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Geologic Maps Overview

   Geologic maps are used in many land-use studies and endeavors. These maps portray the distribution of rocks and sediments at the surface, and knowledge of site-specific geology can lead to a more thorough understanding of an area for planning and assessment purposes. Land use applications that benefit from having a good geologic map include, but are not limited to, planning highway construction, evaluation of ground-water resources, general construction site assessments, siting of quarries and mines, mineral resource studies, geologic hazards delineation - such as landslides and sinkholes, and many more areas that affect the general public.   
   More information on geologic maps can be found through these U.S. Geological Survey links:   
   Available North Carolina Geological Survey geologic maps are organized on this site by scale. Click on a link to the left to view the locations of available North Carolina geologic maps at various scales; the locations, or footprints, for these maps are linked to additional websites that have information on how to obtain a particular map of interest. Most of these maps are available for purchase from our Geological Survey Shop. Adobe PDF versions of some of these maps are available as well, and can be requested by e-mail to   
   Many georeferenced geologic maps from North Carolina for use in a GIS can be found through the U.S. Geological Survey's National Geologic Map Database.   

   The map footprints, or outlines, shown on these pages represent published and readily available geologic maps produced by the North Carolina Geological Survey, and selected maps from the the U.S. Geological Survey and the South Carolina Geological Survey. Other geologic maps may be available that are not shown on this site. For example, maps prepared by student mappers from an educational institution. Such maps typically are the topic of student theses and dissertations, and are available at the issuing institution. To discover if such maps exist for a given quadrangle or area, one first step might be to contact the appropriate North Carolina Geological Survey staff member from the list below for assistance. Please refer to the map below for the North Carolina physiographic province delineations.   
Physiographic Province Staff Member E-mail Address Telephone
Blue Ridge (Mountains) Bart Cattanach 828-296-4500
Piedmont Phil Bradley 919-733-7353
Coastal Plain Kathleen Farrell 919-733-7353

NC Physiographic Map
Physiographic Provinces in North Carolina
Larger view

   Scale differences between maps constrain the size and amount of detail that can be shown on a given map. Large scale mapping, such as 1:24,000-scale, is able to present considerably more detail than small scale mapping (e.g. 1:500,000-scale). See the image below for an example.   

Comparison between 1:500,000-scale mapping (entire image) from the 1985 Geologic Map of North Carolina, and detailed 1:24,000-scale mapping (black outline). Use your mouse to move the cursor over the image to see the differences in detail available. Detailed inset map is our geologic map of the Raleigh West quadrangle, NC, North Carolina Geological Survey Geologic Map Series 15, by David E. Blake.

North Carolina Geological Survey . 1612 Mail Service Center . Raleigh, NC 27699-1612 . 919-733-2423