Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center

Geophysics and Remote Sensing

The Branch of Geophysics and Spectroscopy employs both field and airborne data acquisition to conduct their science. The Branch acquires and analyzes potential field data (magnetic and gravity) to permit construction of a 3D geologic framework of the crust of the earth.  They likewise acquire and interpret electrical and electromagnetic data that permit the development of 3D models of material property variation used in geological and hydrostratigraphic models.  Petrophysical measurement of hand or outcrop samples provide a link between available materials and remote measurements. Hyperspectral data is acquired and interpreted to understand surface materials, including mineralogy, oil, and vegetation, for applications to mineral resource potential, wildfires, and environmental and human health studies. Spectra of minerals and other materials are added to the USGS Spectral Library.

Active Projects (in addition to below)

Interdisciplinary Methods and Applications in GEophysics (IMAGE)

Spectroscopy and Hyperspectral Imaging of Critical Mineral Resources

Geophysical Studies on the Architecture of Large Igneous Systems Hosting Magmatic Ore Deposits

Critical mineral resources in heavy mineral

Filter Total Items: 16
Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Active

Geophysical Infrastructure Studies: Earthen Dams and Abandoned Mine Lands

Geophysical Infrastructure Studies is comprised of a series of applied research projects focused on studying site-specific problems at earthen dams and abandoned mine lands. An appropriate suite of geophysical methods are chosen for each project and its particular goals and geologic environment. These projects are funded by the federal agencies in charge of the risk mitigation, assessment, or...

Contacts: Bethany Burton
Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Active

ROSETTA-Ice — Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

ROSETTA-Ice is a large, NSF-funded, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional project with several major goals focused on the full ice shelf system of the Ross Ice Shelf that include the ice, underlying seafloor bathymetry, and ocean interaction. Methods include the first comprehensive LC-130-based airborne geophysical survey of the Ross Ice Shelf to measure ice thickness and accumulation (...

Contacts: Bethany Burton
Date published: September 20, 2018
Status: Active

Northeast Bedrock Mapping Project

The Northeast Bedrock Mapping Project consists of scientists conducting geologic mapping and scientific research of complexly deformed crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks in the Northeastern United States. Current mapping activities are focused in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. The Project produces high-quality, multi-purpose digital geologic maps and accompanying...

Contacts: Gregory Walsh
Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Completed

Mineville, Eastern Adirondacks – Geophysical and Geologic Studies

The USGS is using a set of advanced imaging and analysis tools to study the rocks within the eastern Adirondacks of upstate New York. The goal of these studies is to gain a better understanding of the geology and mineral resources in the area.

Contacts: Anjana K Shah
Date published: July 31, 2018
Status: Active

Metal Transport in Mineralized Mountain Watersheds

The central objective of this project is to develop a greater understanding of deep bedrock groundwater circulation and its contribution to surface water metal loads in mineralized mountain blocks composed of sedimentary rocks. This work is being performed in cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as part of a broader research program aimed at understanding processes...

Date published: May 8, 2018
Status: Active

Geophysics of the Midcontinent Rift Region

The Midcontinent Rift system and surrounding Precambrian rocks are known to host highly significant mineral resources. Our project objectives are to increase understanding of this system through the integration of new and legacy geophysical data with geochemical and borehole data, map the lithology and structure of PreCambrian rocks, and develop an integrated 3D geologic model of the region....

Date published: May 8, 2018
Status: Active

Continental Scale Geophysics — Integrated Approaches to Delineate Prospective Environments for Critical Metals

Regional geophysical data that are available over continental scales such as magnetic, gravity, and magnetotelluric data can provide a foundation towards identifying and understanding the footprints and deep plumbing systems underlying these important ore systems. Our project will use continental-scale geophysical data to map the locations of deep crustal and mantle structures that may act as...

Date published: April 11, 2018
Status: Active

Development and Validation of Hyperspectral Imager for Field and Lab Scanning

The Mineral Resources Program has advanced methods of imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral remote sensing) that are now used routinely by the earth science and remote sensing communities for mineral mapping, soil quality mapping, hazard mitigation, and other terrestrial and planetary applications. The USGS is highly qualified to advance this technology based on its world class expertise in...

Contacts: Raymond Kokaly
Date published: April 6, 2018
Status: Active

USGS High Resolution Spectral Library

The USGS Spectral Library contains reflectance spectra, including samples of minerals, rocks, soils, physically constructed as well as mathematically computed mixtures, plants, vegetation communities, microorganisms, and man-made materials. The samples and spectra collected were assembled for the purpose of using spectral features for the remote detection of these and similar materials. The...