Multidisciplinary Science Addresses Complex Resource and Environmental Issues

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The ongoing resource, climate, hazards and environmental issues of the United States are addressed in a new U.S. Geological Survey product, providing an overview of the USGS Mineral Resources Program's multidisciplinary science.

The ongoing resource, climate, hazards and environmental issues of the United States are addressed in a new U.S. Geological Survey product, providing an overview of the USGS Mineral Resources Program's multidisciplinary science.

The report highlights more than 50 selected activities that were conducted within the Integrated Methods Development Project, an interdisciplinary project designed to develop new tools and conduct innovative research integrating geologic, geophysical, geochemical, and remote-sensing expertise.

“This new product showcases the breadth and diversity of the USGS Mineral Resources Program and its ability to undertake complex research topics spanning from microscopic to planetary scales,” said USGS scientist emeritus Kathy Smith, the report’s lead editor.

The report includes studies that address the location, quantity and quality of mineral resources and the potential environmental consequences of resource development. In addition, a number of field and laboratory capabilities and interpretative methodologies are highlighted.

“These capabilities have applications to resource studies as well as to studies related to ecosystem health, human health, disaster and hazard assessment, and planetary science,” said Smith.

New tools developed within the IMDP have been applied to an extensive array of projects and research areas. For example, geophysical equipment and techniques developed in-house are now used in a variety of traditional and nontraditional mineral, energy and water resource studies, military applications and environmental investigations. Several geophysical applications include studies on climate change, volcanic hazards, geologic mapping and monitoring capabilities. Diverse applied geochemistry activities provide a process-level understanding of transport and bioavailability of metals in a variety of environmental settings.