Energy and Minerals

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Close up of Bismuthinite
March 23, 2017

Bismuthinite

Primary Commodity: Bismuth

Primary Commodity Uses: Bismuth is the heaviest of the heavy metals and the only non-toxic one at that. As such, it’s seen a lot of use in replacements for lead, as well as in medications and atomic research.

Close up of Fluorite
March 23, 2017

Fluorite

Mineral: Fluorite
Mineral Origin: Cave-in-Rock District, IL (Sample donated by H.B. Wood)
Primary Commodity: Fluorspar 
Primary Commodity Uses: Fluorspar is used directly or indirectly to manufacture products such as aluminum, gasoline, insulating foams, refrigerants, steel, and uranium fuel

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Close up of Chalcopyrite
March 23, 2017

Chalcopyrite

Mineral: Chalcopyrite
Mineral Origin: Bingham Canyon, UT
Primary Commodity: Copper
Primary Commodity Uses: Copper is used primarily in electronics, mostly in building construction and industrial electronics.

Close up of Spodumene
March 23, 2017

Spodumene

Mineral origin: Hallman Beam Mine, Cherryville, NC
Primary mineral commodity: Lithium
Uses: batteries for cell phones, laptops, and electric and hybrid vehicles

Close up of Alumina-Zirconia
March 23, 2017

Alumina-Zirconia Abrasive

Mineral: Alumina-Zirconia Abrasive
Mineral Origin: Manufactured in Huntsville, AL (Sample on loan from J.B. Hedrick)
Primary Commodity: Aluminum and zirconia
Primary Commodity Uses: This abrasive is primarily used in metal casting and the foundry process

Close up of Chromite
March 23, 2017

Chromite

Mineral: Chromite
Mineral Origin: Owings Mills, MD
Primary Commodity: Chromium
Primary Commodity Uses: Chromium mostly goes into stainless steel and other alloys, as well as in color pigments.

Full view of salt, sodium, chlorine sample
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 Sphalerite
March 23, 2017

Sphalerite

Sphalerite, zinc sulfide, is and has been the principal ore mineral in the world. Zinc uses range from metal products to rubber and medicines. Zinc alloys readily with other metals and is chemically active. On exposure to air, it develops a thin gray oxide film (patina), which inhibits deeper oxidation (corrosion) of the metal. The metal’s resistance to corrosion is an

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February 23, 2017

PubTalk 2/2017 — Geology up-close

  • How does a scanning electron microscope (SEM) work?
  • What does USGS study with the SEM?
    • Earthquakes
    • Volcanoes
    • Mineral and energy resources
    • Soil and aquifer processes

By Leslie Hayden, USGS Geologist, Diane Moore, USGS Geologist, Kathryn Watts, USGS Research Geologist, Marjorie Schulz, USGS Research

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Scintillometer sitting on top of a rock outcropping surrounded by trees
February 17, 2017

Torrs of the Ruby Batholith

Scintillometer and torrs of the Melozitna granite in the Ruby batholith.  This granite contains abundant monazite and high levels of thorium and rare earth elements. This area is part of the Bureau of Land Management's Central Yukon Planning Area, which USGS did a mineral assessment of in 2015.

January 27, 2017

NMIC - 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries Release

The National Minerals Information Center, the primary agency for collecting and analyzing nonfuel minerals information, releases the 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries, a collection of reports on over 85 commodities essential to the U.S. economy and national security.

Image shows a sample of Apophyllite and Prehnite on a black background
December 31, 2016

Sample of Apophyllite and Prehnite

These two minerals are apophyllite and prehnite. Both apophyllite, the clear crystals, and prehnite, the green mineral, are primarily prized as collectors minerals. 

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Virginia Crushed Stone Quarry, Virginia, and is 4.6cm in size.