The Bulletins of the Survey are short papers, and through them somewhat speedy publication is attained. Each bulletin is devoted to some specific topic, in order that the material ultimately published in the bulletins can be classified in any manner desired by scientific men. Nine bulletins have been published, and seven are in press. The bulletins already published vary in size from 5 to 325 pages each; they are sold at the cost of press-work and paper, and vary in price from five to twenty cents each; 4,900 copies of each bulletin are published; 1,900 are distributed by Congress, 3,000 are held for sale and exchange by the Geological Survey.
The Monographs of the Survey are quarto volumes. By this method of publication the more important and elaborate papers are given to the public. Six monographs, with two atlases, have been issued; five monographs, with two atlases, are in press; 1,900 copies of each monograph are distributed by Congress; 3,000 are held for sale and exchange by the Survey at the cost of press-work, paper, and binding. They vary in price from $1.05 to $11.
The chiefs of divisions supervise the publications that originate in their several corps. The general editorial supervision is exercised by the Chief Clerk of the Survey, Mr. James C. Pilling.
In organizing the general geologic work, it became necessary, first, to consider what had already been done in various portions of the United States; and for this purpose the compilation of a general geologic map of the United States was begun, together with a Thesaurus of American formations. In addition to this the bibliographic work previously described was initiated, so that the literature relating to American geology should be readily accessible to the workers in the Survey. At this point it became necessary to consider the best methods of apportioning the work; that is, the best methods of dividing the geologic work into parts to be assigned to the different corps of observers. A strictly geographic apportionment was not deemed wise, from the fact that an unscientific division of labor would result, and the same classes of problems would to a large extent be relegated to the several corps operating in field and in the laboratory. It was thought best to divide the work, as far as possible, by subject-matter rather than by territorial areas; yet to some extent the two methods of division will coincide.
There are in the Survey at present:
First, a division of glacial geology, and Prof. T.C. Chamberlin, formerly State Geologist of Wisconsin is at its head, with a strong corps of assistants. There is an important field for which definite provision has not yet been made, namely, the study of the loess that constitutes the bluff formations of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. But as this loess proves to be intimately associated with the glacial formations of the same region, it is probable that it will eventually be relegated to the glacial division. Perhaps the division may eventually grow to such an extent that its field of operations will include the whole Quaternary geology.
Second, a division of volcanic geology is organized, and Capt. Clarence E. Dutton, of the Ordnance Corps of the Army, is placed in charge, also with a strong corps of assistants.
Third and fourth, two divisions have been organized to prosecute work on the archaean rocks, embracing within their field not only all rocks of archaean age, but all metamorphic crystalline schists, of whatever age they may be found. The first division has for its chief Prof. Raphael Pumpelly, assisted by a corps of geologists, and the field of his work is the crystalline schists of the Appalachian region, or eastern portion of the United States, extending from northern New England to Georgia. He will also include in his studies certain paleozoic formations which are immediately connected with the crystalline schists and involved in their orographic structure.
The second division for the study of this class of rocks is in charge of Prof. Roland D. Irving, with a corps of geologists, and his field of operation is in the Lake Superior region. It is not proposed at present to undertake the study of the crystalline schists of the Rocky Mountain region.
Fifth, another division has been organized for the study of the areal, structural, and historical geology of the Appalachian region, extending from the Atlantic, westward, to the zone which separates the mountain region from the great valley of the Mississippi. Mr. G.K. Gilbert has charge of this work, and has a large corps of assistants.
Sixth, it seemed desirable, partly for scientific reasons and partly for administrative reasons, that a thorough topographic and geologic survey should be made of the Yellowstone Park, and Mr. Arnold Hague is in charge of the work, with a corps of assistants. When it is completed, his field will be expanded so as to include a large part of the Rocky Mountain region, but the extent of the field is not yet determined.
It will thus be seen that the general geologic work relating to those areas where the terranes are composed of fossiliferous formations is very imperfectly and incompletely organized. The reason for this is twofold: First, the work cannot be performed very successfully until the maps are made; second, the Geological Survey is necessarily diverting much of its force to the construction of maps, and cannot with present appropriations expand the geologic corps so as to extend systematic work in the field over the entire country.
Under the organic law of the Geological Survey, investigations in economic geology are restricted to those States and Territories in which there are public lands; the extension of the work into the eastern portion of the United States included only that part relating to general geology. Two mining divisions are organized. One, in charge of Mr. George F. Becker, with headquarters at San Francisco, California, is at the present time engaged in the study of the quicksilver districts of California. The other, under charge of Mr. S.F. Emmons, with headquarters at Denver, Colorado, is engaged in studying various mining districts in that State, including silver, gold, iron, and coal areas. Each division has a corps of assistants. The lignite coals of the upper Missouri, also, are under investigation by Mr. Bailey Willis, with a corps of assistants.