Until 1907, Colorado had no state geological survey, but a series of geologists held the position of Territorial Geologist, a part-time unpaid position. The Colorado Geological Survey was established by the Legislature in 1907, along with the position of State Geologist who was also the Director of the survey. The first geological survey mysteriously went out of existence sometime during, or after, 1925. The Colorado Geological Survey was re-established in 1967 and continues to provide sound science and service to the citizens of Colorado.

For a more extensive history of the CGS see:

Rold, J. W., and S. D. Schwochow. IS-27 History of The Colorado Geological Survey (1872-1988). Information Series, IS-27. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, 1989.

Significant Events in the History of the Colorado Geological Survey
  • 1907 – Legislature creates the Colorado Geological Survey and appoints the State Geologist to direct it at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • 1909 – Colorado Geological Survey publishes first geological map and report.
  • 1925 – Colorado Geological Survey mysteriously goes out of existence after publishing 31 Bulletins on various aspects of the geology and mineral resources (including oil shale) of Colorado.
  • 1967 – The legislature re-creates the Colorado Geological Survey within the newly formed Department of Natural Resources.
  • 1969 – The Colorado Geological Survey becomes operational.
  • 1987 – The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) becomes part of the Colorado Geological Survey.
  • 1992 – The Colorado Geological Survey is placed under the newly formed Division of Minerals and Geology, a regulatory agency.
  • 2005 – The legislature re-establishes the Colorado Geological Survey as a separate Division in the Department of Natural Resources.
  • 2013 – CGS is transferred to the Colorado School of Mines.
Historical articles about the Colorado Geological Survey:

Concerns about the new survey, 1907

Praise for the new survey, 1909

State and Territorial Geologists

1874 – 1883: J. Alden Smith
1883 – 1885: Ernest Le Neve Foster
1885 – 1887: J. Alden Smith
1887 – 1889: F. G. Bulkley
1889 – 1895: George E. Kedzie
1895 – 1901: Thomas A. Rickard
1901 – 1906: John Wellington Finch
1906 – 1907: B. S. Langridge

State Geologists and Directors

1908 – 1926: Russell D. George
1969 – 1993: John W. Rold
1993 – 2003: Vicki J. Cowart
2004 – 2012: Vincent Matthews III
2013 – 2014: Karen Berry (interim)
2014 – present: Karen Berry

Directors, Past and Present

L to R: Vince Matthews, Vicki Cowart , John Rold.

Russell George. State Geologist of Colorado 1908 to 1926.

Russell George.