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HISTORY OF THE VERMONT GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
& Gallery of Vermont State Geologists

The mission of producing a thorough geological and mineralogical survey of the state guided the establishment of the Vermont Geological Survey. This survey would provide a full scientific examination and description of the state's rocks, soils, metals and minerals. Charles Baker Adams, a professor of Chemistry and Natural History at Middlebury College, was appointed the first Vermont State Geologist by Governor William Slade in March of 1845.

The survey progressed slowly over the years due to little funding. Several annual reports and publications on various aspects of the state's geology were published, but the first geologic map of Vermont was not completed until 1861 by Edward Hitchcock (State Geologist, 1856-61). The purpose of the Survey fell into ambiguity for some years until State Geologist George W. Perry was given a small annual budget to prepare and maintain a systematic statistical report of Vermont's mineral resources. Perry's successor George H. Perkins (appointed State Geologist in 1898), produced eighteen biennial reports devoted to the state's mineral resource potential and rallied the interest of professional geologists in Vermont's geology. Perkins' tenure as State Geologist marked the beginning of many productive years. From 1933-47, Eldridge Jacobs held the position with some focus on mineral resources and even seismology.

Charles Doll's legacy (1947-76) is the production of both the 1961 Centennial Geologic Map of Vermont and the Surficial Geology Map of Vermont in 1970. From 1976-1991, Charles Ratte successfully transferred the responsibilites of the Survey from the University of Vermont to what is now the Agency of Natural Resources. As the Survey became more closely involved with the workings of State government and environmental issues, he performed a survey of radioactivity in Vermont rocks and grappled with the issues of radioactive waste siting in Vermont. In 1989, he spirited legislation through the State House that redefined the mission of the State Geologist. Diane Conrad, Vermont's first female State Geologist (1991-1995), managed the passage of the Texas/Vermont/Maine Low-level Radioactive Waste Compact through the Vermont Legislature. Her vision established the method for placing new bedrock geologic maps into digital GIS format.

The Survey is now directed by Laurence R. Becker who has served in Vermont State Government since 1981 and was appointed State Geologist in 1995. He manages the bedrock and surficial mapping programs, advises the legislature on mineral industry issues and groundwater, manages studies of sedimentation in lakes and of geomorphic changes in Vermont upland streams, reviews seismic potential in Vermont and directs Vermont's low-level radioactive waste management program. Becker's tenure saw the completion of a new bedrock geologic map, a 25-year joint project of the Survey, the US Geological Survey, and the University of Vermont published in 2011.

Gallery of Vermont State Geologists

Charles Baker Adams (1844 - 1848) Zadock Thompson (1853 - 1856) Augustus Young (1856)- no photo available
Edward Hitchcock (1856 - 1861) Albert D. Hager (1864 - 1870) Hiram A. Cutting (1870 - 1886)
George W. Perry (1886 - 1898) George H. Perkins (1898 - 1933) Elbridge C. Jacobs (1933 - 1947)
Charles G. Doll (1947 - 1976)

Charles "Chuck" Ratte (1976 - 1991)

Diane Conrad (1991 - 1995)
Laurence R. Becker (1995 - present) A History of the Vermont Geological Surveys and State Geologists, T.D. Seymour Bassett, 39 p., 1976

 

SHELDONS AND SLASON'S MARBLE QUARRY, West Rutland, VT
Original lithograph from Report of the Geology of Vermont: Descriptive, Theoretical, Economic and Scenographical, 1861.

 

Generalized Geologic 
	Map of Vermont - 1970 - click for larger map image

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