North Dakota Geological Survey

Lynn D. Helms, PhD., Director         Ed C. Murphy, State Geologist



The North Dakota Geological Survey was created by an act of the North Dakota Legislature in 1895. After more than 120 years, the Survey still serves as the primary source of geological information in the state. Its mission over the years has grown and is now three-fold:

  • Investigate the geology of North Dakota
  • Administer regulatory programs and act in an advisory capacity to other state agencies
  • Provide public service to the people of North Dakota

The Geological Survey publishes maps and reports on the mineralogical, paleontological, and geochemical resources of North Dakota, including oil and gas, coal, uranium, clay, sand and gravel, volcanic ash, potash and other salts, etc. In addition to the mapping of subsurface resources, the Survey is actively mapping the surface geology throughout the state with an emphasis on urban areas and the identification of geohazards such as landslides. Survey publications support the regulatory programs of the Industrial Commission, as well as other state and federal agencies, and assist mineral companies, geotechnical consulting firms, city and county governments, landowners, and citizens of the state. The North Dakota Geological Survey regulates coal exploration, subsurface mineral exploration and development (this includes all elements, minerals, and compounds other than oil and gas, sand and gravel, and coal), geothermal facilities (both commercial and residential), the Class III Underground Injection Control Program, and paleontological resources on state-owned lands.

The Geological Survey and the Oil and Gas Division are in the Department of Mineral Resources and under the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The main office of the Department of Mineral Resources is located at 1016 East Calgary Avenue in Bismarck. The paleontology program of the Geological Survey is housed in the Clarence Johnsrud Paleontology Laboratory in the North Dakota Heritage Center (state museum) on the State Capitol grounds in Bismarck. The North Dakota State Fossil Collection, as well as the State Rock and Mineral Collection, are also housed in the Heritage Center. The North Dakota Geological Survey's Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library is located on the University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks. The facility currently houses 450,000 feet of core and 50,000 boxes of drill cuttings obtained from oil and gas wells.


Street Address:
1016 E. Calgary Ave.,
Bismarck ND 58503


Mailing Address:
600 East Boulevard Avenue,
Bismarck ND 58505-0840


(701) 328-8000


(701) 328-8010