Energy and Minerals
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
The Energy and Minerals Mission Area conducts research and assessments that focus on the location, quantity, and quality of mineral and energy resources, including the economic and environmental effects of resource extraction and use.View Science Strategy
Although sparsely populated, this area in southeastern Oregon, northeastern California, northwestern Nevada, and southeastern Idaho has high geothermal heat flow that may be used to generate large amounts of electricity.
Geologic, geophysical, and geochemical studies evaluate Alaska’s mineral endowment of strategic and critical minerals not found elsewhere in the United States.
Geophysical tools and techniques allow us to see geologic units and structures on and beneath the Earth’s surface to understand how mineral resources are distributed.
Mineral resource assessments are a tool used for determining the potential for undiscovered domestic and global deposits of minerals such as copper. Land management agencies, industry and the public use this unbiased mineral resource information to help determine future resource development.
Understanding potential and existing environmental impacts promotes sustainable development of needed mineral materials and responsible stewardship of our natural resources.
Laboratories provide data to help characterize and improve understanding of mineral resources and materials. Diverse technique and method development support our Program's research and provide data to other land management agencies and the public.
Information on domestic and international supplies and uses of mineral commodities is essential to the U.S. economy and to national security. Statistics and information on domestic and international minerals production, consumption, and materials flow is collected based on surveys of the domestic mineral industry and foreign governments.
Demand for critical mineral commodities is on the rise with increasing applications in consumer products such as phones and tablets. Research and assessment activities address the need for more up-to-date information on the nation's and the world's critical mineral resources.
Geological, geochemical and geophysical studies in the midcontinent region of the U.S. help to better understand the region’s potential for critical mineral resources in rocks that are deeply buried.
Water quality and aquatic life standards that are set by Federal and state regulatory agencies are used to evaluate the quality of our nation’s water and the health of aquatic ecosystems. These standards currently are based on hardness of the water and are determined for single metals, not for mixtures of metals that are typically found in natural systems. Metal mixtures can potentially be...
A Baseline Assessment of Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment and Biota in Proximity to Coal Transport Tracks in the Pacific Northwest (2014)
This dataset provides baseline concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), other aromatic organic compounds, mercury (Hg), and trace metal concentrations in sediment and biota collected from two sites along an existing rail line used for coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington.
Periodical publications that provide statistical data on production, distribution, stocks, and consumption of significant mineral commodities. Information on minerals-related issues, including minerals conservation, sustainability, availability, materials flow, and the economic health of the U.S. minerals industry is also available.
USGS has recently undertaken a project to develop a methodology for assessing wind energy impacts on wildlife at a national scale. The USGS data set provides industrial-scale onshore wind turbine locations in the United States through July 22, 2013.
Interactive maps and downloadable data for regional and global geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and mineral resources. Includes web services providing data for users of Geographic Information System software (GIS). Links to portals for minerals information, geochemical data, and geophysical data.
View and download map-based energy data, search energy GIS data collections, browse the coal photomicrograph atlas and coal quality database, perform an advanced publications search, explore seismic reflection profiling data in Alaska, look at and print world geology maps, peruse the energy multimedia library, and more.
Mine plants and operations for commodities monitored by the National Minerals Information Center of the USGS. Operations included are those considered active in 2003 and surveyed by the USGS.
A time-lapse gravity survey of the Coso geothermal field, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, California
We have conducted a gravity survey of the Coso geothermal field to continue the time-lapse gravity study of the area initiated in 1991. In this report, we outline a method of processing the gravity data that minimizes the random errors and instrument bias introduced into the data by the Scintrex CG-5 relative gravimeters that were used. After...Phelps, Geoffrey; Cronkite-Ratcliff, Collin; Blake, Kelly
New geologic mapping of the northwestern Willamette Valley, Oregon, and its American Viticultural Areas (AVAs)—A foundation for understanding their terroir
A geologic map of the greater Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area is planned that will document the region’s complex geology (currently in review: “Geologic map of the greater Portland metropolitan area and surrounding region, Oregon and Washington,” by Wells, R.E., Haugerud, R.A., Niem, A., Niem, W., Ma, L., Evarts, R., Madin, I., and others)....Wells, Ray E.; Haugerud, Ralph A.; Niem, Alan; Niem, Wendy; Ma, Lina; Madin, Ian; Evarts, Russell C.
Geologic map of the Lower Valley quadrangle, Caribou County, Idaho
The Lower Valley 7.5-minute quadrangle, located in the core of the Southeast Idaho Phosphate Resource Area, includes Mississippian to Triassic marine sedimentary rocks, Pliocene to Pleistocene basalt, and Tertiary to Holocene surficial deposits. The Mississippian to Triassic marine sedimentary sequence was deposited on a shallow shelf between an...Oberlindacher, H. Peter; Hovland, R. David; Miller, Susan T.; Evans, James G.; Miller, Robert J.
Disentangling the effects of low pH and metal mixture toxicity on macroinvertebrate diversity
One of the primary goals of biological assessment of streams is to identify which of a suite of chemical stressors is limiting their ecological potential. Elevated metal concentrations in streams are often associated with low pH, yet the effects of these two potentially limiting factors of freshwater biodiversity are rarely considered to interact...Fornaroli, Riccardo; Ippolito, Alessio; Tolkkinen, Mari J.; Mykrä, Heikki; Muotka, Timo; Balistrieri, Laurie S.; Schmidt, Travis S.
Computational fluid dynamics simulations of the Late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville flood
At approximately 18.0 ka, pluvial Lake Bonneville reached its maximum level. At its northeastern extent it was impounded by alluvium of the Marsh Creek Fan, which breached at some point north of Red Rock Pass (Idaho), leading to one of the largest floods on Earth. About 5320 km3 of water was discharged into the Snake River drainage and...Abril-Hernández, José M.; Periáñez, Raúl; O'Connor, Jim E.; Garcia-Castellanos, Daniel
James Dwight Dana and John Strong Newberry in the US Pacific Northwest: The roots of American fluvialism
Recognition of the power of rivers to carve landscapes transformed geology and geomorphology in the late nineteenth century. Wide acceptance of this concept—then known as “fluvialism”—owes to many factors and people, several associated with exploration of western North America. Especially famous are the federal geographic and geologic surveys of...O'Connor, Jim E.
Stress concentrations at structural discontinuities in active fault zones in the western United States: Implications for permeability and fluid flow in geothermal fields
Slip can induce concentration of stresses at discontinuities along fault systems. These structural discontinuities, i.e., fault terminations, fault step-overs, intersections, bends, and other fault interaction areas, are known to host fluid flow in ore deposition systems, oil and gas reservoirs, and geothermal systems. We modeled stress transfer...Siler, Drew; Hinz, Nicholas H.; Faulds, James E.
Rare earth element and rare metal inventory of central Asia
Rare earth elements (REE), with their unique physical and chemical properties, are an essential part of modern living. REE have enabled development and manufacture of high-performance materials, processes, and electronic technologies commonly used today in computing and communications, clean energy and transportation, medical treatment and health...Mihalasky, Mark J.; Tucker, Robert D.; Renaud, Karine; Verstraeten, Ingrid M.
Thermal influences on spontaneous rock dome exfoliation
Rock domes, with their onion-skin layers of exfoliation sheets, are among the most captivating landforms on Earth. Long recognized as integral in shaping domes, the exact mechanism(s) by which exfoliation occurs remains enigmatic, mainly due to the lack of direct observations of natural events. In August 2014, during the hottest days of summer, a...Collins, Brian D.; Stock, Greg M.; Eppes, Martha C.; Lewis, Scott W.; Corbett, Skye C.; Smith, Joel B.
The Colorado River and its deposits downstream from Grand Canyon in Arizona, California, and Nevada
Understanding the evolution of the Colorado River system has direct implications for (1) the processes and timing of continental-scale river system integration, (2) the formation of iconic landscapes like those in and around Grand Canyon, and (3) the availability of groundwater resources. Spatial patterns in the position and type of Colorado River...Crow, Ryan S.; Block, Debra L.; Felger, Tracey J.; House, P. Kyle; Pearthree, Philip A.; Gootee, Brian F.; Youberg, Ann M.; Howard, Keith A.; Beard, L. Sue
Punctuated sediment discharge during early Pliocene birth of the Colorado River: Evidence from regional stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology
The Colorado River in the southwestern U.S. provides an excellent natural laboratory for studying the origins of a continent-scale river system, because deposits that formed prior to and during river initiation are well exposed in the lower river valley and nearby basinal sink. This paper presents a synthesis of regional stratigraphy,...Dorsey, Rebecca J.; O’Connell, Brennan; McDougall-Reid, Kristin; Homan, Mindy B.
Ore-forming adakitic porphyry produced by fractional crystallization of oxidized basaltic magmas in a subcrustal chamber (Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China)
Adakitic intrusions are supposed to have a close genetic and spatial relationship to porphyry Cu deposits. However, the genesis of adakitic intrusions is still under dispute. Here, we describe newly discovered intrusive complex rocks, which are composed of ore-bearing, layered magnetite-bearing gabbroic and adakitic rocks in Jiamate, East Junggar...Hong, Tao; Xu, Xing-Wang; Gao, Jun; Peters, Stephen; Zhang, Di; Jielili, Reyaniguli; Xiang, Peng; Li, Hao; Wu, Chu; You, Jun; Liu, Jie; Ke, Qiang
This map shows the countries that supply mineral commodities for which the United States was more than 50 percent import reliant in 2017.
Tim Collett, USGS research geologist, presenting at the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources' (KIGAM) international program for geoscience resources.
USGS scientists, Bill Waite, Tim Collett, and Seth Haines in front of a archway in Daejeon, South Korea
Core storage facility at the the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon, South Korea
Tim Collett, research geologist in gas hydrates, is chief for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program gas hydrate research efforts offering a presentation on unconventional oil and gas resources at KIGAM, the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon, South Korea
Seth Haines, USGS research geophysicist, on a Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources laboratory tour, which included stops at their gas hydrate and sediment pressure chamber - it's a whopping 320 gallons, dwarfing even Seth, a 6-footer. The chamber is the silvery ring and the black cylinder beneath it. It's so big and heavy that it gets wheeled out of that cold room on a set...
The natural oil seep in this photo is located in Pescadero Creek County Park, where the Canyon Trail crosses Tarwater Creek. The oil is black, has a taffy-like consistency, and smells like motor oil.
The Half Moon Bay oil field is one of the oldest oil fields in California and was first developed during the 1880s. Since then, the field has produced an estimated 60,000 barrels of oil from about 19 wells. Most of the old wells have been plugged and abandoned, but this well was reworked in 1980 and produces small volumes of oil from thin sandstone layers of the Miocene and Pliocene Purisima...
Welcome to the USGS GeoLog Locator, an online tool for viewing and downloading digital borehole geophysical logs. These borehole logs are used to answer scientific questions about things like groundwater availability, geologic structure of the Earth, and certain characteristics of the structure of the soil and rock formations. The Geolog map viewer allows users to zoom and click on individual...
Fish Creek wanders through the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.
Permafrost forms a grid-like pattern in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 22.8 million acre region managed by the Bureau of Land Management on Alaska's North Slope. USGS has periodically assessed oil and gas resource potential there. These assessments can be found here.
U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of Energy Release Online Public Dataset and Viewer of U.S. Wind Turbine Locations and Characteristics
Today, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association, released the United States Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) and the USWTDB Viewer to access this new public dataset.
U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners have created an onsite, time-saving technique for building inspectors to ascertain whether vermiculite insulation contains amphibole asbestos. The findings are featured in the April 2 edition of American Mineralogist.
After lying hidden in sediments for thousands of years, delicate frozen gas structures are in the spotlight for both scientific research and the national interest. These structures, known as gas hydrate, are being investigated by scientists the world over for their possible contributions to the global energy mix, as well as their potential interaction with the environment.
Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying airplane above the broader Iron Mountain-Escanaba-Marquette region starting at the beginning of April, 2018.
Instead of requiring costly dredging to remove sediment buildup behind water reservoirs and diversions, sediment from reservoirs in the Missouri River Basin could actually be used as fracking proppant feedstock, also known as frac sand, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.
For several years, KIGAM, the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, has hosted an international program for geoscience resources (IS-Geo). The IS-Geo program draws together federal and private-sector professionals from the international community to discuss a range of specific geoscience and mineral topics.
Interior Seeks Public Comment on Draft List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy
List includes minerals key to all sectors of economy including tech and defense
U.S. mines produced an estimated $75.2 billion of raw mineral materials in 2017 – a 6 percent increase over 2016 – the U.S. Geological Survey announced Wednesday, January 31, in its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries.
The first great geologic expeditions of the United States set off in the mid-1800s, equipped with mules, rifles, and early scientific instruments. Their goal: to uncover the great mineral wealth of the United States and learn about its earliest geologic history.
New Interior Department Survey Shows Significant Increase in Recoverable Energy Resources in Federal, State and Tribal Lands and Waters in Alaska
The Department of the Interior has announced petroleum assessments from the
Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.
It would be no exaggeration to say that without minerals, no aspect of our daily lives would be possible.