Geology for Austria

A hand holding a pen to the position of Austria on a relief globe. Background in a wall with a colorful mosaic.
Raised relief globe in the foyer of the Geological Survey of Austria
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Geology is omnipresent. Our daily grind is cross-linked with its geological base in different ways. In fact, how we perceive geology varies as much as the many aspects of this science which deals with the origin and structure of the Earth.

Six hands holding different stones.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

The Geological Survey of Austria (GBA) is the largest geoscientific research center in Austria. It is often called the geological conscience of the country. The legal mandate is clearly defined. The task of GBA is to study and document the geology of the country ...

A woman studies a geological map in the reading room of the Geological Survey.
The reading room of the largest geoscientific library of Austria is open to anybody interested in scientific studies.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

GBA’s mandate to serve the government as the center for information and advice in the field of geosciences is written into the law (FOG § 18). Furthermore, the website provides access to data and information anywhere and anytime. GBA’s geological maps are available as images and through web services, scientific journals can be downloaded in portable document format (pdf).

A laboratory with many hoses, cables, transparent containers and a black unit. In the background a man in a white lab coat, gloves and hat.
Clean-lab
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Water, clay, sand, gravel, limestone, marble, sandstone, granite or gneiss – only the exact determination of material composition (geochemistry) permits the interpretation in terms of formation, origin or usage.

A geologist holds a geologist compass in front of a block of stone.
The geological compass is an important tool for the geologists.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Geological maps form the most important basis for almost any geoscientific problem. The coloured display of the distribution of rock units on topographic maps accompanied by special symbols and line elements portray the orientation of these units in space. Information on rock age ...

A wooden desk on which are clear plastic bags of rock samples, pebbles, paper bags and color patterns.
A view of the clay mineral laboratory with samples and sample holders..
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Economic geologists, hydrogeologists and engineering geologists represent the applied geosciences. Their task is to evaluate occurrences of raw materials or groundwater and to assess slope stability. GBA undertakes assessments of the geo-potential of a region in the overlapping fields of resource planning, environmental protection ...

A man looking through a microscope.
Thin sections of rocks are examined using special microscopes
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Looking through a microscope is a typical activity of many geoscientists as minuscule details reveal the history of rocks. Microfossils or even smaller nannofossils represent the remains of animal or plant organisms. Micropalaeontologists use them for dating the relative age and former sedimentary environment of rocks. ...

Seen a Pontosaurus-fossil through a magnifying glass on the right. Left very vague shelving cabinets and a person.
The collections of the Geological Survey include fossils like Pontosaurus lesinensis
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Geoscientists, especially mineralogists and palaeontologists, are collectors with a scientific mission. Compared to laymen their motive is not the hunt for spectacular or big specimens but rather the responsibility to conserve pieces of evidence for future scientific work.

Different colored leaf of a plant
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

The Geological Survey of Austria fulfils a number of tasks focusing on geological mapping and surveying. The Survey is often called the “geological conscience” of Austria. Since its foundation in 1849 modern methods are used for answering questions concerning ...