Energy and Minerals
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Regional geology and tectonics
This chapter describes the regional geology and tectonic origins of the major geologic units for the Northern Cordillera. The goals of the chapter are to: (1) provide a summary and regional overview of this vast region that contains a complicated geologic history; and (2) describe the major geologic units and tectonic events that cover a broad...Bundtzen, Thomas K.; Nokleberg, Warren J.; Price, Raymond A.; Scholl, David W.; Stone, David B.; Nokleberg, Warren J.
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 M.; Sherrod, Brian; Blakely, Richard J.; Pratt, Thomas; Stephenson, William; Odum, Jackson K.; Wan, Elmira
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.
Play-fairway analysis for geothermal resources and exploration risk in the Modoc Plateau region
The region surrounding the Modoc Plateau, encompassing parts of northeastern California, southern Oregon, and northwestern Nevada, lies at an intersection between two tectonic provinces; the Basin and Range province and the Cascade volcanic arc. Both of these provinces have substantial geothermal resource base and resource potential. Geothermal...Siler, Drew; Zhang, Yingqi; Spycher, Nicolas F.; Dobson, Patrick; McClain, James S.; Gasperikova, Erika; Zierenberg, Robert A.; Schiffman, Peter; Ferguson, Colin; Fowler, Andrew; Cantwell, Carolyn
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
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.
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.
10Be dating of late Pleistocene megafloods and Cordilleran Ice Sheet retreat in the northwestern United States
During the late Pleistocene, multiple floods from drainage of glacial Lake Missoula further eroded a vast anastomosing network of bedrock channels, coulees, and cataracts, forming the Channeled Scabland of eastern Washington State (United States). However, the timing and exact pathways of these Missoula floods remain poorly constrained, thereby...Balbas, Andrea M.; Barth, Aaron M.; Clark, Peter U.; Clark, Jorie; Caffee, Marc A.; O'Connor, Jim E.; Baker, Victor R.; Konrad, Kevin; Bjornstad, Bruce
Microbial survival strategies in ancient permafrost: insights from metagenomics
In permafrost (perennially frozen ground) microbes survive oligotrophic conditions, sub-zero temperatures, low water availability and high salinity over millennia. Viable life exists in permafrost tens of thousands of years old but we know little about the metabolic and physiological adaptations to the challenges presented by life in frozen ground...Mackelprang, Rachel; Burkert, Alexander; Haw, Monica; Mahendrarajah, Tara; Conaway, Christopher H.; Douglas, Thomas A.; Waldrop, Mark P.
Spatiotemporal analysis of changes in lode mining claims around the McDermitt Caldera, northern Nevada and southern Oregon
Resource managers and agencies involved with planning for future federal land needs are required to complete an assessment of and forecast for future land use every ten years. Predicting mining activities on federal lands is difficult as current regulations do not require disclosure of exploration results. In these cases, historic mining claims...Coyan, Joshua; Zientek, Michael L.; Mihalasky, Mark J.
The interacting roles of climate, soils, and plant production on soil microbial communities at a continental scale
Soil microbial communities control critical ecosystem processes such as decomposition, nutrient cycling, and soil organic matter formation. Continental scale patterns in the composition and functioning of microbial communities are related to climatic, biotic, and edaphic factors such as temperature and precipitation, plant community composition,...Waldrop, Mark P.; Holloway, JoAnn M.; Smith, David; Goldhaber, Martin B.; Drenovsky, R.E.; Scow, K.M.; Dick, R.; Howard, Daniel M.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Grace, James B.
Active tectonics of the northern Mojave Desert: The 2017 Desert Symposium field trip road log
The 2017 Desert Symposium field trip will highlight recent work by the U.S. Geological Survey geologists and geophysicists, who have been mapping young sediment and geomorphology associated with active tectonic features in the least well-known part of the eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ). This area, stretching from Barstow eastward in a giant...Miller, David; Reynolds, R.E.; Phelps, Geoffrey; Honke, Jeff; Cyr, Andrew J.; Buesch, David C.; Schmidt, Kevin M.; Losson, G.
Lead is a corrosion-resistant dense metal that is easily molded and shaped. 85% of lead in the US is used for lead-acid batteries, which are used in automobiles, as industrial-type batteries for standby power for computer and telecommunications networks, and for motive power.
Mineral Origin: Les Baux, France (Sample donated by Gary Kingston)
Primary Commodity: Aluminum and Gallium
Primary Commodity Uses: Aluminum is one of the most used metals on the planet, finding roles in transportation, construction, packaging, electronics, and other consumer
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
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
- How does a scanning electron microscope (SEM) work?
- What does USGS study with the SEM?
- 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...
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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.
We've got a library full of spectral signatures, like a police fingerprint library for minerals and other substances!
Proven under Pressure: USGS Advances Capabilities for High-Pressure Seafloor Samples Containing Gas Hydrate
Meet USGS' newest laboratory!
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.
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.
Look, in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...underground mineral research?
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.
It’s not a caffeinated ghost, but this EarthWord is nearly as trippy...
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.
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.
Today’s high-end electronics increasingly rely on mineral commodities...and research into those mineral commodities is increasingly using high-end electronics too!