Mission Areas

Energy and Minerals

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 139
Close up of Bastnaesite
March 23, 2017

Bastnaesite (the reddish parts) in Carbonatite

Mineral: Bastnaesite (the reddish parts) in Carbonatite
Mineral Origin: Mountain Pass, CA
Primary Commodity: Rare earth elements
Primary Commodity Uses: Rare earth elements are used to make strong magnets for smartphone speakers, microphones, vibration motors, smartphone screens, as well as many other high-tech...

February 23, 2017

2017 February Evening Public Lecture — Geology Up-Close

  • How does a scanning electron microscope (SEM) work?
  • What does USGS study with the SEM?
    • Earthquakes
    • Volcanoes
    • Mineral and energy resources
    • Soil and aquifer processes

By Leslie Hayden, USGS Geologist, Diane Moore, USGS Geologist, Kathryn Watts, USGS Research Geologist, Marjorie Schulz, USGS Research Hydrologist, and Laura...

Image shows a Scintillometer sitting on top of a rock outcropping surrounded by trees
February 17, 2017

Torrs of the Ruby Batholith

Scintillometer and torrs of the Melozitna granite in the Ruby batholith.  This granite contains abundant monazite and high levels of thorium and rare earth elements. This area is part of the Bureau of Land Management's Central Yukon Planning Area, which USGS did a mineral assessment of in 2015.

January 27, 2017

NMIC - 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries Release

The National Minerals Information Center, the primary agency for collecting and analyzing nonfuel minerals information, releases the 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries, a collection of reports on over 85 commodities essential to the U.S. economy and national security.

Image shows a cubical sample of pyrite with a quartz crystal extending beneath it
December 31, 2016

Pyrite and Quartz

A sample of pyrite and quartz. Iron pyrite, also known as Fool's Gold due to its resemblance to gold, often occurs in quartz veins. Pyrite is an important source of sulfur dioxide, which is primarily used to create sulfuric acid, an important industrial acid. In fact, consumption of sulfuric acid has been regarded as one of the best indexes of a nation's industrial development. More sulfuric...

Image shows a sample of gold against a black background
December 31, 2016

Native Gold

A sample of native gold. Gold has been treasured since ancient times for its beauty and permanence.   Most of the gold that is fabricated today goes into the manufacture of jewelry, but it also performs critical functions in computers, communications equipment, spacecraft, jet aircraft engines, and a host of other products. Read more about gold...

Image shows a sample of rutile against a black background
December 31, 2016

Rutile

This is a sample of rutile, one of the primary mineral sources of titanium. While as a metal, titanium is well known for corrosion resistance and for its high strength-to-weight ratio, approximately 95% of titanium is consumed in the form of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment used in paints, paper, and plastics. Read more about titanium...

Image shows a sample of augelite and quartz on a black background.
December 31, 2016

Augelite and Quartz

A sample of augelite and quartz. Augelite is an aluminum phosphate mineral, primarily prized for collecting rather than as a source for its industrial mineral components.

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Mundo Nuevo Mine, Peru, and is 3.7cm in size.

Image shows a sample of axinite against a black background
December 31, 2016

Axinite

This is a sample of axinite with iron, making it ferroaxinite. Axinite is primarily used as a collectors mineral.

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Puiva Mount, Russia, and is 3.0cm in size.

Image shows a sample of azurite and malachite against a black background
December 31, 2016

Azurite and Malachite

A sample of azurite, the blue mineral, and malachite, the green mineral. Both azurite and malachite are copper minerals that were once used as pigments but are now mostly valued as collectors minerals. They do serve as good indicators of copper deposits that can be developed. Read more information about copper here.

Sample provided by...

Image shows a sample of clinozoisite against a black background
December 31, 2016

Clinozoisite

This sample is clinozoisite, a calcium aluminum silicate mineral. It is mostly prized as a collectors mineral rather than a source of its industrial mineral commodities.

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Hachupa, Pakistan, and is 6.0cm in size.

Image shows a sample of elbaite on a black background
December 31, 2016

Elbaite

Elbaite is one of the best-known members of the tourmaline mineral family, particularly for its high-quality gemstones. Read more about the tourmaline mineral family here

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Himalaya Mine, California, and is 4.9cm in size.

Filter Total Items: 134
Date published: April 14, 2017

The Top 5 Mineral-Producing States

In 2016, these five states led the pack in mineral production, accounting for about one third of the total mineral production value for the entire country.

Date published: April 13, 2017

USGS Estimates 304 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas in the Bossier and Haynesville Formations of the U.S. Gulf Coast

USGS also estimates 4 billion barrels of oil and 2 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the two formations.

Date published: April 12, 2017

Risk and Reliance: The U.S. Economy and Mineral Resources

The USGS National Minerals Information Center tracks how much the United States relies on other countries for minerals critical to the economy and national security.

Date published: April 11, 2017

EarthWord–Hyperspectral

It’s not a caffeinated ghost, but this EarthWord is nearly as trippy...

Date published: April 10, 2017

Cutting-Edge Tools to Explore Alaska’s Mineral Potential

Managing 72 million acres of Federal lands in Alaska is not easy, especially when the land’s many uses need to be balanced. There are several competing interests, including the development of mineral resources that are critical to the American economy.

Date published: April 7, 2017

The Top 5 U.S. Minerals by Production Value

In 2016, the United States mined $74.6 billion worth of minerals, and the following five mineral commodities accounted for 68.5 percent of that value.

Date published: April 6, 2017

How an Electron Microprobe Helps Find Minerals (and Makes Pretty Pictures!)

Today’s high-end electronics increasingly rely on mineral commodities...and research into those mineral commodities is increasingly using high-end electronics too!

Date published: April 4, 2017

Ordinary Minerals Give Smartphones Extraordinary Capabilities

Earlier this year, Apple’s iPhone celebrated the 10th anniversary of its introduction to the world, an event that fueled a transformation within the technology and communications sector. This revolution would influence billions of smartphone users around the world forever altering many aspects of human life. 

Date published: April 4, 2017

EarthWord–Rock vs. Mineral

Ever wondered what the difference between a rock and a mineral was? This EarthWord should cover it...

Date published: April 3, 2017

Tracking Critical Minerals to Ensure National Preparedness

On an ordinary Tuesday in 2014, David Pineault, an economist at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), reviewed his specialized reports and came to a startling conclusion: the United States needed to increase its stockpile of a basic manufacturing material with military applications—yttrium oxide, a material used in laser rangefinders.

Date published: April 1, 2017

The Golden Rule on April Fools

Think you know which mineral Fool’s Gold is? You might be fooled...