Mission Areas

Mineral Resources Program

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The USGS Mineral Resources Program delivers unbiased science and information to understand mineral resource potential, production, consumption, and how minerals interact with the environment.

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Mineral Statistics and Commodity Information

Mineral Statistics and Commodity Information

Statistics and information on minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy, the national security, and protection of the environment published by the National Minerals Information Center.

Minerals Information

Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data

Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data

Interactive maps and downloadable data for regional and global geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and mineral resources.

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Science Priorities

We study geologic processes that concentrate known mineral resources at specific localities in the Earth's crust, and assess quantities, qualities, and areas of undiscovered mineral resources, or potential future supply.

Minerals Information and Material Flow

Characterization and Identification of Critical Mineral Resources

Geologic and Mineral Resource Studies in Alaska

Characterization of the Midcontinent Region Mineral Resources

Assessment of Undiscovered Mineral Resources

Discover Our Science

News

Image shows a detail of a yellow mineral on white rock
November 14, 2017

Estimates of Potential Uranium in the Southern High Plains Could Equal Just Under One Year of U.S. Needs.

Investigating Lung Disease in Military Veterans
November 10, 2017

Six years ago, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had trouble breathing normally. The list of potential causes that soldiers were exposed to seemed endless: smoke from burn pits used for trash disposal, desert dust, diesel generator exhaust, humidity and temperature extremes, explosives, and city trash and sewage.

Image shows two scientists in hard hats collecting a research core aboard a drill rig
October 11, 2017

Eureka often accompanies this EarthWord.

The USGS Mineral Resources Program supports data collection and research on nonfuel mineral resources. We study geologic processes that form known mineral resources at specific areas in the Earth's crust and assess potential future supply of mineral resources.

Our Science Activities
Filter Total Items: 12
geologists doing Alaskan field work with helicopter
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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
Date Published: 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.

Poudre River looking upstream.
Date Published: August 12, 2016

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...

Image shows a scan of a grain of pyrite rimmed with stibnite, with varying levels of arsenic shown in a color gradient.
Date Published: March 3, 2016
Status: Active

The laboratory capabilities include imaging, x-ray analysis, x-ray mapping, image processing, and optical microscopy.

Our Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data web portal is our primary resource for interactive maps and downloadable data for regional and global geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and mineral resources.

Find Data
Filter Total Items: 6
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.

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.

mineral fact sheets
April 12, 2016

Mineral Commodity Fact Sheets

We publish fact sheets on selected important mineral commodities. These fact sheets teach about commodities and the important role each one plays in the national economy, national security, and lives of Americans every day.

eudialyte and bastnäsite samples
April 12, 2016

Mineral Deposit Models

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

example soil geochemistry data
April 1, 2016

Geochemical and Mineralogical Maps for Soil for the Conterminous U.S.

Online data set provides an estimate of the abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements and minerals in soils of the conterminous United States and represents a baseline for soil geochemistry and mineralogy against which future changes may be recognized and quantified.

example spectral reflectance plot
March 14, 2016

USGS Digital Spectral Library

References for material identification in remote sensing images. The library contains spectral reflectance data for of hundreds of materials, including minerals, vegetation, organic and volatile compounds, and man-made materials.

Filter Total Items: 4
example soil geochemistry data
April 1, 2016

Online data set provides an estimate of the abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements and minerals in soils of the conterminous United States and represents a baseline for soil geochemistry and mineralogy against which future changes may be recognized and quantified.

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.

Filter Total Items: 878
Year Published: 2017

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.

Year Published: 2017

Detrital zircon geochronology of quartzose metasedimentary rocks from parautochthonous North America, east-central Alaska

We report eight new U-Pb detrital zircon ages for quartzose metasedimentary rocks from four lithotectonic units of parautochthonous North America in east-central Alaska: the Healy schist, Keevy Peak Formation, and Sheep Creek Member of the Totatlanika Schist in the northern Alaska Range, and the Butte assemblage in the northwestern Yukon-Tanana...

Dusel-Bacon, Cynthia; Holm-Denoma, Christopher S.; Jones, James V.; Aleinikoff, John N.; Mortensen, James K.
Dusel-Bacon, C., Holm-Denoma, C.S., Jones, J.V. III, Aleinikoff, J.N., and Mortensen, J.K., 2017, Detrital zircon geochronology of quartzose metasedimentary rocks from parautochthonous North America, east-central Alaska: Lithosphere, v. 9, no. 6, p. 927–952; GSA Data Repository Item 2017332; https://doi.org/10.1130/L672.1

Year Published: 2017

Mineralogical characterization of weathered outcrops as a tool for constraining water chemistry predictions during project planning

Weathered samples from naturally exposed outcrops of troctolite associated with a magmatic Ni-Cu sulphide deposit were characterized by synchrotron-based micro-X-ray fluorescence mapping (µ-XRF) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), as well as by lab-based X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and wet chemical methods....

Diedrich, Tamara; Fix, Paul; Foster, Andrea L.
T. Diedrich, P. Fix, and A. Foster (2017) Mineralogical characterization of weathered outcrops as a tool for constraining water chemistry predictions during project planning. Proceedings of IMWA 2017, "Mine Water and Circular Economy" , Wolkersdorfer C, Sartz L., and Hakkinen A, Editors, p. 712-719

Year Published: 2017

Miocene−Pleistocene deformation of the Saddle Mountains: Implications for seismic hazard in central Washington, USA

The Yakima fold province, located in the backarc of the Cascadia subduction zone, is a region of active strain accumulation and deformation distributed across a series of fault-cored folds. The geodetic network in central Washington has been used to interpret large-scale N-S shortening and westward-increasing strain; however, geodetic data are...

Staisch, Lydia; Kelsey, Harvey; Sherrod, Brian; Möller, Andreas; Paces, James B.; Blakely, Richard J.; Styron, Richard
Lydia Staisch, Harvey Kelsey, Brian Sherrod, Andreas Möller, James Paces, Richard Blakely, Richard Styron; Miocene−Pleistocene deformation of the Saddle Mountains: Implications for seismic hazard in central Washington, USA. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B31783.1

Year Published: 2017

Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance

Successful delivery of the United Nations sustainable development goals and implementation of the Paris Agreement requires technologies that utilize a wide range of minerals in vast quantities. Metal recycling and technological change will contribute to sustaining supply, but mining must continue and grow for the foreseeable future to ensure that...

Ali, Saleem H.; Giurco, Damien; Arndt, Nicholas; Nickless, Edmund; Brown, Graham; Demetriades, Alecos; Durrheim, Ray; Enriquez, Maria Amélia; Kinnaird, Judith; Littleboy, Anna; Meinert, Lawrence D.; Oberhänsli, Roland; Salem, Janet; Schodde, Richard; Schneider, Gabi; Vidal, Olivier; Yakovleva, Natalia
Saleem, H.A., Giurco, D., Arndt, N., Nickless, E., Brown, G., Demetraides, A., Durrheim, R., Enriquez, M.A., Kinnaird, J., Littleboy, A., Meinert, L.D., Oberhansli, R., Salem, J., Schodde, R., Schneider, G., Vidal, O., and Yakovleva, N. (2017). Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance. Nature 543:367-372, doi:10.1038/nature21359.

Year Published: 2017

Introduction to the 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) professional paper

The amount of yet-to-find oil and gas in the high northern latitudes is one of the great uncertainties of future energy supply. The possibility of extensive new petroleum developments in the Arctic Ocean is of interest to the Arctic nations, to petroleum companies, and to those concerned with the delicate and changing Arctic environment. The U.S....

Moore, T.E.; Gautier, D.L.; Gautier, Donald L.; Moore, Thomas E.
Gautier, D.L., and Moore, T.E., 2017, Introduction to the 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) professional paper, chap. A of Moore, T.E., and Gautier, D.L., eds., The 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1824, 9 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1824A.

Year Published: 2017

Lidar-revised geologic map of the Des Moines 7.5' quadrangle, King County, Washington

This map is an interpretation of a modern lidar digital elevation model combined with the geology depicted on the Geologic Map of the Des Moines 7.5' Quadrangle, King County, Washington (Booth and Waldron, 2004). Booth and Waldron described, interpreted, and located the geology on the 1:24,000-scale topographic map of the Des Moines 7.5'...

Tabor, Rowland W.; Booth, Derek B.
Tabor, R.W., and Booth, D.B., 2017, Lidar-revised geologic map of the Des Moines 7.5' quadrangle, King County, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3384, 17 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:24,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3384.

Year Published: 2017

Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter

Soil organic matter (SOM) supports the Earth's ability to sustain terrestrial ecosystems, provide food and fiber, and retains the largest pool of actively cycling carbon. Over 75% of the soil organic carbon (SOC) in the top meter of soil is directly affected by human land use. Large land areas have lost SOC as a result of land use practices, yet...

Harden, Jennifer W.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Ahlström, Anders; Blankinship, Joseph C.; Bond-Lamberty, Ben; Lawrence, Corey; Loisel, Julie; Malhotra, Avni; Jackson, Robert B.; Ogle, Stephen M.; Phillips, Claire; Ryals, Rebecca; Todd-Brown, Katherine; Vargas, Rodrigo; Vergara, Sintana E.; Cotrufo, M. Francesca; Keiluweit, Marco; Heckman, Katherine; Crow, Susan E.; Silver, Whendee L.; DeLonge, Marcia; Nave, Lucas E.
Harden JW, Hugelius G, Ahlström A, et al. Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter. Glob Change Biol. 2017;00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13896

Year Published: 2017

The story of a Yakima fold and how it informs Late Neogene and Quaternary backarc deformation in the Cascadia subduction zone, Manastash anticline, Washington, USA

The Yakima folds of central Washington, USA, are prominent anticlines that are the primary tectonic features of the backarc of the northern Cascadia subduction zone. What accounts for their topographic expression and how much strain do they accommodate and over what time period? We investigate Manastash anticline, a north vergent fault propagation...

Kelsey, Harvey M.; Ladinsky, Tyler C.; Staisch, Lydia; Sherrod, Brian; Blakely, Richard J.; Pratt, Thomas; Stephenson, William; Odum, Jackson K.; Wan, Elmira
Kelsey, H. M., Ladinsky, T. C., Staisch L., Sherrod, B. L., Blakely, R. J., Pratt, T. L.,… Wan, E. (2017). The story of a Yakima fold and how it informs late Neogene and Quaternary backarc deformation in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Manastash anticline, Washington, USA. Tectonics, 36, 2085–2107. https://doi.org/10.1002/ 2017TC004558

Year Published: 2017

A record of change - Science and elder observations on the Navajo Nation

A Record of Change - Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo Nation is a 25-minute documentary about combining observations from Navajo elders with conventional science to determine how tribal lands and culture are affected by climate change. On the Navajo Nation, there is a shortage of historical climate data, making it difficult to assess...

Hiza-Redsteer, Margaret M.; Wessells, Stephen M.
Redsteer, M.H., and Wessells, S.M., 2017, A record of change—Science and elder observations on the Navajo Nation: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 181, video, 25 minutes, https://doi.org/10.3133/gip181. [Video also available in Navajo language, 28 minutes.]

Year Published: 2017

Geology and undiscovered resource assessment of the potash-bearing Pripyat and Dnieper-Donets Basins, Belarus and Ukraine

Undiscovered potash resources in the Pripyat Basin, Belarus, and Dnieper-Donets Basin, Ukraine, were assessed as part of a global mineral resource assessment led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Pripyat Basin (in Belarus) and the Dnieper-Donets Basin (in Ukraine and southern Belarus) host stratabound and halokinetic Upper Devonian (...

Cocker, Mark D.; Orris, Greta J.; Dunlap, Pamela; Lipin, Bruce R.; Ludington, Steve; Ryan, Robert J.; Słowakiewicz, Mirosław; Spanski, Gregory T.; Wynn, Jeff; Yang, Chao
Cocker, M.D., Orris, G.J., and Dunlap, Pamela, with contributions from Lipin, B.R., Ludington, Steve, Ryan, R.J., Słowakiewicz, Mirosław, Spanski, G.T., Wynn, Jeff, and Yang, Chao, 2017, Geology and undiscovered resource assessment of the potash-bearing Pripyat and Dnieper-Donets Basins, Belarus and Ukraine: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5090–BB, 116 p., and spatial data, https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20105090BB.

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.

Filter Total Items: 66
October 26, 2017
  • The U.S. is increasingly reliant on supply of mineral raw materials from other countries.
  • Advanced technologies are increasingly making use of nearly the entire periodic table of the elements.
  • Dynamic studies of critical and strategic mineral supply and demand can identify emerging potential supply risks.
  • The USGS - National Minerals Information Center has assumed a leading role in mineral criticality studies.
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) backlighting. Bauxite is the primary source of this commodity.
  • Electronics: Chalcopyrite and Silicon
    Chalcopyrite: The content of copper in a mobile device far exceeds the amount of any other metal. Copper conducts electricity and heat and comes from the source mineral chalcopyrite. 
    Silicon: Silicon, very abundant in the Earth's crust, is produced from the source mineral quartz and is the basis of integrated circuits.
  • Battery: Spodumene
    Spodumene and subsurface brines are the sources of lithium used in cathodes of lithium-ion batteries.
  • Circuitry: Wolframite and Tetrahedrite
    Wolframite: Wolframite is a source of tungsten, which acts as a heat sink and provides the mass for mobile phone vibration.
    Tetrahedrite: Tetrahedrite is a primary source of silver. Silver-based inks on composiste boards create electrical pathways through a device.
  • Speakers and Vibration: Bastnaesite
    Bastnaesite is a source of rare-earth elements used to produce magnets in speakers, microphones, and vibration motors.

 

Full view of Molybdenite
March 23, 2017

Mineral: Molybdenite
Mineral Origin: Henderson Mine, Empire, CO
Primary Mineral Commodity: Molybdenum
Mineral Commodity Uses: In the late 19th century, French metallurgists discovered that molybdenum, when alloyed (mixed) with steel in small quantities, creates a substance that is remarkably tougher than steel alone and is highly resistant to heat. The alloy was found to be ideal for making tools and armor plate. Today, the most common use of molybdenum is as an alloying agent in stainless steel, alloy steels, and superalloys to enhance hardness, strength, and resistance to corrosion.

Close up of Vanadinite
March 23, 2017

Mineral: Vanadinite
Mineral Origin: J.C. Holmes Claim, Patagonia, AZ (Sample donated by G. van Oss)
Primary Commodity: Vanadium
Primary Commodity Uses: Vanadium is used mostly in metal alloys, primarily in car parts and jet engines. The United States is currently 100% reliant on foreign sources for vanadium used here.

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

Close up of Graphite
March 23, 2017

Mineral: Graphite (C) in pegmatite rock
Mineral Origin: Ticonderoga, NY
Primary Mineral Commodity: Graphite
Mineral Commodity Uses: brake linings, foundry operations, heat-resistant lubricants, refractory applications, and steelmaking

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 Tungsten Ore - Wolframite
March 23, 2017

Mineral: Wolframite
Primary Commodity: Tungsten
Primary Commodity Uses: Tungsten is one of the densest metals on the planet, and therefore gets used in metalworking and construction, as well as in heat sinks, weights, and even vibrating batteries.

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 Commodity Uses: 45% jewelry, 45% investments and finance, and the remaining 10% is for technological and industrial use (75% of that going to producing electronics).

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 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 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

News Releases, Technical Announcements, and other items of interest. Subscribe to the USGS Minerals News RSS feed to keep up with the latest news.

USGS Minerals News
Filter Total Items: 78
Investigating Lung Disease in Military Veterans
November 10, 2017

Six years ago, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had trouble breathing normally. The list of potential causes that soldiers were exposed to seemed endless: smoke from burn pits used for trash disposal, desert dust, diesel generator exhaust, humidity and temperature extremes, explosives, and city trash and sewage.

Image shows two scientists in hard hats collecting a research core aboard a drill rig
October 11, 2017

Eureka often accompanies this EarthWord.

Image shows a detail shot of finchite
October 1, 2017

Everyone’s seen the news–scientists discover a new species of fly and name it for Beyonce; scientists discover a new species of monkey and auction its name off; etc. Hundreds of new species of animals, plants, and other organisms are discovered and named every year. But did you know that dozens of minerals are discovered every year too?

Map of Crested Butte Low-Level Flight Study Area
September 25, 2017

Editor:  In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

Image shows a geologic map of the Lower 48
August 21, 2017

A carbonatite here, a glacial moraine there, a zig-zagging fault or two, even a behemoth of a batholith. The geology of the 50 States is an enormous patchwork of varied forms, beautiful in their variance but challenging to present as a single map.

House damage in central Oklahoma from a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011
August 11, 2017

Editor:  In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project.  Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

Image shows a map of Eastern Europe with the assessed basins shown in colored polygons
August 3, 2017

The Dnieper-Donets Basin of Ukraine could contain an estimated 4.3 billion tons of undiscovered potassium-bearing salt according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey assessment. In addition, previous estimates show that the nearby Pripyat Basin of Belarus could contain 80–200 billion metric tons of undiscovered potash resources.

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.

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.

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