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Earth MRI Funds Critical Minerals Projects in Indiana

September 30, 2020

A total of $160,000 will fund new research and preserve important data across the Hoosier State

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geologists are pleased to announce $160,000 in funding for critical minerals projects in Indiana. These funds are for FY2020 under the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, or Earth MRI.

These funds include grants to the Indiana Geological Survey for geochemical analyses for areas of central and southern Indiana that have the potential for lithium, rare earth elements and other critical minerals and to preserve and make publicly available information on critical mineral resources

“These new projects in Indiana represent the next step in our ambitious effort to improve our knowledge of the geologic framework in the United States and to identify areas that may have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources,” said Jim Reilly, director of the USGS. “The identification and prioritization of prospective areas was done in through our strong partnership with the State Geological Surveys in a series of workshops in Fall 2019.”

“This program will revitalize and update the science and geologic research and data compilation that is needed in many states for the United States to identify new geologic associations,” said John Yellich, director of the Michigan Geological Survey and president of AASG.

 “The Earth MRI effort is an outgrowth of the strong partnership between the AASG members and the USGS,” said Warren Day, Earth MRI lead scientist for the USGS. “The USGS is grateful for the scientific input and support from the State Geological Surveys, resulting in a robust body of information useful for many applications beyond mineral resources.”

The Indiana Geological Survey will participate in two geochemistry reconnaissance surveys. The first survey will focus on underclay deposits in the Illinois Basin that have the potential for lithium and rare earth elements. The second survey will look at the rare earth element potential of phosphate rocks in the Appalachian Mountains. The two surveys will be done in cooperation with the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia Geological Surveys.

The geochemistry reconnaissance surveys will provide information on mineral commodities in several formations that span multiple states. These projects will help geologists better define the poorly understood distribution of critical minerals in unconventional geologic settings across the eastern and central parts of the United States.

Earth MRI is a partnership between the USGS, State Geological Surveys and industry to acquire new geologic maps, geophysical surveys and LiDAR data to better understand the fundamental geologic framework of areas across the Nation with potential for hosting critical mineral resources. More information can be found here. To learn more about USGS mineral resource and commodity information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter.


Map of Earth MRI projects in West Virginia
USGS map of Earth MRI projects in West Virginia announced in September 2020.

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