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)

Filter Total Items: 28
Date published: August 23, 2021
Status: Active

Geophysics of Precambrian Terranes, Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountains

The project objective is to provide follow-up geophysical ground data acquisition and interpretation for areas involving Precambrian geologic settings in the Upper Midwest and Rocky Mountains. The project is designed fill gaps and to complement the high-quality aeromagnetic acquired during the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI).

Date published: September 10, 2020
Status: Active

Interdisciplinary Methods and Applications in Geophysics (IMAGe)

The project focuses on the development of novel geophysical techniques that improve our ability to understand Earth's subsurface, with broad relevance to the Mineral Resources Program and the USGS Science Strategy. Our goal is to develop and maintain state-of-the art geophysical capabilities that support the diverse science needs of USGS projects that aim to meet the challenges of the 21st...

Contacts: Burke Minsley
Date published: August 20, 2020
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: August 20, 2020
Status: Active

Spectroscopy and Hyperspectral Imaging of Critical Mineral Resources

Our project will characterize the primary critical minerals (minerals that contain critical elements in their base structure) that are not yet in the USGS Spectral Library. We propose to increase understanding of the spectral indicators of critical minerals using lab-based studies of hand specimens and drill core, hyperspectral field scanning, and hyperspectral images collected from aircraft...

Date published: July 31, 2020
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: July 17, 2020
Status: Active

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

Platinum group elements, also known as PGEs, are a group of elements that have specific properties which make them useful for various applications in industry. One geologic setting that contains large concentrations of platinum group elements is layered mafic intrusions. This project will use new and preexisting geophysical datasets to characterize the internal structure of layered intrusions...

Date published: June 4, 2020
Status: Active

Geophysical Mapping of Geologic Systems Host to Critical Mineral Deposits, Southern Midcontinent, US

The objective of this project is to use high-resolution state-of-the-art airborne and regional ground geophysical methods to map an underexplored region of the southern Midcontinent that is important to economic and critical mineral deposits.

Date published: November 6, 2019
Status: Active

Geophysical Infrastructure Study: Brooklyn Mine Superfund Site

A study site of the Geophysical Infrastructure Studies: Earthen Dams and Abandoned Mine Lands project.

Contacts: Bethany Burton
Date published: October 25, 2019
Status: Completed

Geophysical Research and Development

The Geophysical Research and Development Project supported the development of new and existing geophysical techniques for addressing critical geological problems. Research conducted under this project included development of needed geophysical methods and software, development of new geophysical instrumentation, and applications of geophysical techniques to frontier areas of geology.

Date published: June 26, 2019
Status: Active

Critical Mineral Resources in Heavy Mineral Sands of the U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain

In many parts of the southeastern U.S., dark-colored sands can be seen at beaches or beneath soil. These sands contain titanium, zirconium, and rare earth elements, which are considered critical mineral resources. Such sands are present in areas from the coast to a hundred miles or more inland beneath soil within the...

Contacts: Anjana K Shah
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