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RESTON, Va. — The U.S. Geological Survey will invest $500,000 to map geology and critical mineral resources in New York in partnership with the New York State Geological Survey.

The funding comes in part from an investment by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI), which provides $320 million over five years through the USGS to advance scientific innovation and map critical minerals vital to the Nation’s supply chains, economy and national defense. The work will modernize our understanding of the Nation’s fundamental geologic framework and improve knowledge of domestic critical mineral resources, a key step in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of the critical minerals that power everything from household appliances and electronics to clean energy technologies like batteries and wind turbines.

The Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (MRI) investment will enable airborne geophysical surveys to take place west of the Adirondack Mountains, in the lowlands near the St. Lawrence River. The survey will cover an area of about 3000 square miles.

“The last geophysical survey flown in this region was a low-resolution survey more than 40 years ago. The new data will create a foundation for understanding the geology in the area, both near the surface and buried below, with applications to multiple fields including mineral resources, earthquake hazards and natural radioactivity,” said Anji Shah, lead USGS scientist for the effort.

“This is an unprecedented survey that will provide data to understand the geological history of New York State and identify areas that may have renewable energy resources. This project will help drive geological investigations in the region for decades,” said Andrew Kozlowski, Director of the New York State Geological Survey Mapping Program.

The critical mineral commodities that are included in the research projects in New York are:

  • Cobalt, used in rechargeable batteries and superalloys
  • Fluorspar, used in the manufacture of aluminum, cement, steel, gasoline and fluorine chemicals
  • Gallium, used for integrated circuits and optical devices like LEDs
  • Germanium, used for fiber optics and night vision applications
  • Graphite, used for lubricants, batteries and fuel cells
  • Indium, used in liquid crystal display screens
  • Rare earth elements group, primarily used in magnets and catalysts
  • Tin, used as protective coatings and alloys for steel
  • Titanium, used as a white pigment or metal alloys
  • Vanadium, primarily used as alloying agent for iron and steel
  • Zinc, primarily used in metallurgy to produce galvanized steel
  • Zirconium, used in the high-temperature ceramics and corrosion-resistant alloys

The airborne surveys will include the collection of magnetic and radiometric data. These different methods can be used to map rocks at the surface beneath trees and vegetation and, in some cases, several miles underground. Magnetic data, which image the deepest rocks, can be used to identify ancient faults, magma bodies and other geologic features, while radiometric data indicate relative amounts of potassium, uranium and thorium in shallow rocks and soil and can also be used to characterize mine waste.

More information can be found here. To learn more about how the USGS is investing the resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, visit our website. To learn more about USGS mineral-resource and commodity information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter.

Editor's Note: an earlier version of this news release had a different headline and sub-headline. No content was changed due to inaccuracies and all information within the news release remains accurate.

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