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Wyoming State Geological Survey provides seasonal update

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS), which is currently celebrating its 90th birthday, released its 2023 Winter Newsletter on Feb. 23 to provide updates on the organization’s current work.

The newsletter provides information on new reports and maps published over the course of the past year, while also reflecting on the history of WSGS and recognizing Hydrologist Kurt Hinaman as the staff spotlight. 

Laramie Mountains
report and maps

Recently, WSGS published a report and two maps on the potential for critical mineral resources in the central Laramie Mountains, as part of an integrated effort funded partially through the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Mapping Resources Initiative.

Over the course of two years, the project used geological mapping and geochemical analyses to explore several overlapping mineral systems in the study area.

“The mountains have potential for base- and precious-metal deposits – copper, nickel, gold and silver – as well as critical minerals such as titanium, vanadium, tungsten, chromium and rare earth elements,” notes WSGS in the newsletter. “There is also potential for molybdenum, platinum group element metals and graphite.” 

WSGS further notes critical mineral research is a significant focus for the organization, and ongoing work in this area includes a statewide survey of heavy mineral sandstones; mapping, geochronology and geochemistry in the Medicine Bow Mountains and geochemistry of the Phosphoria Formation in western Wyoming.

Positive year for
oil and gas 

According to the WSGS January Oil and Gas Summary Report, Wyoming’s 2022 oil and gas production was mostly back to normal. 

“One of the most positive items in this year’s report was oil production in 2022 was greater than it had been originally predicted,” reads WSGS’ newsletter. “At the beginning of last year, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) estimated a statewide total of 85 million barrels of oil. But, in October, CREG revised its forecast, adding an extra five million barrels to Wyoming’s production.”

“By the end of the year, it was clear Wyoming was on track to meet, or slightly exceed, this revised prediction,” WSGS continues.

Also, the summary report further discusses oil production throughout the state in finer detail, noting 60 percent of Wyoming’s oil comes from two counties – Converse and Campbell – while more than 10 percent comes from Laramie County.

“As for natural gas, production in Wyoming either held steady or declined in 2022. Sublette, Sweetwater and Fremont counties continued to be the top producing counties,” says WSGS.

New online mineral maps

In the newsletter, WSGS also announced they will launch a new interactive map later in the year, in an effort to make researching Wyoming’s mineral resources much easier. Additionally, the new product will expand the survey’s 2018 Mines and Minerals Map. 

“Our new online map will serve as a central location to find and research relevant mineral and mining information from both state and federal agencies, as well as host data collected by WSGS for mineral-related publications,” says Jim Stafford, WSGS geohydrologist and map developer.

“The goal with this map is to make mineral-related data more accessible and interactive to the public,” Stafford continues. “We also plan to routinely update it as new data becomes available.”

Birthday celebration, staff recognition, surveys

In addition to providing updates on the survey’s current work, the WSGS 2023 Winter Newsletter reflects on 90 years of WSGS, recognizes Hinaman as the current staff spotlight and encourages the public to provide feedback on the agency’s website.

“Since its establishment in 1933, WSGS has had 10 directors/state geologists, with terms ranging from two to 26 years,” says WSGS Director and State Geologist Dr. Erin Campbell. “The early years, particularly 1933 through 1945, were a crucial formative time for the Geologic Survey of Wyoming, and they created the foundation upon which our agency operates today.” 

Campbell notes the agency changed its name to WSGS in 1994.

“We continue to focus on energy and mineral resources to both increase state revenue and provide for our nation. We advocate for our citizens, provide them with needed geologic information and work to inform them of geologic hazards,” she adds.

Additionally, WSGS recognizes Hinaman, who was hired in 2022, in the newsletter. 

As a hydrologist, Hinaman explains he is focused on the statewide availability and use of groundwater, the quality and quantity of groundwater, how surface water and groundwater interact and how water leaves the state.

Lastly, the WSGS newsletter notes the survey is seeking feedback from the public on how they access data from their website, 

“Feedback will help WSGS improve its services with regard to geographic information systems and digital data formats. Answers provided in this survey will remain anonymous unless permission is given,” reads the newsletter. The survey is available on the WSGS website and will close on March 2.

WSGS further notes, at the end of the survey, participants will have the opportunity to enter their e-mail address into a drawing for a WSGS geologic map. Five winners will be announced on March 3. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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