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Geochronological data provide essential information necessary to address fundamental Earth science questions. Understanding the timing of geologic processes and events as well as quantifying rates and timescales is key to geologic mapping, mineral and energy resource and natural hazard assessments. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geochronological Database (NGDB) contains over 30,000 radiometric ages for rocks in the United States including data generated by USGS and University laboratories. The database was created in 1974 and was last fully updated in 1991. While the data are currently accessible to the public via a web interface (, no formal update has occurred in over 20 years. In the interim, the USGS has generated enormous amounts of geochronological data, many of which are difficult to access in a streamlined mechanism.

 Age data need to be available and easily accessible to the public and to USGS scientists. For example, exploration geologists looking for critical minerals or energy resources need to know the ages of the rocks in order to identify potential targets for resources. Having these data readily accessible will also enhance decision-making related to geologic hazards and enable efficient geologic mapping. There is recognition that USGS data needs to be accessible beyond those within a specific project or even just internal to the USGS.

Science Support Framework Category: Data

Author(s): Amy Gilmer ( - USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center; Leah Morgan ( USGS Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

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