The State Geologist is tasked by Indiana Code 21-47-2-1(c) to collect and archive rock, mineral, soil, and other geologic samples as a state repository at Indiana University.
At present, the IGWS maintains over 2,000,000 objects related to Indiana geology in its collections and archives. Its holdings include drilled rock and unconsolidated core, rock chip sets, lithological strips, processed geochemical samples, coal and sediment samples, conodont microfossils, limestone and other industrial mineral specimens, and teaching-quality rocks, minerals, and fossils. Moreover, the IGWS contains vast holdings of digital data, geophysical logs, data sheets, and historic maps and photographs. The collections foster new economic opportunities, support public learning and research, and enrich the Survey's exhibits, educational activities, and public programming.
Visiting scientists, students, and museum professionals are welcome to use IGWS collections for short- and long-term study. Material loans for research or exhibition can be arranged through the Collections Manager.
History of Survey Collections
The collection and care of Indiana’s geological heritage began in 1837 when Governor Noah Noble appointed David Dale Owen as the first state geologist. His duties required him to maintain a "geological cabinet" of rocks, minerals, and fossils. As part of his geological reconnaissance of the state’s natural resources, Owen invited members of the public to send samples and specimens to his laboratory in New Harmony, Indiana, for identification and display. As the Survey grew and relocated, collections were split among the Indiana University Paleontology Collection and the Indiana State Museum, and a significant portion of Owen’s holdings were donated to the nascent Smithsonian Institution. The legacy of these early collections continues with today’s modern mission to discover, develop, and preserve Indiana’s natural resources.