Energy and Minerals

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March 31, 2017

Drilling a Research Well in the Eagle Ford

USGS scientists drill a research well near Waco, Texas, as part of the assessment of oil and gas resources in the Eagle Ford Group.  Cores like these provide information on the various rock layers, such as their make-up, their age, etc. 

Close up Stibnite
March 23, 2017

Stibnite

Stibnite (Sb2S3) is the predominant ore mineral of antimony. Antimony compounds help prevent skin burns, increase battery life, and refine glass used for cellphones. A surprising 83% of antimony consumed stateside is imported—mostly from China—leaving the US susceptible to supply disruption. The largest domestic antimony resource (estimated at 41,000 tonnes) is in a meso-

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Close up of Chalcopyrite, Pentlandite, and Pyrrhotite
March 23, 2017

Chalcopyrite, Pentlandite, and Pyrrhotite

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

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Close up of salt, sodium, chlorine
March 23, 2017

Salt, Sodium, Chlorine

Mineral: Halite (NaCl)
Primary mineral Commodity: Salt
Commodity Uses: Highway deicing accounted for about 44% of total salt consumed in 2016. Salt is also used as feedstock for chlorine and caustic soda manufacture; these two inorganic chemicals are used to make many consumer-related end-use products, such as

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Close up of Bertrandite
March 23, 2017

Bertrandite

Mineral: Bertrandite (in carbonate clasts that have been largely replaced by fluorite (purple) that contains submicroscopic bertrandite)
Mineral Origin: Spor Mountain, UT
Primary Commodity: Beryllium
Primary Commodity Uses: Beryllium alloys are used in making connectors, springs, switches

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Full view of Molybdenite
March 23, 2017

Molybdenite

Mineral: Molybdenite
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

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Full view of Bauxite sample
March 23, 2017

Bauxite

Mineral: Bauxite
Mineral Origin: Les Baux, France (Sample donated by Gary Kingston)
Primary Commodity: Aluminum and Gallium
Primary Commodity Uses: Aluminum is one of the most used metals on the planet, finding roles in transportation, construction, packaging, electronics, and other consumer

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Close up of Lead
March 23, 2017

Lead

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.

Close up of Bauxite
March 23, 2017

Bauxite

Mineral: Bauxite
Mineral Origin: Les Baux, France (Sample donated by Gary Kingston)
Primary Commodity: Aluminum and Gallium
Primary Commodity Uses: Aluminum is one of the most used metals on the planet, finding roles in transportation, construction, packaging, electronics, and other consumer

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Close up of Graphite
March 23, 2017

Graphite in Pegmatite Rock

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

Close up of Bastnaesite
March 23, 2017

Bastnaesite (the reddish parts) in Carbonatite

Mineral: Bastnaesite (the reddish parts) in Carbonatite
Mineral Origin: Mountain Pass, CA
Primary Commodity: Rare earth elements
Primary Commodity Uses: Rare earth elements are used to make strong magnets for smartphone speakers, microphones, vibration motors, smartphone screens, as well as

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Close up of Specularite
March 23, 2017

Specularite

Mineral: Specularite (a variety of Hematite)
Mineral Origin: Republic Mine, MI
Primary Mineral Commodity: Iron
Commodity Uses: Steelmaking