Energy and Minerals


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April 19, 2017

Prescribed Burn — Tall Timbers Research Station, FL (Drone)

Drone footage of a prescribed fire at Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida (April 19, 2017).

Minerals in mobile devices infographic
April 6, 2017

Minerals in Mobile Devices — Infographic

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.
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 of Tungsten Ore - Wolframite
March 23, 2017


Mineral: Wolframite
Primary Commodity: Tungsten
Primary Commodity Uses: Tungsten is one of the densest metals on the planet, and therefore gets used in metalworking and construction, as well as in heat sinks, weights, and even vibrating batteries.

Close up of Vanadinite
March 23, 2017


Mineral: Vanadinite
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

Close up of Fluorite
March 23, 2017


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

Close up of Rutile
March 23, 2017


Mineral: Rutile
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.

Close up of Bismuthinite
March 23, 2017


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 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 Chalcopyrite
March 23, 2017


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


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