Like minerals on land, deep-sea minerals occur in a wide variety of settings related to earth’s geologic framework and history. Unlike minerals on land, however, deep-sea minerals are less accessible and sometimes poorly understood. USGS is part of a global effort to shed light on the characterization and distribution of these potentially valuable minerals.
Some deep-sea minerals are of great economic interest due to their concentrations and compositions, which can include critical rare earth elements needed for manufacturing by the technology sector and beyond. USGS investigates how and where these deposits form, what conditions contribute to their growth, how long does it for them to accumulate, and identify where other similar deposits might occur.