Phase 3 of the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) focuses on geologic belts that are favorable for hosting mineral systems that could contain the critical minerals antimony, barite, beryllium, chromium, fluorspar, hafnium, magnesium, manganese, uranium, vanadium, and zirconium. Prior phases of the Earth MRI program in Alaska focused only on rare earth elements, aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, niobium, platinum-group metals, tantalum, tin, titanium, and tungsten. An additional 11 critical minerals planed for future phases of Earth MRI (As, Bi, Cs, Ga, Ge, In, Re, Rb, Sc, Sr, Te) are considered prospective in these focus areas. Together, Alaska focus areas address 22 of the 35 minerals or mineral material groups presently deemed critical. This report describes the methodology and techniques utilized to define focus areas for future data acquisition in Alaska; the conterminous United States are covered in a separate report.
Focus areas are identified using a mineral systems framework, which accounts for all the possible tectonic and geologic settings where co-genetic mineral deposits may form. These deposits contain many commodities, including byproduct and critical minerals. Large system-scale processes may be evaluated using such a framework to determine the influence they play on critical mineral endowment within the deposits. Analyzing larger mineral systems provides an integrated and broad context to determine how and where critical minerals are sourced, transported, and deposited in geologic systems.
Statewide geological, geochemical, geophysical, and mineral occurrence datasets informed the delineation of focus areas in Alaska. For some mineral systems, previously published data-driven prospectivity analyses for critical mineral-bearing deposit types provided the basis for focus areas. We report a total of 22 new focus areas that are prospective for phase 3 critical minerals. These new focus areas represent four different mineral systems that are known or suspected to occur in Alaska. An additional 55 focus areas that were previously identified for phase 1 and phase 2 commodities were also identified as being prospective for phase 3 critical minerals. Collectively, 102 focus areas in Alaska have known or suspected potential for hosting phase 1, phase 2, and (or) phase 3 critical minerals. These focus areas represent 17 different mineral systems also containing critical minerals that are planned for consideration in future Earth MRI phases. Thus, the focus areas delineated herein, and in previous reports for Alaska, are comprehensive for all critical minerals as presently defined and may be used to guide the collection of new geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data in the region.
|Title||Alaska focus area definition for data acquisition for potential domestic sources of critical minerals in Alaska for antimony, barite, beryllium, chromium, fluorspar, hafnium, magnesium, manganese, uranium, vanadium, and zirconium|
|Authors||Douglas C. Kreiner, James V. Jones, George N. Case|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals|