Geosciences Research Guide

Welcome to the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Geosciences Research Guide. This is a select list of freely-available resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about geoscience.  Contact Us with suggestions for additional resources or with questions. 

Smithsonian Resources

  • National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences: Website for the Smithsonian division which works on everything from Antarctic meteorites to rare minerals to global volcanism that provides information about Smithonsian research and collections.
  • Mineral Sciences Library: Library which focuses on mineralogy, gemmology, volcanology, and meteorites with 8.500 volumes and 45 journal subscriptions.
  • Natural History Research Guide: Includes resources from the National Museum of Natural History and its libraries, links to other museums and libraries, and directories and databases related to biodiversity.​
  • Global Volcanism Program: Smithsonian project featuring information about Holocene and Pleistocene volcanoes and eruptions from the last 10,000 years. It also features the Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report.
  • This Dynamic Planet: Interactive world map featuring the location of volcanoes, earthquakes, and meteor impacts and information about when they happened.
  • Antarctic Meteorite Program: Website for the joint National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Smithsonian Institution project providing for the collection and storage of Antarctic Metorites, featuring information about the search for, and the curation of, the meteorites and images from the collection and facilities.
  • Science Teaching Resources (Earth Science): Collection of EarthScience related lessons, activities, literacy resources, and videos from the Department of Education at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Databases for Science Research: List of science research databases from the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of the databases are free access, but others do require users to be onsite at a Smithsonian library or have Smithsonian network access.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: Online library featuring open access legacy literature from the Smithsonian Libraries and a consortium of other natural history and botanical libraries.

Earth Sciences

  • NOAA Volcanic Data and Information: Portal to the eruption, location, and ash advisory databases from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, as well as to a significant volcano image collection.
  • Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes: Interactive webapp for exploring the 32 volcanic systems in the active volcanic zones of iceland, featuring images and activity information.
  • Earthworks: Database of geospatial data and maps, many of which are freely downloadable, from Stanford University.
  • Earth Science World Image Bank: Collection of geoscience images from the American Geosciences Institute. Browsable categories include volcanoes, waterfalls, minerals, and dunes.
  • United States Geological Service: Homepage for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) providing data, maps, and other scientific information about natural resources and the hazards that threaten them.
  • National Geologic Map View: Interactive viewer to help find and view USGS geoscience maps.
  • GeoScenic: Collection of geoscience images from the British Geological Survey. Subjects covered include fossils, geology, landforms, and many more.
  • Geology, Paleontology & Theories of the Earth: Digitized collection of early and influential books in the geosciences and paleontology from the Linda Hall Library.

Minerals and Meteors

  • ATHENA: Searchable mineral database featuring chemical formula, crystal type, and locality information.
  • Mindat: Open database of minerals and rocks with images and localities from the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy.
  • USGS Mineral Resources: Maps and datasets from the United States Geological Survey of mineral resources, geology, geochemistry, and geophysics.
  • Meteorite Landings: Visualizations of the NASA meteorite landing dataset, including an interactive map, information about meteorite mass, and a downloadable version of the raw data.
  • American Meteor Society: An organization dedicated to American meteoric astronomy, their site contains a calendar of meteor showers, resources about meteor observation, and photos and videos of recent meteor events.
Last Updated February 15, 2023