Massachusetts Geology

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

The USGS, a bureau of the Department of the Interior, is responsible for investigating the physical features of the earth, including rock formation, minerals, landforms, earthquakes, coastlines, and rivers of the United States and its possessions. The agency publishes surveys, maps, papers, databases, and bulletins and is one of the most important producers of geological information in the United States.

Highlights select research conducted by the USGS on the state of Massachusetts and offers links to online resources including coastal and marine contaminants, earthquakes, and minerals.

Ground Water Atlas of the United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont

This 1995 publication describes the location, the extent, and the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of aquifers in the Northeast.

Massachusetts Seismicity

Site, produced by the USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), includes maps of earthquake activity for Massachusetts and adjacent regions, essay on the earthquake history of Massachusetts, and more.

Predicting the Long-Term Fate of Sediments and Contaminants in Massachusetts Bay

Deals with the nature of the contaminants and their transport as influenced by the ocean bottom, circulation, and storms. Research sponsored by the Woods Hole Field Center.

Real-Time Water Data

Provides “real-time” data on stream flow, rainfall, ground water, and water quality for Massachusetts.

USGS Fact Sheets – Massachusetts

This site provides a summary of the ongoing and completed research activities of the USGS in the state of Massachusetts.

USGS Woods Hole Field Center

The Woods Hole Field Center is the headquarters for the Northeastern Section of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. Current research includes studying the contamination of marine sediments in Boston Harbor, monitoring ocean current, mapping the sea floor, creating regional sewage maps, and studying coastal habitats.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


an agency within the Department of Commerce, charts U.S. and its possessions’ seas and skies, monitors oceanographic and coastal activity, and records climatic data.

The Office of Coast Survey’s Historical Collection contains a wide variety of documents, including nautical charts from the mid-1800’s through the early 1900’s and sketches of coastlines. The archive includes scanned charts of the Massachusetts Bay area and Cape Cod region.

NOAA Weather

Current weather conditions in the New England area.

Other Web Links

Site provides the following geologic information about Massachusetts: latitude and longitude of Boston, land area, length of coastline and shoreline, highest peak and lowest point, weather, and topography.


Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University


Massachusetts State Geologist

This site provides information about the land, mineral, and water resources of Massachusetts, including current research projects.

Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University

Site provides an overview of the rock collection at Harvard University, including a section devoted to the mineralogy of the New England area.

MIT’s Earth Resources Laboratory

Site provides links to research conducted by the Earth Resources Laboratory in the area of applied geophysics. The lab also monitors local earthquake activity.