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U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.)

Last modified: 2016-03-15 by rick wyatt
Keywords: departmental | geological survey | united states |
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[Revised Flag of U.S. Geological Survey] image by Eugene Ipavec, 6 July 2010

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The U.S. Geological Survey seal (and flag) consists of a ring of 13 white stars (representing the 13 original colonies), within which is an equilateral triangle (representing the symbol for a horizontal control point used in surveying), overlain by crossed hammers (a rock pick to the left, and a rock hammer to the right), and underlain by a "wave" symbol. These three symbols represent the original 3 divisions of the U.S. Geological Survey as follows:
        triangle -- Topographic Division
        pick & hammer -- Geologic Division
        wave -- Water Resources Division
Recently, a fourth Division, the Biological Research Division, has been added, however I don't think there are plans to change the agency seal or flag.

Richard J. Reynolds, 5 February 2003 Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

Previous Design

[Flag of U.S. Geological Survey] image by Joe McMillan, 16 December 1999

U.S. Geological Survey - Blue with a white emblem consisting of two hammers crossed in saltire surmounting a triangle, all surrounded by a ring of 13 small white stars.
Joe McMillan, 16 December 1999

Interesting information on the U.S. Geological Survey flag (first version) and related issues may be found here:
USGS - History of the Topographic Branch (Division) - Circular 1341 - by Richard T. Evans and Helen M. Frye (preceded by photo section).

Page 57: "R.H. Chapman designed the Survey flag in 1903. On March 1, 1904, E.M. Douglas, Geographer-in-Charge of the Western Division, requested F.E. Matthes to design a Survey button that would be worn on coats used by topographers on field duty as a mark of identification and distinction. The buttons were soon available to topographers, as well as a Survey pennant bearing the same design, for display over all Survey camps, beneath the American flag. This practice was prescribed by Col. H.C. Rizer, Chief Clerk as Acting Director, in a memorandum which read in part: "With reference to a suitable flag for the use of the U.S. Geological Survey, I have approved, in accordance with the recommendations of a majority of the members of the Survey, a design consisting of a blue rectangular flag with white triangle, cross hammers and thirteen stars, in which the hammers extend beyond the sides of the triangle (fig. 17 - see p. 7, jm). "It is hereby directed that the chiefs of all Survey camping parties shall fly the U.S. flag and the Survey ensign from their camps at all times."
Jan Mertens, 4 July 2010