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December 16, 2020


USGS Mineral Resources Program Highlights for the Fall 2020 Edition of the USGS Energy Quarterly Newsletter

As Fall 2020 ends, here are a few highlights from the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s recent activities and publications.

Earth MRI FY2020 Projects

Earth MRI Map
Earth MRI Map (Public domain.)

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geologists funded new projects in 21 states with $7.97 million in fiscal year 2020 to improve the Nation’s mapping of shallow and deep geology. These projects are part of the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s Earth Mapping Resource Initiative.


Image shows a map and key of the United States with mineral locations marked with colored shapes
Known Mineral Locations in the United States. (Public domain.)

Just as alloys make steel stronger, research allies make mineral science better. Geoscience Australia, the Geological Survey of Canada, and the USGS are coordinating their critical mineral mapping and research efforts to create a shared foundation of mineral information to help ensure a safe and secure supply of the materials needed for each country’s economy and security.

GeoDAWN Partnership

Click on image for full description.
*Project Status: In progress as of September, 2020.Sources:… more at 

Resource managers and policymakers will soon have a better idea of the potential for critical mineral and geothermal energy resources in western Nevada, thanks to a new multiagency partnership led by the USGS and the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office. The effort will include airborne geophysical and lidar data collection, as well as geologic mapping and geochemical analysis of rock and brine samples.

Earth MRI Flights

geophysical data map Arkansas
Thumnail image of airborne geophysical data collected over northwest Arkansas during 2019-2020. This image was released with USGS data release Airborne magnetic and radiometric survey over northwest Arkansas, 2019-2020, (Public domain.)

When learning more about ancient rocks buried deep beneath the surface of the Earth, it may seem surprising to use futuristic technologies flown hundreds of feet in the air, but that has been central to the USGS Earth Mapping Resource Initiative. Recent flights include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and South Carolina.

Recent Publications: 

More USGS Mineral Resources Program Publications can be found here

Recent Data Releases: 

More USGS Mineral Resources Program Data Releases can be found here

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