Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center

Economic and Framework Geology

The Economic and Framework Geology Branch studies the occurrence and formation processes of earth materials that can be used for economic, technological, or industrial purposes. The Branch uses several tools, including exploration geochemistry, geologic mapping and field observations combined with geochronology studies, tectonics, structural geology, and crustal fluid flow to advance understanding of the controls on orebody formation in the Earth’s crust. The Branch combines information on framework geology, mineral deposit models, geophysical setting, geochemistry, and environmental signatures of ore deposits to develop specialized mineral deposit databases and provide robust assessments of mineral commodities and their environmental expressions in support of land management decisions and resource management.

Additional Projects (in addition to the ones below)

Iron Oxide-Copper-Cobalt-Gold-Rare Earth Element Deposits of Southeast Missouri

Filter Total Items: 26
Date published: May 25, 2018
Status: Completed

Tellurium in Igneous-related Epithermal Precious Metal Deposits in Colorado and New Mexico

The project aims to improve our understanding of the causes of tellurium enrichment in epithermal precious metal deposits, and strengthen our ability to assess the Nation's tellurium deposits. Tellurium is used in solar panel technologies and is considered a critical mineral. Epithermal deposits of this type represent a prospective future source of tellurium.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Tectonic and Metallogenic Evolution of the Yukon-Tanana Upland, Alaska

The Yukon-Tanana upland in eastern interior Alaska is a geologically complex block containing deposits of base-metal, platinum-group-element, and gold-silver-copper mineralization. It also hosts numerous mineral systems that are known or suspected to contain critical minerals.

Date published: April 6, 2018
Status: Active

Denver Microbeam Laboratory: Mineral Resources Research Support

The USGS Denver Microbeam Laboratory provides chemical analysis and characterization of rocks, minerals, and environmental samples in support of a wide variety of USGS projects related to mineral resources, including research projects funded by the USGS Mineral Resources Program. The research applications for these projects range from mineral resource research and assessments, to geologic...

Date published: April 2, 2018
Status: Completed

Heavy-Mineral Sand Resources in the Southeastern U.S.

We are assessing the extent of industrial mineral resources hosted by heavy-mineral sands in the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. “Heavy-mineral sands" (HMS) is a term commonly used in industry and geologic literature to describe layered sediments deposited in coastal environments that contain dense (“heavy") minerals of economic value. The heavy minerals extracted from these...

Date published: September 29, 2017
Status: Completed

New Mineral Deposit Models for Gold, Phosphate Rare Earth Elements, and Placer Rare Earth Element-Titanium Resources

USGS Mineral Deposit Models are "an organized arrangement of information describing the essential characteristics or properties of a class of mineral deposits. Models themselves can be classified according to their essential attributes (for example: descriptive, grade-tonnage models, genetic, geoenvironmental, geophysical, probability of occurrence, and quantitative process models)." (Stoeser...

Contacts: Ryan D Taylor
Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Completed

Petrogenesis and REE Metallogenesis of 1.4 Ga Magmatism in the Conterminous U.S.

This project evaluated the petrology and metallogeny of rare earth element-mineralized 1.4 Ga intrusive systems at Mountain Pass and in the St. Francois Mountains relative to those of other, apparently, unmineralized 1.4 Ga intrusive systems in the conterminous U.S.

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Completed

Sagebrush Mineral Resource Assessment

The USGS Mineral Resources Program completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately10 million acres of federal and adjacent lands in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. 

Date published: September 30, 2016
Status: Completed

Nonmetallic Industrial Mineral Resources of the U.S.

In 2012, this project initiated a multi-year effort to characterize domestic nonmetallic industrial mineral resources that are important for national infrastructure, agriculture, and energy development. Activities included (1) a national-scale compilation of production data, providing a snapshot of the nonmetallic industrial mineral deposits that were of significance through the 20th century...

Date published: March 3, 2016
Status: Active

Denver Microbeam Laboratory

TThe USGS Denver Microbeam Laboratory provides critical analytical and characterization support for a wide variety of internal USGS projects and external collaborators. In addition, the lab continually works to develop new methods or improve existing methods to analyze a variety of sample matrices. 

Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Critical Metals in Black Shales

Project objectives were to improve the understanding of critical mineral enrichment in black shales and improve accuracy of resource assessments.

Date published: September 30, 2015
Status: Completed

Bokan Mountain and Dora Bay Rare Earth Element Deposits, Prince of Wales Island, Alexander Terrane, Southeast Alaska

We sought to characterize the Dotson Zone heavy-rare earth element (HREE) enriched deposit at Bokan Mountain, Alaska, and conduct a parallel characterization and comparison of a less well-mineralized HREE analogue at Dora Bay, Alaska.

Contacts: Cliff D Taylor
Date published: September 30, 2013
Status: Completed

Basement Tectonic Framework of the U.S.: Role of Cratonization of Juvenile Crust and Structural Modification in Forming Metallogenic Provinces

Project objectives were to publish a map of the nation's geologic basement. The map portrayed these pieces (domains) from the most ancient to recent, by the events that influenced their composition, starting with their origin.