Interpreting ground conditions from geologic maps

Circular 46



Intelligent planning for heavy construction, water supply, or other land utilization requires advance knowledge of ground conditions in the area. It is essential to know:

  1. the topography, that is, the configuration of the land surface;
  2. the geology and soils, that is, the deposits that compose the land and its weathered surface; and
  3. the hydrology, that is, the occurrence of water whether under or on the ground.

These elements usually are considered in planning land developments that involve much investment; detailed surveys generally are made of the topography, geology, soils, and hydrology at the site selected for development. Such detailed surveys are essential, but equally essential and often overlooked is the need for general surveys prior to site selection.

Only if the general surveys have been made is it possible to know that a particular site is most suitable for the purpose and that no situations in the tributary areas that might affect the project have been overlooked. Moreover, the general regional relations must be known in order to properly interpret the geology, soils, and hydrology at a particular locality. In brief, both the general and the specific are needed in order to avoid costly mistakes either during or after development.

The accompanying maps illustrate how a general geologic map can be used for interpreting grc .d conditions during a planning stage prior to site selection. The topographic and geologic maps, which provide the basic data, have been simplified from some existing ones. The interpretive sheets are intended to provide some examples of the kinds of information that trained persons can read from such basic maps.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Interpreting ground conditions from geologic maps
Series title Circular
Series number 46
DOI 10.3133/cir46
Year Published 1949
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Description 14 p.
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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