Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Rock Cuttings Collection


The MGS Rock Cuttings Collection consists of washed and unwashed cuttings from drilling sites throughout Maryland. The cuttings collection includes chips from rock drillings as well as cuttings from unconsolidated Coastal Plain sediment drilling. There are approximately 3,400 boxes (each containing ~20-50 envelopes of cuttings) housed in the MGS Core Library. Prior to this location, the boxes were stored off-site in a building that lacked proper climate and pest control. Only minimal preservation activities were completed on a small part of the collection following relocation. As a result, many of the boxes are in poor condition and have begun deteriorating and rotting. General collection metadata was submitted to the National Digital Catalog (NDC) in 2009, but detailed metadata was never created and no further preservation activities were completed for this collection until 2017.

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP), MGS began the preservation of the rock cuttings collection in 2017-2018 as part of its FY2017 NGGDPP grant tasks. Specifically, MGS:

Funding received as part of the FY2018 NGGDPP grant will support the continuation of the above preservation activities, with another 550 boxes of cuttings scheduled for inventory. As part of this grant, MGS will continue to add metadata to the existing rock cuttings database, submit this updated metadata to the National Digital Catalog, and re-house the cuttings as necessary.

This project preserves a collection in danger of deterioration, and provides stability for a collection that is a sought-after resource. MGS geologists – as well as geoscientists from other government agencies, universities/research institutes, and private firms – access these cuttings for their research to address geologic, hydrogeologic, geohazard, and energy/waste related issues in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. Many sets of cuttings in the MGS collection are from boreholes drilled decades ago; some cuttings may be unique and/or impossible to replace.


For inquiries regarding the MGS Rock Cuttings Collection or to schedule a visit, please contact:
Ms. Heather Quinn – 410-554-5522,


The work described above is being funded by successive grants awarded in 2017 and 2018 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP). Please visit our “Data Preservation Efforts” webpage for more information about the NGGDPP grants and the ongoing preservation efforts at MGS:
Maryland Geological Survey – Data Preservation Efforts