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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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.

Image shows coal being loaded into trucks at a coal mine
October 26, 2017

It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to the American economy.  Managing this vital sector depends on knowing how many energy resources we have, how many we use and need, and how these resources are transported

Image shows a view of Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa
October 25, 2017

Resource managers, regulators, and stakeholders of Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa now have a new approach for understanding the implications of different levels of selenium, and to explore alternative selenium criteria for waters in the Lake.

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Old Perpetual Geyser
Date Published: 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
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...

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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

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

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.

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

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.
Coyan, J.A., Zientek, M.L. & Mihalasky, M.J. Nat Resour Res (2017) 26: 319. doi:10.1007/s11053-017-9324-9

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.

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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...
July 6, 2017
Mountain lions, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a variety of other wildlife live on and pass through the Nevada National Security Site each day. It’s a highly restricted area that is free of hunting and has surprisingly pristine areas.This 22-minute program highlights an extraordinary study on how mountain lions interact with their prey. It shows how the scientists use helicopters and...
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-...
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Image shows coal being loaded into trucks at a coal mine
October 26, 2017

It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to the American economy.  Managing this vital sector depends on knowing how many energy resources we have, how many we use and need, and how these resources are transported

Image shows a view of Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa
October 25, 2017

Resource managers, regulators, and stakeholders of Montana and British Columbia’s Lake Koocanusa now have a new approach for understanding the implications of different levels of selenium, and to explore alternative selenium criteria for waters in the Lake.

Image shows four men in visibility gear and hard hats at a coal mine
October 23, 2017

Although often associated with helping fuel the Nation’s growth during the Industrial Revolution, coal is very much part of our space-age present. In 2016, coal-fired power plants provided 30.4 percent of the country’s electricity, and it is an important source of employment in many states.

Drill Rig at the Mt. Elbert Test Site
October 20, 2017

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.

Image shows a rock cairn on a snowy peak with the sun on the horizon
October 16, 2017

When can ice yield fire? That’s the burning question at the heart of one of USGS’s longest-running research programs to date: the exploration of gas hydrates.

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 an excavator in front of a coal seam
October 6, 2017

No, this EarthWord isn’t a trait of adult petroleum basins, but it is related to how old they are...

Drill Rig and American Flag
October 5, 2017

It is difficult to overstate the importance of energy to the American economy.  Managing this vital sector depends on knowing how many energy resources we have, how many we use and need, and how these resources are transported.

Image shows an oil refinery with mountains in the background
October 4, 2017

This EarthWord is probably what you’ve been doing thanks to our fantastic puns...

Image shows a graph with continuous resources and conventional resources
October 3, 2017

This EarthWord may sound infinite, but it actually refers to a type of finite resource...

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