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

Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

USGS logo
January 31, 2017

United States mines in 2016 produced an estimated $74.6 billion of raw mineral materials, a slight increase from 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today. 

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geologists doing Alaskan field work with helicopter
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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....

a specimen found on a rock in the river
December 19, 2016

Although there are ways of developing causal relationships between stressors and aquatic community responses without experimentation; some argue that experimental manipulation under controlled conditions is both critical and necessary to establish causation. Single species toxicity tests are the gold standard for developing toxicant biological response relationships however these tests are...

Poudre River looking upstream.
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...

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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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Mineral commodity summaries 2017
Year Published: 2017

Mineral commodity summaries 2017

This report is the earliest Government publication to furnish estimates covering 2016 nonfuel mineral industry data. Data sheets contain information on the domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, and 5-year salient statistics for more than 90 individual minerals and materials.

Ober, Joyce A.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Mineral commodity summaries 2017: U.S. Geological Survey, 202 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/70180197.
Mobilization of mercury and arsenic from a carbonate-hosted ore deposit, central Idaho, U.S.A.
Year Published: 2017

Mobilization of mercury and arsenic from a carbonate-hosted ore deposit, central Idaho, U.S.A.

The Cinnabar and Fern mine sites in central Idaho are primary source areas for elevated mercury and arsenic entering the South Fork of the Salmon River, which provides critical spawning habitat for bull trout and Chinook salmon. Mercury mineralization is hosted by carbonate rocks, which generate waters dominated by Ca2+ and HCO3 - at pH 7 to 9. A...

Holloway, JoAnn M.; Pribil, Michael; McCleskey, R. Blaine; Etheridge, Alexandra B.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Aiken, George R.
Holloway, J.M, Pribil, M.J., McCleskey, R.B., Etheridge, A.B., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Aiken, G.R., 2017, Mobilization of mercury and arsenic from a carbonate-hosted ore deposit, central Idaho, U.S.A.: Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 17, 610-613. http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.163
Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits—A review
Year Published: 2017

Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits—A review

Newly synthesized data indicate that the geochemistry of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits varies extensively and continuously from subalkaline basaltic to rhyolitic compositions. Trace element and isotopic data for these rocks are consistent with subduction-related magmatism and suggest that the primary source magmas were...

du Bray, Edward A.
du Bray, E.A., 2017, Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits—A review: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 80, p. 767-783
Excursions in fluvial (dis)continuity
Year Published: 2017

Excursions in fluvial (dis)continuity

Lurking below the twin concepts of connectivity and disconnectivity are their first, and in some ways, richer cousins: continuity and discontinuity. In this paper we explore how continuity and discontinuity represent fundamental and complementary perspectives in fluvial geomorphology, and how these perspectives inform and underlie our conceptions...

Grant, Gordon E.; O'Connor, James E.; Safran, Elizabeth
The Bonneville Flood—A veritable débâcle: Chapter 6
Year Published: 2016

The Bonneville Flood—A veritable débâcle: Chapter 6

The Bonneville Flood was one of the largest floods on Earth. First discovered by G.K. Gilbert in the 1870s during his inspection of the outlet at Red Rock Pass, it was rediscovered in the 1950s by Harold Malde and coworkers, leading to mapping and assessment of spectacular flood features along Marsh Creek, Portneuf River, and Snake River for over...

O'connor, James
Potash—A vital agricultural nutrient sourced from geologic deposits
Year Published: 2016

Potash—A vital agricultural nutrient sourced from geologic deposits

This report summarizes the primary sources of potash in the United States. Potash is an essential nutrient that, along with phosphorus and nitrogen, is used as fertilizer for growing crops. Plants require sufficient potash to activate enzymes, which in turn catalyze chemical reactions important for water uptake and photosynthesis. When potassium...

Yager, Douglas B.
Yager, D.B., 2016, Potash—A vital agricultural nutrient sourced from geologic deposits: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1167, 28 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161167.
Bedrock morphology and structure, upper Santa Cruz Basin, south-central Arizona, with transient electromagnetic survey data
Year Published: 2016

Bedrock morphology and structure, upper Santa Cruz Basin, south-central Arizona, with transient electromagnetic survey data

The upper Santa Cruz Basin is an important groundwater basin containing the regional aquifer for the city of Nogales, Arizona. This report provides data and interpretations of data aimed at better understanding the bedrock morphology and structure of the upper Santa Cruz Basin study area which encompasses the Rio Rico and Nogales 1:24,000-scale U...

Bultman, Mark W.; Page, William R.
Bultman, M.W., and Page, W.R., 2016, Bedrock morphology and structure, upper Santa Cruz Basin, south-central Arizona, with transient electromagnetic survey data: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1152, 49 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161152.
Sedimentary exhalative (sedex) zinc-lead-silver deposit model
Year Published: 2016

Sedimentary exhalative (sedex) zinc-lead-silver deposit model

This report draws on previous syntheses and basic research studies of sedimentary exhalative (sedex) deposits to arrive at the defining criteria, both descriptive and genetic, for sedex-type deposits. Studies of the tectonic, sedimentary, and fluid evolution of modern and ancient sedimentary basins have also been used to select defining criteria...

Emsbo, Poul; Seal, Robert R.; Breit, George N.; Diehl, Sharon F.; Shah, Anjana K.
Emsbo, Poul, Seal, R.R., Breit, G.N., Diehl, S.F., and Shah, A.K., 2016, Sedimentary exhalative (sedex) zinc-lead-silver deposit model: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5070–N, 57 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20105070N.
Probing the volcanic-plutonic connection and the genesis of crystal-rich rhyolite in a deeply dissected supervolcano in the Nevada Great Basin: Source of the late Eocene Caetano Tuff
Year Published: 2016

Probing the volcanic-plutonic connection and the genesis of crystal-rich rhyolite in a deeply dissected supervolcano in the Nevada Great Basin: Source of the late Eocene Caetano Tuff

Late Cenozoic faulting and large-magnitude extension in the Great Basin of the western USA has created locally deep windows into the upper crust, permitting direct study of volcanic and plutonic rocks within individual calderas. The Caetano caldera in north–central Nevada, formed during the mid-Tertiary ignimbrite flare-up, offers one of the best...

Watts, Kathryn E.; John, David A.; Colgan, Joseph P.; Henry, Christopher D.; Bindeman, Ilya N.; Schmitt, Axel K.
Larval aquatic insect responses to cadmium and zinc in experimental streams
Year Published: 2016

Larval aquatic insect responses to cadmium and zinc in experimental streams

To evaluate the risks of metal mixture effects to natural stream communities under ecologically relevant conditions, the authors conducted 30-d tests with benthic macroinvertebrates exposed to cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in experimental streams. The simultaneous exposures were with Cd and Zn singly and with Cd+Zn mixtures at environmentally...

Mebane, Christopher A.; Schmidt, Travis S.; Balistrieri, Laurie S.
Mebane, C.A., T.S. Schmidt, and L.S. Balistrieri. 2016. Larval aquatic insect responses to cadmium and zinc in experimental streams. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.3599
Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Idaho Sagebrush Focal Area: Chapter C in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming
Year Published: 2016

Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Idaho Sagebrush Focal Area: Chapter C in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

SummaryThe U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands from mineral entry (subject to valid existing rights) from 12 million acres of lands defined as Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (for further discussion on the lands involved see...

Lund, Karen; Zürcher, Lukas; Hofstra, Albert H.; Van Gosen, Bradley S.; Benson, Mary Ellen; Box, Stephen E.; Anderson, Eric D.; Bleiwas, Donald I.; DeAngelo, Jacob; Drake, Ronald M.; Fernette, Gregory L.; Giles, Stuart A.; Glen, Jonathan M. G.; Haacke, Jon E.; Horton, John D.; John, David A.; Robinson,, Gilpin R.; Rockwell, Barnaby W.; San Juan, Carma A.; Shaffer, Brian N.; Smith, Steven M.; Williams, Colin F.
Lund, K., Zürcher, L., Hofstra, A.H., Van Gosen, B.S., Benson, M.E., Box, S.E., Anderson, E.D., Bleiwas, D.I., DeAngelo, J., Drake, R.M., II, Fernette, G.L., Giles, S.A., Glen, J.M.G., Haacke, J.E., Horton, J., John, D.M., Robinson, G.R., Jr., Rockwell, B.W., San Juan, C.A., Shaffer, B.N., Smith, S.M., and Williams, C.F., 2016, Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Idaho Sagebrush Focal Area (ver. 1.1, October 27, 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5089 –C, 147 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165089C.
Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Montana Sagebrush Focal Area: Chapter D in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming
Year Published: 2016

Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Montana Sagebrush Focal Area: Chapter D in Mineral resources of the Sagebrush Focal Areas of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming

SummaryThe U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed to withdraw approximately 10 million acres of Federal lands from mineral entry (subject to valid existing rights) from 12 million acres of lands defined as Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFAs) in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (for further discussion on the lands involved see...

Mauk, Jeffrey L.; Zientek, Michael L.; Hearn, B. Carter; Parks, Heather L.; Jenkins, M. Christopher; Anderson, Eric D.; Benson, Mary Ellen; Bleiwas, Donald I.; DeAngelo, Jacob; Denning, Paul D.; Dicken, Connie L.; Drake, Ronald M.; Fernette, Gregory L.; Folger, Helen W.; Giles, Stuart A.; Glen, Jonathan M. G.; Granitto, Matthew; Haacke, Jon E.; Horton, John D.; Kelley, Karen D.; Ober, Joyce A.; Rockwell, Barnaby W.; San Juan, Carma A.; Sangine, Elizabeth S.; Schweitzer, Peter N.; Shaffer, Brian N.; Smith, Steven M.; Williams, Colin F.; Yager, Douglas B.
Mauk, J.L., Zientek, M.L., Hearn, B.C., Jr., Parks, H.L., Jenkins, M.C., Anderson, E.D., Benson, M.E., Bleiwas, D.I., DeAngelo, J., Denning, P.D., Dicken, C.L., Drake, R.M., II, Fernette, G.L., Folger, H.W., Giles, S.A., Glen, J.M.G., Granitto, M., Haacke, J.E., Horton, J.D., Kelley, K.D., Ober, J.A., Rockwell, B.W., San Juan, C.A., Sangine, E.S., Schweitzer, P.N., Shaffer, B.N., Smith, S.M., Williams, C.F., and Yager, D.B., 2016, Geology and mineral resources of the North-Central Montana Sagebrush Focal Area: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5089–D, 104 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165089D.
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January 27, 2017
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 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 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 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.
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.
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
April 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
April 2016 (approx.)
Layers of unconsolidated heavy mineral sands along the shores of Folly beach, South Carolina.
Geologist doing field work in Alaska
April 14, 2016
Geologist doing field work in Alaska
eudialyte and bastnäsite samples
April 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
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Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

USGS logo
January 31, 2017

United States mines in 2016 produced an estimated $74.6 billion of raw mineral materials, a slight increase from 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey announced today. 

Moab, Utah, Potash In Situ Solution Mining and Solar Evaporation
November 15, 2016

A new USGS report summarizes the primary sources of potash in the United States. Potash is an essential nutrient that, along with phosphorus and nitrogen, is used as fertilizer for growing crops. 

Image shows an outline of the Midland Basin and assessment units on a Texas County Map
November 15, 2016

This is the largest estimate of continuous oil that USGS has ever assessed in the United States.

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...

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