Mineral Resources Program
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The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment.Visit Our Program website
The USGS Mineral Resources Program supports data collection and research on nonfuel mineral resources. We study geologic processes that form known mineral resources at specific areas in the Earth's crust and assess potential future supply of mineral resources.Our Science Activities
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.
The Mineral Resources Program publishes fact sheets on selected important commodities. These fact sheets teach about commodities and the important role each one plays in the national economy, national security, and lives of Americans every day.
Our objectives are to: 1) collect and assimilate digital geospatial data in a standardized format for minerals-related research and assessments, 2) develop and improve analytical procedures for using geospatial data in minerals products, 3) provide support for timely, quality, and reproducible mineral assessments, 4) provide easy access to the data, and 5) report results of our work in a...
Our objectives are to 1) support the science center's information technology infrastructure to carry out geospatial, scientific visualization, image processing, modeling, and map production, and 2) provide geographic information system (GIS) management and technical support.
We support the geospatial component of Mineral Resources Program research and provide public access to research results and geospatial information. We facilitate all aspects of the data life cycle, including the publication and archiving of geospatial information and products. We also develop and steward national-scale data layers considered foundational to the Mineral Resources Program as...
We provide geographic information system (GIS) support and analysis, manage geospatial data collections including documentation and distribution for several dataset types (geophysical, remote sensing, geochemical). We update currently unpublished geophysical survey data to a standardized, open-data format, document, and release the data to the public. We investigate methods development, mobile...
The National Geochemical Database project assembles, reformats, corrects, and archives historical data obtained from the geochemical analysis of millions of geologic samples collected for USGS studies. These data, representing hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of USGS research, are provided to USGS researchers; other Federal agencies; State Geological Surveys and Environmental Protection...
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 geology model of the region....
In an effort to better understand domestic resource potential, the USGS is investigating the genetic relationship among three rare earth element deposits in the southeast Mojave Desert: Music Valley (Pinto Mountains, California), Thor (New York Mountains, Nevada), and the world-class rare earth element deposit at Mountain Pass, California. Such a combined study would significantly improve our...
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...
Update of North American Airborne Radiometric Survey Data Using Advanced Statistical Techniques and Parallel Computing
The purpose of this project is to update the current gridded products created from the North American airborne gamma ray spectrometry data using new statistical techniques to analyze spatial data and to create higher quality national airborne radiometric grids.
We are updating the national mineral deposit database with accurate and current information on mineral occurrences and mines in a format readily usable for geospatial analysis, in order to meet the needs of potential users of mineral resources information. The geospatial database will include information on geology, production, resources, history, and development status. The initial focus has...
Our Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data web portal is our primary resource for interactive maps and downloadable data for regional and global geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and mineral resources.Find Data
This data release provides descriptions of more than 120 mineral regions, mines, and mineral deposits within the United States that are reported to contain enrichments of tin (Sn).
This data release provides descriptions of more than 100 mining districts, mines, and mineral occurrences (deposits and prospects) within the United States that are reported to contain enrichments of rhenium (Re). These mineral occurrences include mined deposits, exploration prospects, and other occurrences with notable concentrations of rhenium.
This data release provides descriptions and locations of 134 significant deposits in Alaska. Approximately 99 percent of past production and remaining identified resources of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc in the United States are accounted for by deposits that originally contained at least 2 metric tons (t) of gold, 85 t silver, 50,000 t copper, 30,000 t lead, and 50,000 t zinc.
This data release provides descriptions of more than 200 mineral districts, mines, and mineral occurrences (deposits, prospects, and showings) within the United States that are reported to contain substantial enrichments of the rare earth elements (REEs). These mineral occurrences include mined deposits, exploration prospects, and other occurrences with notable concentrations of the REEs.
The point and polygon layers within this database represent locations of mines, mineral occurrences (which includes deposits and prospects), and mining districts in an approximately 200-square mile area northwest of Carlin, Nevada. Tables contain additional information such as commodity, geology, deposit types, activity status, deposit resources, and mine production.
The point and polygon layers within this geodatabase present the global distribution of selected mineral resource features (deposits, mines, districts, mineral regions) for 22 minerals or mineral commodities considered critical to the economy and security of the United States as of 2017 (Sb, Ba, Be, CO, F, Ga, Ge, C, Hf, In, Li, Mn, Nb, PGE, REE, Re, Se, Ta, Te, Sn, Ti, V, Zr).
Prospect- and Mine-Related Features from U.S. Geological Survey 7.5- and 15-Minute Topographic Quadrangle Maps of the United States
These data are part of a larger USGS project to develop an updated geospatial database of mines, mineral deposits and mineral regions in the United States. Mine and prospect-related symbols, such as those used to represent prospect pits, mines, adits, dumps, tailings, etc., are currently being digitized on a state-by-state basis from USGS Historical Topographic Maps.
Interactive website allowing users to search the contents of the USGS Spectral Library Version 7 data.
Researchers at the USGS Spectroscopy Laboratory have measured the spectral reflectance of thousands of materials in the lab and compiled them in the USGS Spectral Library. Detailed sample descriptions are provided with the spectra, including the results of X-ray Diffraction, Electron Probe Micro-Analysis, and other analytical methods.
References for material identification in remote sensing images. The library contains spectral reflectance data for of hundreds of materials, including minerals, vegetation, organic and volatile compounds, and man-made materials.
Periodical publications that provide statistical data on production, distribution, stocks, and consumption of significant mineral commodities. Information on minerals-related issues, including minerals conservation, sustainability, availability, materials flow, and the economic health of the U.S. minerals industry is also available.
This data release includes the airborne magnetic survey data collected from the Manchester region of Iowa. The primary goal of the airborne magnetic survey is to map lateral variations of magnetization that are related to differences in rock type.
This map shows the distribution of selected iron-bearing minerals and other materials derived from analysis of HyMap imaging spectrometer data of Afghanistan.
Surface Materials Map of Afghanistan: Carbonates, Phyllosilicates, Sulfates, Altered Minerals, and Other Materials
This map shows the distribution of selected carbonates, phyllosilicates, sulfates, altered minerals, and other materials derived from analysis of HyMap imaging spectrometer data of Afghanistan.
USGS interactive Story Map describing the Mineral Deposits of the Midcontinent Rift System.
Online data set provides an estimate of the abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements and minerals in soils of the conterminous United States and represents a baseline for soil geochemistry and mineralogy against which future changes may be recognized and quantified.
Mine plants and operations for commodities monitored by the National Minerals Information Center of the USGS. Operations included are those considered active in 2003 and surveyed by the USGS.
The large-area material maps presented here were designed to aid in the identification of mineral groups in exposed rocks, soils, mine waste rock, and mill tailings on the Earth’s surface. Many man-made materials have spectral absorption features that can appear similar to those of various mineral groups at the spectral and spatial resolutions of Landsat and ASTER satellite data.
1:250,000-scale quadrangle maps covering Afghanistan showing the distribution of iron-bearing minerals, selected carbonates, phyllosilicates, sulfates, altered minerals, and other materials derived from analysis of HyMap imaging spectrometer data.
Rapid 3-D analysis of rockfalls
Recent fatal and damaging rockfalls in Yosemite National Park indicate the need for rapid response data collection methods to inform public safety and assist with management response. Here we show the use of multiple-platform remote sensing methods to rapidly capture pertinent data needed to inform management and the public following a several...Stock, Greg M.; Guerin, A.; Avdievitch, Nikita N.; Collins, Brian D.; Jaboyedoff, Michel
Compilation of new and previously published geochemical and modal data for Mesoproterozoic igneous rocks of the St. Francois Mountains, southeast Missouri
The purpose of this report is to present recently acquired as well as previously published geochemical and modal petrographic data for igneous rocks in the St. Francois Mountains, southeast Missouri, as part of an ongoing effort to understand the regional geology and ore deposits of the Mesoproterozoic basement rocks of southeast Missouri, USA....du Bray, Edward A.; Day, Warren C.; Meighan, Corey J.
Titanium mineral resources in heavy-mineral sands in the Atlantic coastal plain of the southeastern United States
This study examined titanium distribution in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States; the titanium is found in heavy-mineral sands that include the minerals ilmenite (Fe2+TiO3), rutile (TiO2), or leucoxene (an alteration product of ilmenite). Deposits of heavy-mineral sands in ancient and modern coastal plains are a...Van Gosen, Bradley S.; Ellefsen, Karl J.
Thermochronometry across the Austroalpine-Pennine boundary, Central Alps, Switzerland: Orogen-perpendicular normal fault slip on a major ‘overthrust’ and its implications for orogenesis
Fifty‐one new and 309 published thermochronometric ages (nine systems with closure temperatures ranging from ~450 to 70°C) from the Graubünden region of the Central Alps demonstrate that a pronounced thermal mismatch between the Austroalpine allochthon (Alpine “orogenic lid”) and the Pennine zone persisted until at least 29 Ma and, allowably...Price, Jason B.; Wernicke, Brian P.; Cosca, Michael A.; Farley, Kenneth A.
In situ LA-ICPMS U–Pb dating of cassiterite without a known-age matrix-matched reference material: Examples from worldwide tin deposits spanning the Proterozoic to the Tertiary
Cassiterite (SnO2), a main ore mineral in tin deposits, is suitable for U–Pb isotopic dating because of its relatively high U/Pb ratios and typically low common Pb. We report a LA-ICPMS analytical procedure for U–Pb dating of this mineral with no need for an independently dated matrix-matched cassiterite standard. LA-ICPMS U-Th-Pb data were...Neymark, Leonid; Holm-Denoma, Christopher S.; Moscati, Richard J.
Geologic map of the Lower Valley quadrangle, Caribou County, Idaho
The Lower Valley 7.5-minute quadrangle, located in the core of the Southeast Idaho Phosphate Resource Area, includes Mississippian to Triassic marine sedimentary rocks, Pliocene to Pleistocene basalt, and Tertiary to Holocene surficial deposits. The Mississippian to Triassic marine sedimentary sequence was deposited on a shallow shelf between an...Oberlindacher, H. Peter; Hovland, R. David; Miller, Susan T.; Evans, James G.; Miller, Robert J.
China, the United States, and competition for resources that enable emerging technologies
Historically, resource conflicts have often centered on fuel minerals (particularly oil). Future resource conflicts may, however, focus more on competition for nonfuel minerals that enable emerging technologies. Whether it is rhenium in jet engines, indium in flat panel displays, or gallium in smart phones, obscure elements empower smarter,...Gulley, Andrew L.; Nassar, Nedal T.; Xun, Sean
Disentangling the effects of low pH and metal mixture toxicity on macroinvertebrate diversity
One of the primary goals of biological assessment of streams is to identify which of a suite of chemical stressors is limiting their ecological potential. Elevated metal concentrations in streams are often associated with low pH, yet the effects of these two potentially limiting factors of freshwater biodiversity are rarely considered to interact...Fornaroli, Riccardo; Ippolito, Alessio; Tolkkinen, Mari J.; Mykrä, Heikki; Muotka, Timo; Balistrieri, Laurie S.; Schmidt, Travis S.
James Dwight Dana and John Strong Newberry in the US Pacific Northwest: The roots of American fluvialism
Recognition of the power of rivers to carve landscapes transformed geology and geomorphology in the late nineteenth century. Wide acceptance of this concept—then known as “fluvialism”—owes to many factors and people, several associated with exploration of western North America. Especially famous are the federal geographic and geologic surveys of...O'Connor, Jim E.
Stress concentrations at structural discontinuities in active fault zones in the western United States: Implications for permeability and fluid flow in geothermal fields
Slip can induce concentration of stresses at discontinuities along fault systems. These structural discontinuities, i.e., fault terminations, fault step-overs, intersections, bends, and other fault interaction areas, are known to host fluid flow in ore deposition systems, oil and gas reservoirs, and geothermal systems. We modeled stress transfer...Siler, Drew; Hinz, Nicholas H.; Faulds, James E.
The Colorado River and its deposits downstream from Grand Canyon in Arizona, California, and Nevada
Understanding the evolution of the Colorado River system has direct implications for (1) the processes and timing of continental-scale river system integration, (2) the formation of iconic landscapes like those in and around Grand Canyon, and (3) the availability of groundwater resources. Spatial patterns in the position and type of Colorado River...Crow, Ryan S.; Block, Debra L.; Felger, Tracey J.; House, P. Kyle; Pearthree, Philip A.; Gootee, Brian F.; Youberg, Ann M.; Howard, Keith A.; Beard, L. Sue
Nanometre-sized pores in coal: Variations between coal basins and coal origin
We have used small angle neutron scattering (SANS) to investigate the differences in methane and hexane penetration in pores in bituminous coal samples from the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and China, and maceral concentrates from Australian coals. This work is an extension of previous work that showed consistent differences between the extent of...Sakurovs, Richard; Koval, Lukas; Grigore, Mihaela; Sokolava, Anna; Ruppert, Leslie F.; Melnichenko, Yuri B.
PRISM provides a framework to conduct spectroscopic analysis of measurements made using laboratory, field, airborne, and space-based spectrometers. Using PRISM functions, the user can compare the spectra of materials of unknown composition with reference spectra of known materials.
- The U.S. is increasingly reliant on supply of mineral raw materials from other countries.
- Advanced technologies are increasingly making use of nearly the entire periodic table of the elements.
- Dynamic studies of critical and strategic mineral supply and demand can identify emerging potential supply risks.
- The USGS - National Minerals Information Center has ...
This infographic displays the different minerals located in mobile devices. Included within this infographic are:
- Display: Silica Sand and Bauxite
Silica Sand: A mobile device's glass screen is very durable because glassmakers combine its main ingredient, silica (silicon dioxide or quartz) sand, with ceramic materials and then add potassium.
Bauxite: Gallium provides ...
Mineral Origin: Henderson Mine, Empire, CO
Primary Mineral Commodity: Molybdenum
Mineral Commodity Uses: In the late 19th century, French metallurgists discovered that molybdenum, when alloyed (mixed) with steel in small quantities, creates a substance that is remarkably tougher than steel...
Mineral Origin: J.C. Holmes Claim, Patagonia, AZ (Sample donated by G. van Oss)
Primary Commodity: Vanadium
Primary Commodity Uses: Vanadium is used mostly in metal alloys, primarily in car parts and jet engines. The United States is currently 100% reliant on foreign sources for vanadium used...
Lead is a corrosion-resistant dense metal that is easily molded and shaped. 85% of lead in the US is used for lead-acid batteries, which are used in automobiles, as industrial-type batteries for standby power for computer and telecommunications networks, and for motive power.
Primary Commodity: Titanium
Primary Commodity Uses: The vast majority of titanium is used in whiteners in the form of titanium oxide. Titanium metal makes up a comparatively small amount of the use for titanium, but as a metal it is used in metal coatings and medical implants.
Mineral: Graphite (C) in pegmatite rock
Mineral Origin: Ticonderoga, NY
Primary Mineral Commodity: Graphite
Mineral Commodity Uses: brake linings, foundry operations, heat-resistant lubricants, refractory applications, and steelmaking
Rock: Conglomerate (Gold Ore) Contains sediments of Precambrian age; contains about 8 grams of gold per ton of rock.
Mineral Origin: Witwatersrand formation, South Africa. The gold in the Witwatersrand Basin area was deposited in Archean river deltas having been washed down from surrounding gold-rich greenstone belts to the north and west.
Mineral: Chalcopyrite, Pentlandite, Pyrrhotite
Mineral Origin: Creighton Mine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Sample on loan from George J. Coakley)
Primary Commodity: Copper and nickel
Primary Commodity Uses: Copper is used primarily in electronics, mostly in building construction and industrial electronics. Nickel...
In 1849, the discovery of gold in California sparked one of the most famous gold rushes in history. Thousands trekked across mountainous terrain to seek the precious metal, with entire industries springing up around the rush. In fact, the desire to understand our mineral resource wealth that led to the creation of the U.S. Geological Survey was in part fueled by gold rushes like this one.
Interior Releases 2018’s Final List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy
The Department of the Interior today published a list of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. This list will be the initial focus of a multi-agency strategy due in August this year to implement President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order to break America's dependence on foreign minerals
U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners have created an onsite, time-saving technique for building inspectors to ascertain whether vermiculite insulation contains amphibole asbestos. The findings are featured in the April 2 edition of American Mineralogist.
Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying airplane above the broader Iron Mountain-Escanaba-Marquette region starting at the beginning of April, 2018.
Interior Seeks Public Comment on Draft List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy
List includes minerals key to all sectors of economy including tech and defense
The first great geologic expeditions of the United States set off in the mid-1800s, equipped with mules, rifles, and early scientific instruments. Their goal: to uncover the great mineral wealth of the United States and learn about its earliest geologic history.
It would be no exaggeration to say that without minerals, no aspect of our daily lives would be possible.
USGS Estimates 40 Million Pounds of Potential Uranium Resources in Parts of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma
Estimates of Potential Uranium in the Southern High Plains Could Equal Just Under One Year of U.S. Needs.
Six years ago, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had trouble breathing normally. The list of potential causes that soldiers were exposed to seemed endless: smoke from burn pits used for trash disposal, desert dust, diesel generator exhaust, humidity and temperature extremes, explosives, and city trash and sewage.
Everyone’s seen the news–scientists discover a new species of fly and name it for Beyonce; scientists discover a new species of monkey and auction its name off; etc. Hundreds of new species of animals, plants, and other organisms are discovered and named every year. But did you know that dozens of minerals are discovered every year too?
Editor: In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.
Our Program collaborates with States, Industry, and Academia, as well as International organizations, on most research.