Mission Areas

Energy and Minerals

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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.

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Date published: April 19, 2018

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.

Date published: April 5, 2018

USGS Scientists Develop New Tool to Determine if Vermiculite Insulation Contains Asbestos

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.

Date published: March 8, 2018

Modern Perspective on Gas Hydrates

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.

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Date published: April 11, 2017
Status: Active

Hydrogeologic and Geothermal Conditions of the Northwest Volcanic Aquifers

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.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Geologic and Mineral Resource Studies in Alaska

Geologic, geophysical, and geochemical studies evaluate Alaska’s mineral endowment of strategic and critical minerals not found elsewhere in the United States.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Hyperspectral Imaging and Geophysical Surveys

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.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Assessment of Undiscovered Mineral Resources

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.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Mineral Resources and the Environment

Understanding potential and existing environmental impacts promotes sustainable development of needed mineral materials and responsible stewardship of our natural resources.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Laboratories, Analytical Research, and Methods Development

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.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Minerals Information and Materials Flow

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.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Mineral Resources Research

Understanding the formation of major mineral deposits, which provide for society’s needed resources, can have broad impact on the economy and the environment.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Data Analysis, Inventory, and Delivery

Comprehensive data storage and delivery systems serve mineral resource and related data to USGS scientists and the general public.

Date published: January 17, 2017

Characterization and Identification of Critical Mineral Resources

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.

Date published: January 17, 2017

Characterization of the Midcontinent Rift Region 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.

Date published: August 12, 2016

Potential Toxicity of Multiple Metals Associated with PGE Deposits

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...

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Date published: December 7, 2017

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.

Date published: January 31, 2017

Minerals Information Periodicals and Data Products

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.

Date published: April 26, 2016

National Wind Turbine Map & Database

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.  

Date published: April 13, 2016

Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data

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.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Mineral Deposit Models

Conceptual models describing the essential characteristics of groups of similar mineral deposits.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Energy Data

Browse all energy-related datasets.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Energy Tools

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.

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Date published: March 7, 2016

Geologic Map Data

Digital geologic maps of the U.S. States with consistent lithology, age, GIS database structure, and format.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Mining Operation and Prospecting

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.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Minerals Information Maps

Maps of facilities for both international and domestic locations.

Filter Total Items: 647
Year Published: 2018

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
Phelps, G., Cronkite-Ratcliff, C., and Blake, K., 2018, A time-lapse gravity survey of the Coso geothermal field, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1053, 25 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181053.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Wells, R.E., Haugerud, R., Niem, A., Niem, W., Ma, L., Madin, I., and Evarts, R., 2018, New geologic mapping of the northwestern Willamette Valley, Oregon, and its American Viticultural Areas (AVAs)—A foundation for understanding their terroir: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1044, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181044.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Oberlindacher, H.P., Hovland, R.D., Miller, S.T. , Evans, J.G., and Miller, R.J., 2018, Geologic map of the Lower Valley quadrangle, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3215, 6 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:24,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3215.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Riccardo Fornaroli, Alessio Ippolito, Mari J. Tolkkinen, Heikki Mykrä, Timo Muotka, Laurie S. Balistrieri, Travis S. Schmidt, Disentangling the effects of low pH and metal mixture toxicity on macroinvertebrate diversity, Environmental Pollution, Volume 235, 2018, Pages 889-898, ISSN 0269-7491.

Year Published: 2018

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
Abril-Hernández, J.M., Periáñez, R., O'Connor, J.E., and Garcia-Castellanos, D., 2018, Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations of the Late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville Flood: Journal of Hydrology, v. 561, p. 1-15, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.065.

Year Published: 2018

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.
O'Connor, J.E., 2018, James Dwight Dana and John Strong Newberry in the US Pacific Northwest; the roots of American fluvialism: The Journal of Geology, v. 126, https://doi.org/10.1086/695701.

Year Published: 2018

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.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Mihalasky, M.J., Tucker, R.D., Renaud, K., and Verstraeten, I.M., 2018, Rare earth element and rare metal inventory of central Asia: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3089, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173089.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Collins, B.D., Stock, G.M., Eppes, M.C., Lewis, S., Corbett, S.C., Smith, J.B., 2018, Thermal influences on spontaneous rock dome exfoliation, Nature Communications 9, 762, 12p., doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02728-1.

Year Published: 2018

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
Crow, R.S., Block, D., Felger, T.J., House, P.K., Pearthree, P.A., Gootee, B.F., Youberg, A.M., Howard, K.A., and Beard, L.S., 2018, The Colorado River and its deposits downstream from Grand Canyon in Arizona, California, and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1005, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181005.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Rebecca J. Dorsey, Brennan O'Connell, Kristin McDougall, and Mindy B. Homan, 2018, Punctuated sediment discharge during early Pliocene birth of the Colorado River; evidence from regional stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology: Sedimentary Geology, v. 363, p. 1-33, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.09.018.

Year Published: 2018

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
Tao Hong, Xing-Wang Xu, Jun Gao, Stephen G. Peters, Di Zhang, Reyaniguli Jielili, Peng Xiang, Hao Li, Chu Wu, Jun You, Jie Liu, Qiang Ke, 2017, Ore-forming adakitic porphyry produced by fractional crystallization of oxidized basaltic magmas in a subcrustal chamber (Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China). Lithos, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2017.11.004.

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Map of countries from which the US imports more than 50% of certain mineral commodities
December 31, 2018

The US relies on these countries for 50% or more of certain minerals

This map shows the countries that supply mineral commodities for which the United States was more than 50 percent import reliant in 2017.

Image of Tim Collett talking about Gas Hydrates
February 28, 2018

USGS in South Korea

Tim Collett, USGS research geologist, presenting at the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources' (KIGAM)  international program for geoscience resources.

USGS scientists in front of a painted archway in South Korea
February 28, 2018

USGS in Daejon, South Korea

USGS scientists, Bill Waite, Tim Collett, and Seth Haines in front of a archway in Daejeon, South Korea

Photograph of a core storage facility in South Korea
February 28, 2018

Core Storage Facility in Daejeon, South Korea

Core storage facility at the the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon, South Korea

Gas hydrate from offshore Korea
February 28, 2018

Gas Hydrate from offshore Korea

Gas hydrate from offshore Korea courtesy of the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.   Learn more about gas hydrates at https://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/hydrates/

Image of Tim Collett
February 28, 2018

USGS research geologist, Tim Collett

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

Image of Seth Haines
February 28, 2018

Gas Hydrate and Sediment Pressure Chamber

 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...

Oil with a taffy-like consistency in a natural seep along a small creek, being poked with a stick to show its gooey nature.
February 19, 2018

Natural oil seep along Tarwater Creek, San Mateo County, California

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.

In a pasture a white horse is standing in the foreground, in background is an apparatus that pumps oil from the ground.
February 2, 2018

Oil well pumping unit, Half Moon Bay oil field, California

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...

January 25, 2018

Welcome to the USGS GeoLog Locator

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...

Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 31, 2017

Fish Creek Watershed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

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.

Image shows squares of permafrost
December 31, 2017

Permafrost in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

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.

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Date published: April 19, 2018

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.

Date published: April 5, 2018

USGS Scientists Develop New Tool to Determine if Vermiculite Insulation Contains Asbestos

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.

Date published: March 8, 2018

Modern Perspective on Gas Hydrates

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.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Media Advisory: Low-Flying Airplane to Study Geology of the Central Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying airplane above the broader Iron Mountain-Escanaba-Marquette region starting at the beginning of April, 2018.

Date published: February 27, 2018

Reservoir Sediment Can be Used as Fracking Proppant

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

Date published: February 23, 2018

USGS in South Korea

 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.

Date published: February 16, 2018

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

Date published: January 31, 2018

U.S. Mines Produced an Estimated $75.2 Billion in Minerals During 2017

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.

Date published: January 25, 2018

Understanding the Mineral Resources of the Midcontinent Rift

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.

Date published: December 22, 2017

Re-Assessing Alaska's Energy Frontier

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.

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