Mission Areas

Energy and Minerals

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Filter Total Items: 587
Year Published: 2016

GIS methodology for geothermal play fairway analysis: Example from the Snake River Plain volcanic province

Play fairway analysis in geothermal exploration derives from a systematic methodology originally developed within the petroleum industry and is based on a geologic and hydrologic framework of identified geothermal systems. We are tailoring this methodology to study the geothermal resource potential of the Snake River Plain and surrounding region....

DeAngelo, Jacob; Shervais, John W.; Glen, Jonathan; Nielson, Dennis L.; Garg, Sabodh; Dobson, Patrick; Gasperikova, Erika; Sonnenthal, Eric; Visser, Charles; Liberty, Lee M.; Siler, Drew; Evans, James P.; Santellanes, Sean

Year Published: 2016

Hyperspectral surveying for mineral resources in Alaska

Alaska is a major producer of base and precious metals and has a high potential for additional undiscovered mineral resources. However, discovery is hindered by Alaska’s vast size, remoteness, and rugged terrain. New methods are needed to overcome these obstacles in order to fully evaluate Alaska’s geology and mineral resource...

Kokaly, Raymond F.; Graham, Garth E.; Hoefen, Todd M.; Kelley, Karen D.; Johnson, Michaela R.; Hubbard, Bernard E.
Kokaly, R.F., Graham, G.E., Hoefen, T.M., Kelley, K.D., Johnson, M.R., and Hubbard, B.E., Hyperspectral surveying for mineral resources in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3029, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163029.

Year Published: 2016

The Pilot Valley shoreline: An early record of Lake Bonneville dynamics: Chapter 3

The Pilot Valley shoreline is named for distinctive gravel beaches on the eastern, northern, and western sides of Pilot Valley playa, Utah. The shoreline has been identified across the Bonneville basin where it is characterized by one to three beach crests between ~ 1305 and 1309 m elevation, all overlain by deep-water marl of Lake...

Miller, David; Phelps, Geoffrey

Year Published: 2016

Accretionary lapilli: what’s holding them together?

Accretionary lapilli from Tagus cone, Isla Isabela, Galápagos were analyzed using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) techniques. Our main findings are (1) the lapilli formed and hardened in a few minutes while still aloft in the dispersing eruption column. (2) Palagonite rinds developed first...

Adams, Paul M.; Lynch, David K.; Buesch, David C.
Adams, P.M., Lynch, D.K., and Buesch, D.C., 2016, Accretionary lapilli: what’s holding them together? in Reynolds, R.E., ed, “Going LOCO: Investigations along the Lower Colorado River”, California State University Desert Studies Consortium, p. 256-265.

Year Published: 2016

Architecture, geochemistry, and paleomagnetic directions of the 5.42 Ma Broadwell Mesa basalt volcanic field, Bristol Mountains, California

No abstract available.

Buesch, David C.; Phelps, Geoffrey
Buesch, D.C., and Phelps, G.A., 2016, Architecture, geochemistry, and paleomagnetic directions of the 5.42 Ma Broadwell Mesa basalt volcanic field, Bristol Mountains, California: in Reynolds, R.E., ed, “Going LOCO: Investigations along the Lower Colorado River”, California State University Desert Studies Consortium, p. 253-255.

Year Published: 2016

Contemporary deformation in the Yakima fold and thrust belt estimated with GPS

Geodetic, geologic and palaeomagnetic data reveal that Oregon (western USA) rotates clockwise at 0.3 to 1.0° Ma−1 (relative to North America) about an axis near the Idaho–Oregon–Washington border, while northeast Washington is relatively fixed. This rotation has been going on for at least 15 Ma. The Yakima fold and thrust belt (YFTB) forms the...

McCaffrey, Robert; King, Robert W.; Wells, Ray; Lancaster, Matthew; Miller, M. Meghan

Year Published: 2016

Isotopically constrained lead sources in fugitive dust from unsurfaced roads in the southeast Missouri mining district

The isotopic composition of lead (Pb) in fugitive dust suspended by a vehicle from 13 unsurfaced roads in Missouri was measured to identify the source of Pb within an established long-term mining area. A three end-member model using 207Pb/206Pb and concentration as tracers resulted in fugitive dust samples plotting in the mixing field of well...

Witt, Emitt C.; Pribil, Michael; Hogan, John P; Wronkiewicz, David

Year Published: 2016

Chemical abrasion-SIMS (CA-SIMS) U-Pb dating of zircon from the late Eocene Caetano caldera, Nevada

Zircon geochronology is a critical tool for establishing geologic ages and time scales of processes in the Earth's crust. However, for zircons compromised by open system behavior, achieving robust dates can be difficult. Chemical abrasion (CA) is a routine step prior to thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) dating of zircon to remove...

Watts, Kathryn E.; Coble, Matthew A.; Vazquez, Jorge A.; Henry, Christopher D.; Colgan, Joseph P.; John, David A.

Year Published: 2016

Manual hierarchical clustering of regional geochemical data using a Bayesian finite mixture model

Interpretation of regional scale, multivariate geochemical data is aided by a statistical technique called “clustering.” We investigate a particular clustering procedure by applying it to geochemical data collected in the State of Colorado, United States of America. The clustering procedure partitions the field samples for the entire...

Ellefsen, Karl J.; Smith, David

Year Published: 2016

The geochemical atlas of Alaska, 2016

A rich legacy of geochemical data produced since the early 1960s covers the great expanse of Alaska; careful treatment of such data may provide significant and revealing geochemical maps that may be used for landscape geochemistry, mineral resource exploration, and geoenvironmental investigations over large areas. To maximize the spatial density...

Lee, Gregory K.; Yager, Douglas B.; Mauk, Jeffrey L.; Granitto, Matthew; Denning, Paul D.; Wang, Bronwen; Werdon, Melanie B.
Lee, G.K., Yager, D.B., Mauk, J.L, Granitto, Matthew, Denning, P.D., Wang, Bronwen, and Werdon, M.B., 2016, The Geochemical Atlas of Alaska, 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 908, 25 p., 272 sheets (11"×17"), GIS database, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds908.

Year Published: 2016

Geology and geologic history of the Moscow-Pullman basin, Idaho and Washington, from late Grande Ronde to late Saddle Mountains time

The Moscow-Pullman basin, located on the eastern margin of the Columbia River flood basalt province, consists of a subsurface mosaic of interlayered Miocene sediments and lava flows of the Imnaha, Grande Ronde, Wanapum, and Saddle Mountains Basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group. This sequence is ~1800 ft (550 m) thick in the east around...

Bush, John H; Garwood, Dean L; Dunlap, Pamela
Bush, J.H., Garwood, D.L., and Dunlap, Pamela, 2016, Geology and geologic history of the Moscow-Pullman basin, Idaho and Washington, from late Grande Ronde to late Saddle Mountains time, in Lewis, R.S., and Schmidt, K.L., eds., xxxx: Geological Society of America Field Guide 41, p. xxx–xxx, doi: 10.1130/2016.0041(05).

Year Published: 2016

New perspectives on a 140-year legacy of mining and abandoned mine cleanup in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The Gold King mine water release that occurred on 5 August 2015 near the historical mining community of Silverton, Colorado, highlights the environmental legacy that abandoned mines have on the environment. During reclamation efforts, a breach of collapsed workings at the Gold King mine sent 3 million gallons of acidic and metal-rich mine water...

Yager, Douglas B.; Fey, David L.; Chapin, Thomas; Johnson, Raymond H.

Filter Total Items: 112
Image shows a sample of azurite and malachite against a black background
2016 (approx.)
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 Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Milpillas Mine,...
Image shows a sample of elbaite on a black background
2016 (approx.)
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.
Image shows a large black stone with a silver sign in front
July 20, 2016
Cannel coal is a type of bituminous coal, which is the second-highest rank of coal (just behind anthracite). This particular sample has a high carbon content with high pollen and spore content as well. Unlike most bituminous coal, Cannel coal can be carved into ornaments. This sample came from the Eastern Interior Coalfield in Kentucky.
Image shows a tall, triangular gray stone surrounded by grass and trees
July 20, 2016
Granite is an igneous rock that we’ve used for building materials for thousands of years. It’s name comes from the Latin word “granum,” meaning “grain,” which refers to the grains of quartz and feldspar that define granite. This one is from the Barre formation in Vermont.
Image shows four men in visibility gear and hard hats at a coal mine
2016 (approx.)
Coal project personnel visiting Trapper Mine in northwest Colorado in June, 2016.
Image shows a woman in a green coat working with a drill core
June 3, 2016
USGS scientist Sarah Hawkins, lead scientist for the Mancos Shale assessment, examining a core drilled by the USGS Core Research Center. This core provided valuable data for the assessment. Image credit: Joshua Hicks, USGS.
Image shows sunrise through a drill rig
June 3, 2016
USGS scientists drill a test core into the Mancos Shale to aid in the assessment for oil and gas resources. Credit: Joshua Hicks.
Image shows a drill rig against blue mountains
June 3, 2016
The USGS Core Research Center collaborated with the USGS Energy Resources Program to drill a core from the Mancos Shale to aid in the oil and gas assessment. Image Credit: Joshua Hicks, USGS.
May 25, 2016
JoAnn Holloway, biogeochemist with the USGS Mineral Resources Program, explains how interdisciplinary science can help better inform the conditions of a complex ecosystem.
Red Mountain, Colorado
2016 (approx.)
Intensely altered propylitic rocks (red and yellow) in the Red Mountain mining district, overprinting the regional, propylitically altered igneous rocks (grayish-green), peaks at top of image. View to west .
heavy mineral sands
2016 (approx.)
Layers of unconsolidated heavy mineral sands along the shores of Folly beach, South Carolina.
eudialyte and bastnäsite samples
2016 (approx.)
Sample of eudialyte (pink) within layered vein consisting of quartz, albite, and sodic amphibole, Dora Bay, Alaska. Size of sample is 11 by 9 cm. Sample of coarse-grained, tabular bastnäsite within matrix of ferruginous dolomite, Birthday Claim, Mountain Pass, California. Photographs by Philip Verplanck, U.S. Geological Survey. SIR 2010-5070-J
Filter Total Items: 113
Image shows sagebrush lands with cloudy sky
October 4, 2016

At the request of the Bureau of Land Management, USGS has released an assessment of mineral resources in six Western states.

Image shows the seminar poster with the date and time of the seminar
August 15, 2016

We're live-streaming this seminar at 1:00pm ET on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USGeologicalSurvey/ Check it out!

Image shows a man standing ankle-deep in a stream with an orange sampler
July 18, 2016

“Whatcha gonna do when they come for you”-thinks this week’s EarthWord...

Illustrated map of Iran showing various mining sites and refining/smelting plants of nonfuel minerals.
July 11, 2016

The USGS released a publication highlighting the nonfuel minerals industry of Iran. 

USGS logo
July 7, 2016

Alaska is a major producer of base and precious metals and has a high potential for additional undiscovered mineral resources. However, discovery is hindered by Alaska’s vast size, remoteness and rugged terrain. New methods are needed to overcome these obstacles in order to evaluate Alaska’s geology and mineral resource potential.

Painting - Denali in Midsummer
June 21, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey has produced a new compilation of landscape-scale sediment and soil geochemical data for Alaska. This was last completed nearly 40 years ago in 1978, but the new effort uses modern modeling and analysis techniques to map 68 elements across a newly developed and updated geochemical atlas of Alaska.

Image shows sunrise through a drill rig
June 8, 2016

This is the second-largest assessment of potential shale & tight gas resources that the USGS has ever conducted.

Image shows a map with an aerial image of the study site beneath it
May 9, 2016

These are the first published studies to demonstrate water-quality impacts to a surface stream due to activities at an unconventional oil and gas wastewater deep well injection disposal site.

Image shows gold-bearing veins of quartz
May 6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day from EarthWords!