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June 23, 2020

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

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

Image shows aerial images maps


Earth MRI Aeromagnetic Surveys 

As the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s Earth Mapping Resource Initiative, or Earth MRI, wraps up its first year, some data acquisition highlights include those from the Hicks Dome, Omaha Dome, and the Coefield Anomaly of the central United States. Other Earth MRI projects, including those that are complete, ongoing, and planning to start soon, can be found here

Earth MRI Map


Identifying Targets for Earth MRI Phase 2 

For FY2019, Earth MRI focused on rare earth elements in Phase 1. Based on lessons learned in Phase 1, Earth MRI will now broaden its focus to include 10 other critical mineral commodities, including aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum group elements, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten. The USGS Mineral Resources Program has identified broad areas within the United States to target acquisition of geologic mapping, geophysical data, and detailed topographic information to aid research, mineral exploration, and evaluation of mineral potential in these areas. GIS and data focus products for these areas of interest can be found here

mine symbol map for conterminous US


Modernizing and Refining Existing Data 

The USGS Mineral Resources Program’s USMIN database continues to refine and modernize its data, releasing updated datasets periodically for each mineral commodity tracked by the USGS. Germanium is the most recent commodity updated within USMIN. In addition, USMIN has been working to develop an updated geospatial database of mines, mineral deposits and mineral regions in the contiguous United States, and has finally covered both coasts.   

Close up of Chalcopyrite, Pentlandite, and Pyrrhotite


Pyrrhotite-A Mineral to Avoid 

The USGS has released its first-ever map of where the mineral pyrrhotite may occur in the contiguous United States. This research was mandated by Congress in the FY2019 appropriations bill for the USGS and was supported by the USGS Mineral Resources Program. Pyrrhotite becomes an issue in concrete manufacturing if pyrrhotite-bearing stone is crushed up and used as filler for the concrete. Thus, identifying where it may occur can help identify where there may be a risk of pyrrhotite being included in crushed stone production. The map can be found here

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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