CSD geologists conduct basic geologic research relevant to Nebraska and the world. They engage in geologic mapping, studies of soils, sediments, sedimentary rocks, ancient environments and ancient life on Earth. They evaluate mineral and water resources through test-hole drilling, the collection of geophysical data, and laboratory analyses. They also evaluate geologic phenomenon in an environmental context. Studies conducted by CSD personnel provide the basis for effective resource management and use, water resource safety and security, the exploration and exploitation of industrial mineral and fuel resources, natural-hazard mitigation, and building-site evaluation. The work of CSD also contributes to an understanding of ancient and modern environments on the Great Plains and elsewhere.
CSD archives and disseminates a wide variety of geological and hydrogeological data. It maintains an extensive core and sediment sample inventory available for study.