect of temperatures, pressures, etc., on rocks. This laboratory is under the charge of the chief chemist.
There is a lithologic laboratory in the Survey, with a large corps of lithologists engaged in the microscopic study of rocks. These lithologists are field geologists, who examine the collections made by themselves.
There is in the Survey a division of mining statistics, with a large corps of men engaged in statistic work, the results of which are published in an annual report entitled "Mineral Resources." Mr. Albert Williams, Jr., is the Chief Statistician of the Survey.
There is in the Survey a division organized for the purpose of preparing illustrations for paleontologic and geologic reports. Mr. W.H. Holmes is in charge of this division. Illustrations will not hereafter be used for embellishment, but will be strictly confined to the illustration of the text and the presentation of such facts as can be best exhibited by figures and diagrams. All illustrations will, as far as possible, be produced by relief methods, such as wood-engraving, photo-engraving, etc. As large numbers of the reports of the Survey are published, this plan is demanded for economic reasons; but there is another consideration believed to be of still greater importance; illustrations made on stone cannot be used after the first edition, as they deteriorate somewhat by time, and it is customary to use the same lithographic stone for various purposes from time to time. The illustrations made for the reports of the Survey, if on relief-plates that can be cheaply electrotyped, can be used again when needed. This is especially desirable in paleontology, where previously published figures can be introduced for comparative purposes. There are two methods of studying the extinct life of the globe.
Fossils are indices of geological formations, and must be grouped by formations to subserve the purpose of geologists. Fossils also have their biologic relations, and should be studied and arranged in biologic groups. Under the plan adopted by the Survey, the illustrations can be used over and over again for such purposes when needed, as reproduction can be made at the small cost of electrotyping. These same illustrations can be used by the public at large in scientific periodicals, text-books, etc. All the illustrations made by the Geological Survey are held for the public to be used in this manner.
The library of the Survey now contains more than 25,000 volumes, and is rapidly growing by means of exchanges. It is found necessary to purchase but few books. The librarian, Mr. C.C. Darwin, has a corps of assistants engaged in bibliographic work. It is proposed to prepare a catalogue of American and foreign publications upon American geology, which is to be a general authors' catalogue. In addition to this, it is proposed to publish bibliographies proper of special subjects constituting integral parts of the science of geology.
The publications of the Survey are in three series: Annual Reports, Bulletins, and Monographs. The Annual Report constitutes a part of the Report of the Secretary of the Interior for each year, but is a distinct volume. This contains a brief summary of the purposes, plans, and operations of the Survey, prepared by the Director, and short administrative reports from the chiefs of divisions, the whole followed by scientific papers. These papers are selected as being those of most general interest, the object being to make the Annual Report a somewhat popular account of the doings of the Survey, that it may be widely read by the intelligent people of the country. Of this 5,650 copies are published as a part of the Secretary's report, and are distributed by the Secretary of the Interior, Senators, and Members of the House of Representatives; and an extra edition is annually ordered of 15,000 copies, distributed by the Survey and members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Four annual reports have been published; the fifth is now in the hands of the printer.