- How does Ask-A-Geologist work?
- Who answers the questions?
- How many questions have we answered? (and other statistics)
- A brief history of Ask-A-Geologist.
- More information about Ask-A-Geologist.
Your questions are saved until 3:15 AM Pacific Time, daily.
Then, custom software forwards each question to a different USGS scientist.
Sometimes we get more questions than we can answer.
We don't reply to the extra questions because of spam problems.
We research the answer to your question, then reply directly to you.
Our goal is to reply within three working days.
USGS scientists: employees, retirees, and contractors, volunteer to answer questions.
Most scientists work on these questions on their own time, during lunch or after work.
Their job titles include geologist, hydrologist, cartographer, and technician.
Their experience ranges from recent college graduates
to senior scientists with more than 40 years of experience.
Questions are not assigned by specialty, so your question about earthquakes
might go to a specialist in ground water.
All Ask-A-Geologist scientists have a general background in the earth sciences,
and an enthusiasm for answering a broad range of questions.
Many scientists enjoy finding answers to questions outside their specialty.
Ask-A-Geologist scientists often learn new things and make new contacts
that help their regular work in multidisciplinary projects.
- We answered more than 60,000 questions October 1994 through May 2014.
- 40 USGS scientists answer questions (May 2014).
- Most scientists answer up to six questions, once per month.
- From May 2013 to May 2014:
- 94% of our emails were spam.
- We received 84 real questions per month on average.
- We answered 88% of those questions.
Ask-A-Geologist starts as an experiment with 35 USGS scientists
in Palo Alto, California.
One scientist answers all the questions received on a given day of the month.
In the first month, Ask-A-Geologist receives 127 messages.
Ask-A-Geologist shut down due to widespread layoffs at USGS.
Ask-A-Geologist is revived and reinvented,
using over 300 scientists nationwide to answer questions.
Each message received is forwarded to a different scientist.
The Ask-A-Geologist project wins the U.S. Department of Interior Innovation Award.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 209 messages.
Ask-A-Geologist shut down this month due to US Government shutdown.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 595 messages.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 1121 messages.
Due to overwhelming demand, new software limits the number
of questions answered each day.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 1147 messages.
About 60% get answers.
Ask-A-Geologist software rewritten to save all the messages for a day,
then forward to scientists for answers.
Scientists can answer questions more efficiently.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 1505 messages.
About 50% get answers.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 1723 messages.
About 51% get answers.
Published Sound Waves article on Ten Years of Ask-A-Geologist.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 313 messages, mostly spam.
About 6% get answers.
Ask-A-Geologist receives 78 real questions, and answers all of them!
Our spam filters are working!
Ask-A-Geologist shut down for 18 days due to US Government shutdown.
On average over the previous year,
Ask-A-Geologist received 84 real questions per month,
and answered 88% of those questions.
94% of Ask-A-Geologist emails were spam.
Published Sound Waves article on Twenty Years of Ask-A-Geologist.
For more information about Ask-A-Geologist, contact Rex Sanders,
Rex cannot answer earth science questions!