Historical Sequence of the Geological Survey:
and Mineral Survey of South Carolina
1842-1843 Agricultural Survey of South
and Agricultural Survey of the State of South Carolina
Carolina Geological Survey
Carolina State Development Board, Division of Geology
Carolina State Budget and Control Board, South Carolina Geological Survey
Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey
1997-present South Carolina
Department of Natural Resources; Land, Water, and Conservation Division,
Vanuxem, Professor, Geology and Mineralogy, USC
Ruffin, Agricultural Surveyor of the State
Tuomey, State Geological Surveyor
M. Lieber, Mineralogical, Geological and Agricultural Surveyor
Sloan, State Geologist
Twitchell, State Geologist
Taber, State Geologist
L. Smith, State Geologist
S. Johnson, Jr., State Geologist
K. Olson, State Geologist
William "Bill" Clendenin, Jr., State Geologist
History of the SC Geological Survey
by N. K. Olson and H. S. Johnson, Jr.
The earliest State-sponsored work of a geologic
nature in South Carolina was a 1-year "Geological and Mineralogical Survey
of South Carolina" made in 1825-26 by Lardner Vanuxem by order of the
Legislature. Vanuxem apparently spent much of his time collecting and
cataloging specimens of the rocks and minerals found in the State. Heavy
emphasis was placed on the Piedmont section of the State to practical exclusion
of the Coastal Plain areas, and a collection of more than 500 specimens was
In his report to the Legislature, Vanuxem
discussed the limestones of the Piedmont, which were at the time being mined
and burned in many small operations to make lime. He also reported on pyrite
(as a source of sulfur) and gold in what was then called the Spartanburg and
Abbeville districts and further mentions the possibility of using marl to
increase production on poor soils as had already been done in New Jersey.
With the submission of Vanuxem's report in
1826, State-sponsored geologic investigations ceased in South Carolina until
1842, when the Legislature ordered an "Agricultural Survey of the
State" and Edmund Ruffin, Esquire, of Virginia, was appointed
"Agricultural Surveyor of the State" by Governor Hammond. After 1 year, Ruffin submitted a report on
the Commencement and Progress of the Agricultural Survey of South Carolina and
then resigned. Much of Ruffin's efforts
were concentrated on geological investigations of the marls of the Coastal
Plain and on educating farmers to use the marl on poor soils to increase agricultural
When Ruffin resigned in 1843, Mr. Michael
Toumey was commissioned by Governor James H. Hammond to continue Ruffin's work
and to make a "Geological and Agricultural Survey of the State." In
1846 Toumey submitted a Report of the Geology of South Carolina. This report,
published in 1848, presented the results of the first real study of the geology
of the State.
Apparently, from the publication of Toumey's
report until 1856 no geologic work was done in South Carolina. In 1856,
however, Oscar M. Lieber was appointed "Mineralogical, Geological, and
Agricultural Surveyor." He published an annual report on the geological
survey of South Carolina in 1856 and for each of the three following years.
With the exception of minor investigations in Beaufort and Colleton Counties,
Lieber's work was almost exclusively in the Piedmont. His reports are highly
generalized and contain long discourses on types and origins of ore deposits in
the light of the knowledge of his day. Lieber's investigations ceased in 1859
and from then until 1904 no geologic investigations were carried on in South
Carolina under State sponsorship.
From 1904 until 1910, Earle Sloan served as
State Geologist of South Carolina. During this period four of Sloan's reports
were published by the State. The most complete of these was the Catalogue of
Mineral Localities of South Carolina, published in 1908.
In 1911, M. W. Twitchell succeeded Earle
Sloan as State Geologist and held this position for 1 year. He was also head of
the Department of Geology at the University of South Carolina during this
Dr. Stephen Taber became head of the
Department of Geology at the University of South Carolina in 1912 and also
served as State Geologist. Dr. Taber served in this capacity until his
retirement in 1947.
Dr. L. L. Smith followed Taber as head of the
Geology Department at the University and also acted as State Geologist.
From 1912 until 1945, there were no funds
appropriated for geologic field investigations, and the State Geologist served
principally in an advisory capacity on a part-time basis. When the State Development Board began work
in 1945, it soon recognized a need for geologic investigations, particularly
those of an economic nature, in South Carolina. Arrangements were made with Dr.
B. F. Buie of the Department of Geology, University of South Carolina, and a
series of summer investigations were begun.
In June 1957 the State Development Board
hired Henry S. Johnson, Jr., formerly with the U. S. Geological Survey, to head
the new Division of Geology. The modern South Carolina Geological Survey began
with Johnson's geologic field reconnaissance, mapping, drilling, and
descriptions of stratigraphic localities. He developed a working network of
"project geologists"--mostly professors who worked summers and
vacations periods--and together they produced an impressive number of
publications, drill logs and related data on a meager budget. In 1961 Governor
Ernest Hollings agreed to a letter request from Dr. L. L. Smith to transfer the
title of State Geologist to Mr. Johnson.
In November 1969, Mr. Johnson resigned to
become an independent geological consultant. He was succeeded by Norman K.
Olson, formerly General Industrial Geologist with Southern Railway System. Mr.
Olson inherited two permanent, full-time staff members - one geologist and one
secretary. In 1974 the enabling legislation (Act 1053) for the South Carolina
Geological Survey was signed into law by Governor John West. The State
Geologist was key advisor to legislative committees during the formation of the
South Carolina mining Act (1974) and the South Oil and Gas Act (1977). Since
1970 South Carolina Geological Survey geologists have had important advisory
roles to the Governor's Office and the General Assembly on repository siting
issues for radioactive waste (high level and low level) and toxic chemical
waste. Since the early 1970's, most of the field investigations and reports
have been accomplished by the Survey's Geologic Mapping and Mineral Resources
Currently the South Carolina Geological
Survey has three staff geologists and three geologic technicians.
Act 1053 of 1974 Sec. 13-5-10, Code of Laws of S.
An Act To Create The South Carolina Geological Survey.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the
State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The South Carolina Geological
Survey, which shall be a division of the State Development Board, is hereby
created. The Survey shall be under the direction of the State Geologist, who
shall be appointed by the Director of the State Development Board. He shall
have graduated from an accredited college or university with a full curriculum
in geology and shall have had at least five years of practical work experience,
academic, governmental, or industrial, in geology.
SECTION 2. The State Geologist shall have
supervision of the entire work of the Survey and shall be responsible for it's
accuracy. He shall travel throughout the State so as to make himself familiar
with the geology and mineral resources of each section, and supervise work in
progress; shall undertake such field and laboratory work as his time will
permit; and shall perform such other duties as properly pertain to his office.
He may employ geologist, technicians, and such other personnel as may be
necessary to conduct the objectives of the Survey.
SECTION 3. In addition to such other duties
as may be assigned to it, the Survey shall:
1. Conduct field and laboratory studies in
geologic reconnaissance, mapping, prospecting for mineral resources, and
related gathering of surface and subsurface data. Investigative areas shall
include offshore, as well as onshore, lands in this State.
2. Provide geologic advice and assistance to
other State and local governmental agencies engaged in environmental
protection, or in industrial or economic development projects. In addition, the
Survey shall be actively involved in geologic aspects of regional planning and
effective land use in the State.
3. Encourage economic development in the
State by disseminating published information as bulletins, maps, economic
reports and related series, and also open-file reports, to appropriate
governmental agencies and private industry. The Survey is further encouraged to
initiate and maintain appropriate industrial contacts, to promote both the
extraction and conservation of South Carolina's earth raw materials, and their
manufacture, to the economic improvement of the State.
4. Provide unsolicited advice, when
appropriate, to the Mining Council and its associated regulatory agency, on
geologic and related mining matters in keeping with the intent of the South
Carolina Mining Act.
5. Operate and maintain a central, statewide
repository for rock cores, well cuttings and related subsurface samples, and
all associated supplemental data. Private firms and public agencies are
encouraged to notify the Survey prior to any exploratory or developmental
drilling and coring.
6. Be the State's official cooperator on
topographic mapping; provided that the Federal expenditure for such purposes
shall at least equal that of the State, and may conduct cooperative work with
appropriate agencies of the United States Government in its geologic activities
7. Provide a minerals research laboratory,
related to the identification, extraction, and processing of industrial
minerals and minerals of economic potential wherever found throughout the
onshore and offshore areas of the State. The minerals research laboratory is
encouraged to accept mineral research projects from South Carolina business or
citizens on a per cost, per unit basis and to encourage extended use of the raw
materials of the State.
The minerals research laboratory may accept
public and private gifts or funds and may enter into cooperative agreements for
the purpose of applied research in the metallic and non-metallic minerals of
SECTION 4. The Survey shall maintain all
unpublished information in its files which shall be open to the public, except
in cases where the investigator still has work in progress on a project leading
to a publication; or where an industrial firm, interested in possibly locating
in the State, ask temporary confidential status for oral and written geologic
related information supplied by them or obtained on their properties.
In the latter instance such information may
be held in confidence by the Survey for not more than one year from the date
such information was obtained.
SECTION 5. The Survey shall work impartially
for the benefit of the public, and no person, firm, or governmental agency may
call upon or require the State Geologist or his staff to enter upon any special
survey for his or their special benefit.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect upon
approval by the Governor.
In the Senate House the 30th day of May
In the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine
Hundred and Seventy four.
L. Marion Gressette,
President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Rex L. Carter,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Approved the 6th day of June, 1974.
John C. West,