How do earth scientists use maps?

Earth scientists use maps are used for a variety of different functions:

  • are used to show the shape and elevation of landforms.
  • Geologic maps are used to show the surface expression of geologic units. Often time topographic maps are used as the base for mapping geologic formations.
  • Structural contour maps are used to map the topography of the upper surface of a geologic unit. These are commonly used in the petroleum industry to find economic accumulations of oil and gas.
  • Isopach maps are also used by geologists to map the thickness of a geologic unit. This is useful in the oil and gas industry and also in the coal mining industry to predict the economics of different mining techniques to extract the coal.
  • Potentiometric surface maps are used by hydrogeologists to understand the movement of in the subsurface.
  • Isopleth maps are used by environmental geoscientists to map zones of equal concentration of a contamination plume in order to design methods to remediate the contamination.

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