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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USGS logo
July 17, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey has evaluated three methods for estimating how much oil and gas could be produced by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into petroleum reservoirs.

Image shows a map of the Mid-Continent of the United States
July 17, 2017

No, it’s not a title for a new reality-dating TV show, but it is real science! It also describes the ideal mineral deposit.

Image shows industrial piles of gray rock
June 29, 2017

Slag. Depending on where you’re from, it may be an insult, a term meaning trash, or, in our case, the waste left over from metal smelting or refining. Outside of the construction industry, it might seem that uses for slag are considered limited.

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Old Perpetual Geyser
April 11, 2017

A joint study between the USGS Water and Energy Mission Areas has the main goals of quantifying groundwater resources and geothermal energy potential in much of eastern Oregon, northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, and northernmost Nevada. This study area lies within a broadly-defined Northwest Volcanic Province (NVP) that has been dominated by volcanic eruptions that have shaped the...

geologists doing Alaskan field work with helicopter
January 31, 2017

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

Image: Southeast Missouri Helicopter Survey
January 31, 2017

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....

Map of Undiscovered Cooper Estimate in the Middle East
January 31, 2017

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.

Image: Red and Bonita Mine
January 31, 2017

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

clean laboratory
January 31, 2017

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....

minerals information sources icon
January 31, 2017

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.

quartz albite zircon
January 31, 2017

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

Remote sensing map
January 31, 2017

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

rare earth oxides
January 17, 2017

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....

Midcontinent aeromagnetic anomalies
January 17, 2017

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....

a specimen found on a rock in the river
December 19, 2016

Although there are ways of developing causal relationships between stressors and aquatic community responses without experimentation; some argue that experimental manipulation under controlled conditions is both critical and necessary to establish causation. Single species toxicity tests are the gold standard for developing toxicant biological response relationships however these tests are...

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MCS 2017 cover
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.

wind turbines
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.  

Example GIS data layers
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.

eudialyte and bastnäsite samples
April 12, 2016

Mineral Deposit Models

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

Energy Data
March 4, 2016

Energy Data

Browse all energy-related datasets.

Tools of the trade for a US Geological Survey engraver- the burin and the hand lens, resting on a contours engraving.
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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Alaska Geologic Map
March 7, 2016

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

Image: Climax Molybdenum Mine
March 7, 2016

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.

U.S. mine and mineral processing plant locations
March 7, 2016

Maps of facilities for both international and domestic locations.

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Year Published: 2017

Geologic map of the northern White Hills, Mohave County, Arizona

IntroductionThe northern White Hills map area lies within the Kingman Uplift, a regional structural high in which Tertiary rocks lie directly on Proterozoic rocks as a result of Cretaceous orogenic uplift and erosional stripping of Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata. The Miocene Salt Spring Fault forms the major structural boundary in the map area....

Howard, Keith A.; Priest, Susan S.; Lundstrom, Scott C.; Block, Debra L.
Howard, K.A., Priest, S.S., Lundstrom, S.C., and Block, D.L., 2017, Geologic map of the northern White Hills, Mohave County, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3372, pamphlet 31 p., scale 1:50,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3372.

Year Published: 2017

Quantifying the heterogeneity of the tectonic stress field using borehole data

The heterogeneity of the tectonic stress field is a fundamental property which influences earthquake dynamics and subsurface engineering. Self-similar scaling of stress heterogeneities is frequently assumed to explain characteristics of earthquakes such as the magnitude-frequency relation. However, observational evidence for such scaling of the...

Schoenball, Martin; Davatzes, Nicholas C.
[complete this] Schoenball, Martin, and Davatzes, Nicholas C., 2016, Quantifying the heterogeneity of the tectonic stress field using local and global borehole data: Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1002/2017JB014370.

Year Published: 2017

The Neogene genus Streptochilus (Brönnimann and Resig, 1971) from the Gulf of California

Four species of the planktonic foraminiferal genus Streptochilus from key Neogene marine localities are documented in relation to the evolution of the Gulf of California: S. globigerus, S. latus, S. macdougallae sp. nov., and S. inglei sp. nov. Planktonic foraminiferal bioevents and strontium isotopes in the Bouse, Tirabuzón, Carmen and Ojo de...

Miranda Martínez, A.Y.; Carreño, A.L.; McDougall, Kristin
Miranda-Martínez, A. Y., Carreño, A. L., & McDougall, K. (2017, April). The Neogene genus Streptochilus (Brönnimann and Resig, 1971) from the Gulf of California. Marine Micropaleontology. Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marmicro.2017.05.001

Year Published: 2017

Geologic map of the Beacon Rock quadrangle, Skamania County, Washington

The Beacon Rock 7.5′ quadrangle is located approximately 50 km east of Portland, Oregon, on the north side of the Columbia River Gorge, a scenic canyon carved through the axis of the Cascade Range by the Columbia River. Although approximately 75,000 people live within the gorge, much of the region remains little developed and is encompassed by the...

Evarts, Russell C.; Fleck, Robert J.
Evarts, R.C., and Fleck, R.J., 2017, Geologic map of the Beacon Rock quadrangle, Skamania County, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3367, pamphlet 61 p., scale 1:24,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3367.

Year Published: 2017

Regional and temporal variability of melts during a Cordilleran magma pulse: Age and chemical evolution of the jurassic arc, eastern mojave desert, California

Intrusive rock sequences in the central and eastern Mojave Desert segment of the Jurassic Cordilleran arc of the western United States record regional and temporal variations in magmas generated during the second prominent pulse of Mesozoic continental arc magmatism. U/Pb zircon ages provide temporal control for describing variations in rock and...

Barth, A.P.; Wooden, J.L.; Miller, David; Howard, Keith A.; Fox, Lydia; Schermer, Elizabeth R.; Jacobson, C.E.
Regional and temporal variability of melts during a Cordilleran magma pulse: Age and chemical evolution of the Jurassic arc, eastern Mojave Desert, California. Barth A.P., Wooden J.L., Miller D.M., Howard K.A., Fox L.K., Schermer E.R., Jacobson C.E. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 5 October 2016. v. 129 no. 3-4 p. 429-448

Year Published: 2017

Assessing changes in the physico-chemical properties and fluoride adsorption capacity of activated alumina under varied conditions

Adsorption using activated alumina is a simple method for removing fluoride from drinking water, but to be cost effective the adsorption capacity must be high and effective long-term. The intent of this study was to assess changes in its adsorption capacity under varied conditions. This was determined by evaluating the physico-chemical properties...

Craig, Laura; Stillings, Lisa; Decker, David L.

Year Published: 2017

Reconnaissance sedimentology of selected tertiary exposures in the upland region bordering the Yukon Flats basin, east-central Alaska

This report summarizes reconnaissance sedimentologic and stratigraphic observations made during six days of helicopter-supported fieldwork in 2002 on Tertiary sedimentary rocks exposed in the upland region around the flanks of the Yukon Flats basin in east-central Alaska (fig. 1). This project was a cooperative effort between the Alaska Division...

LePain, David L.; Stanley, Richard G.
LePain, D.L., and Stanley, R.G., 2017, Reconnaissance sedimentology of selected Tertiary exposures in the upland region bordering the Yukon Flats basin, east-central Alaska: LePain, D.L., and Stanley, R.G., 2017, Reconnaissance sedimentology of selected Tertiary exposures in the upland region bordering the Yukon Flats basin, east-central Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Preliminary Interpretive Report 2016-6, 14 p. http://doi.org/10.14509/29700 Preliminary Interpretive Report 2016-6, 14 p. http://doi.org/10.14509/29700

Year Published: 2017

Geologic map of the Providence Mountains in parts of the Fountain Peak and adjacent 7.5' quadrangles, San Bernardino County, California

IntroductionThe Providence Mountains are in the eastern Mojave Desert about 60 km southeast of Baker, San Bernardino County, California. This range, which is noted for its prominent cliffs of Paleozoic limestone, is part of a northeast-trending belt of mountainous terrain more than 100 km long that also includes the Granite Mountains, Mid Hills,...

Stone, Paul; Miller, David M.; Stevens, Calvin H.; Rosario, Jose J.; Vazquez, Jorge A.; Wan, Elmira; Priest, Susan S.; Valin, Zenon C.
Stone, Paul, Miller, D.M., Stevens, C.H., Rosario, Jose, Vazquez, J.A., Wan, Elmira, Priest, S.S., and Valin, Z.C., 2017, Geologic map of the Providence Mountains in parts of the Fountain Peak and adjacent 7.5' quadrangles, San Bernardino County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3376, pamphlet 52 p., scale 1:24,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3376.

Year Published: 2017

Geospatial analysis identifies critical mineral-resource potential in Alaska

Alaska consists of more than 663,000 square miles (1,717,000 square kilometers) of land—more than a sixth of the total area of the United States—and large tracts of it have not been systematically studied or sampled for mineral-resource potential. Many regions of the State are known to have significant mineral-...

Jacques, Katherine; Landowski, Claire; Karl, Susan; Labay, Keith A.
Karl, S.M., and Labay, K.A., Geospatial analysis identifies critical mineral-resource potential in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3012, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173012.

Year Published: 2017

Mineral commodity summaries 2017

This report is the earliest Government publication to furnish estimates covering 2016 nonfuel mineral industry data. Data sheets contain information on the domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, and 5-year salient statistics for more than 90 individual minerals and materials.

Ober, Joyce A.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Mineral commodity summaries 2017: U.S. Geological Survey, 202 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/70180197.

Year Published: 2017

Mobilization of mercury and arsenic from a carbonate-hosted ore deposit, central Idaho, U.S.A.

The Cinnabar and Fern mine sites in central Idaho are primary source areas for elevated mercury and arsenic entering the South Fork of the Salmon River, which provides critical spawning habitat for bull trout and Chinook salmon. Mercury mineralization is hosted by carbonate rocks, which generate waters dominated by Ca2+ and HCO3 - at pH 7 to 9. A...

Holloway, JoAnn M.; Pribil, Michael; McCleskey, R. Blaine; Etheridge, Alexandra B.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Aiken, George R.
Holloway, J.M, Pribil, M.J., McCleskey, R.B., Etheridge, A.B., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Aiken, G.R., 2017, Mobilization of mercury and arsenic from a carbonate-hosted ore deposit, central Idaho, U.S.A.: Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 17, 610-613. http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.163

Year Published: 2017

Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits—A review

Newly synthesized data indicate that the geochemistry of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits varies extensively and continuously from subalkaline basaltic to rhyolitic compositions. Trace element and isotopic data for these rocks are consistent with subduction-related magmatism and suggest that the primary source magmas were...

du Bray, Edward A.
du Bray, E.A., 2017, Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits—A review: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 80, p. 767-783

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April 19, 2017
See the actual drone footage at: https://www.usgs.gov/media/videos/prescribed-burn-tall-timbers-research-... Footage of drone during a prescribed fire at Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida (April 19, 2017).
Minerals in mobile devices infographic
April 6, 2017
This infographic displays the different minerals located in mobile devices. Included within this infographic are: Display: Silica Sand and Bauxite Silica Sand: A mobile device's glass screen is very durable because glassmakers combine its main ingredient, silica (silicon dioxide or quartz) sand, with ceramic materials and then add potassium. Bauxite: Gallium provides light emitting diode (LED)...
Close up of Conglomerate (Gold Ore)
March 23, 2017
Rock : Conglomerate (Gold Ore) Contains sediments of Precambrian age; contains about 8 grams of gold per ton of rock. Mineral Origin : Witwatersrand formation, South Africa. The gold in the Witwatersrand Basin area was deposited in Archean river deltas having been washed down from surrounding gold-rich greenstone belts to the north and west. Primary mineral commodity : Gold Primary Mineral...
Close up of Spodumene
March 23, 2017
Mineral origin: Hallman Beam Mine, Cherryville, NC Primary mineral commodity: Lithium Uses: batteries for cell phones, laptops, and electric and hybrid vehicles
Close up of Alumina-Zirconia
March 23, 2017
Mineral : Alumina-Zirconia Abrasive Mineral Origin : Manufactured in Huntsville, AL (Sample on loan from J.B. Hedrick) Primary Commodity : Aluminum and zirconia Primary Commodity Uses : This abrasive is primarily used in metal casting and the foundry process
Close up of Chalcopyrite
March 23, 2017
Mineral : Chalcopyrite Mineral Origin : Bingham Canyon, UT Primary Commodity : Copper Primary Commodity Uses : Copper is used primarily in electronics, mostly in building construction and industrial electronics.
Close up of Feldspar
March 23, 2017
Mineral : Feldspar Primary Commodity : Feldspar Primary Commodity Uses : Feldspar is one of the most common minerals on the planet and is mostly used for glassmaking and ceramics.
Close up of salt, sodium, chlorine
March 23, 2017
Mineral : Halite (NaCl) Primary mineral Commodity : Salt Commodity Uses : Highway deicing accounted for about 44% of total salt consumed in 2016. Salt is also used as feedstock for chlorine and caustic soda manufacture; these two inorganic chemicals are used to make many consumer-related end-use products, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic made from chlorine and paper-pulping chemicals...
Close up Stibnite
March 23, 2017
Stibnite (Sb2S3) is the predominant ore mineral of antimony. Antimony compounds help prevent skin burns, increase battery life, and refine glass used for cellphones. A surprising 83% of antimony consumed stateside is imported—mostly from China—leaving the US susceptible to supply disruption. The largest domestic antimony resource (estimated at 41,000 tonnes) is in a meso- to epithermal gold-...
Close up of Chalcopyrite, Pentlandite, and Pyrrhotite
March 23, 2017
Mineral : Chalcopyrite, Pentlandite, Pyrrhotite Mineral Origin : Creighton Mine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada (Sample on loan from George J. Coakley) Primary Commodity : Copper and nickel Primary Commodity Uses : Copper is used primarily in electronics, mostly in building construction and industrial electronics. Nickel is mostly used in stainless steel and other superalloys.
Close up of Silicon Carbide
March 23, 2017
Mineral : Silicon Carbide Mineral Origin : Sample donated by Norton Company Primary Commodity : Silica (abrasive) Primary Commodity Uses : Just as their name implies, abrasives are used to abrade, clean, etch, grind, polish, scour, or otherwise remove material
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USGS logo
July 17, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey has evaluated three methods for estimating how much oil and gas could be produced by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into petroleum reservoirs.

Image shows a map of the Mid-Continent of the United States
July 17, 2017

No, it’s not a title for a new reality-dating TV show, but it is real science! It also describes the ideal mineral deposit.

Image shows industrial piles of gray rock
June 29, 2017

Slag. Depending on where you’re from, it may be an insult, a term meaning trash, or, in our case, the waste left over from metal smelting or refining. Outside of the construction industry, it might seem that uses for slag are considered limited.

Image shows remnants of an abandoned mine in a hilly, forested area
June 9, 2017

At USGS, although the rocks we study are millions of years old, our scientific methods are cutting edge! Here's just one example of how we use creative problem-solving to help crystalize a solution to a complex issue.

Prescribed Burn at Tall Timbers Research Station
May 24, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners are taking technology to the next level, using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called drones, to acquire both fire intensity and emissions data during prescribed burns.

Image shows a scan of an apatite grain on a black background
May 11, 2017

No one wants to have an active volcano in their backyard (just ask Dionisio Pulido), but ancient eroded volcanoes can sometimes be literal goldmines for mineral ores.

Image shows a color-based map of the various magnetic readings of the Great Basin
May 3, 2017

Vast mineral wealth has been discovered in the Great Basin since the 1800s. As each new generation of prospectors and geologists brings their cutting-edge tools with them, the arid ridgelines of the desert Southwest have shown more and more potential.

Image shows black pans with gold grains
April 25, 2017

Whether you pan for gold or rare earths, you’ll get a lot of sand...and this EarthWord!

Image shows an Alaskan Mountain viewed through hyperspectral imaging
April 20, 2017

We've got a library full of spectral signatures, like a police fingerprint library for minerals and other substances!

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