Core Repository

The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey’s geologic repository — the Research Collections and Education Center — houses a variety of carefully organized and maintained earth-science materials. These collections are essential to improving our scientific understanding of the geology and natural resources of the state of Wisconsin.

Map of Wisconsin showing source locations of core held in WGNHS repositoryWhat’s in our repository?

To date, the WGNHS core repository holds:

Rock cores

  • Cores from more than 2,000 drillholes throughout the state are cataloged and available for study.
  • These cores comprise more than 600,000 linear feet of subsurface rock samples from mineral, engineering, and geologic investigations.

Individual rock samples

  • More than 15,000 hand-size rock samples are labeled and stored.
  • These samples represent hundreds of investigations of the geology of Wisconsin.

Water-well cuttings

  • Cuttings from more than 11,000 individual water-wells throughout the state are available.
  • These cuttings include 570,000 individual samples, each covering a 5-foot interval, collectively representing approximately 2.7 million linear feet of drilling.

Supporting documentation

  • Computerized databases provide in-house access to a variety of related information.
  • Field notes, geologic logs, geophysical logs and records, thin sections, and assays supplement the cores, cuttings, and samples.
  • The inventory of WGNHS publications describe the various studies, mapping projects, and related investigations and build on the information contained in the data collections.

Value of geologic collections

The present-day replacement cost of the geologic materials housed in our core repository is conservatively estimated to be $120 mil­lion to $140 million; many parts of the collections are unique and irreplaceable. Protecting these materials is vital because geologists frequently reanalyze existing samples as new environmental issues come to the forefront, as advances in technology and equipment allow for different types of analyses, and as geologic theory evolves.

Outreach at the repository

The WGNHS Research Collections and Education Cen­ter includes approximately 20,000 square feet for the collections. In addition, as the name implies, the facil­ity also has space for an educational area, giving Survey staff the opportunity to develop programs and host workshops that have a hands-on component for groups interested in learning more about the geology and hydrogeology of Wisconsin.

The 2-minute video on this page provides a brief tour and a fun behind-the-scenes view of our core repository.


Contact information

Core Repository
211 S. Blue Mounds Street
Mount Horeb, Wisconsin 53572
Phone: (608) 262-1705
Appointment required

The WGNHS Research Collections and Education Center is managed by Carsyn Ames, our Samples Coordinator. Please email her at to schedule a visit.

Using our repository for research

Printer-friendly PDF (with map to repository)