In 1879, the office of director of the U.S. Geological Survey was authorized by Congress (20 Stat. L. 394), which made appropriations "for sundry civil expenses of the government." Clarence King, the first director, was nominated on 21 Mar 1879 and started work on May 24, 1879.
The Survey was national in scope for the classification of public lands and their geological structure, mineral resources, and products. The first geological survey financed by Congress was authorized by act of Congress on 28 Jun 1834 (4 Stat. L. 394) which provided $5,000 for a survey made by George William Featherstonhaugh of the land between the Missouri and Red Rivers. The earliest survey at state expense was made in 1830-33 by Massachussetts. link