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.View Science Strategy
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...
Geologic, geophysical, and geochemical studies evaluate Alaska’s mineral endowment of strategic and critical minerals not found elsewhere in the United States.
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.
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.
Understanding potential and existing environmental impacts promotes sustainable development of needed mineral materials and responsible stewardship of our natural resources.
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.
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.
Understanding the formation of major mineral deposits, which provide for society’s needed resources, can have broad impact on the economy and the environment.
Comprehensive data storage and delivery systems serve mineral resource and related data to USGS scientists and the general public.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Conceptual models describing the essential characteristics of groups of similar mineral deposits.
Browse all energy-related datasets.
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.
Digital geologic maps of the U.S. States with consistent lithology, age, GIS database structure, and format.
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.
Punctuated sediment discharge during early Pliocene birth of the Colorado River: Evidence from regional stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology
The Colorado River in the southwestern U.S. provides an excellent natural laboratory for studying the origins of a continent-scale river system, because deposits that formed prior to and during river initiation are well exposed in the lower river valley and nearby basinal sink. This paper presents a synthesis of regional stratigraphy,...Dorsey, Rebecca J.; O’Connell, Brennan; McDougall-Reid, Kristin; Homan, Mindy B.
Ore-forming adakitic porphyry produced by fractional crystallization of oxidized basaltic magmas in a subcrustal chamber (Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China)
Adakitic intrusions are supposed to have a close genetic and spatial relationship to porphyry Cu deposits. However, the genesis of adakitic intrusions is still under dispute. Here, we describe newly discovered intrusive complex rocks, which are composed of ore-bearing, layered magnetite-bearing gabbroic and adakitic rocks in Jiamate, East Junggar...Hong, Tao; Xu, Xing-Wang; Gao, Jun; Peters, Stephen; Zhang, Di; Jielili, Reyaniguli; Xiang, Peng; Li, Hao; Wu, Chu; You, Jun; Liu, Jie; Ke, Qiang
Evaluation of hypotheses for right-lateral displacement of Neogene strata along the San Andreas Fault between Parkfield and Maricopa, California
We used geological field studies and diatom biostratigraphy to test a published hypothesis that Neogene marine siliceous strata in the Maricopa and Parkfield areas, located on opposite sides of the San Andreas Fault, were formerly contiguous and then were displaced by about 80–130 kilometers (km) of right-lateral slip along the fault. In the...Stanley, Richard G.; Barron, John A.; Powell, Charles L.
Fluorine compounds are essential in numerous chemical and manufacturing processes. Fluorspar is the commercial name for fluorite (isometric CaF2), which is the only fluorine mineral that is mined on a large scale. Fluorspar is used directly as a fluxing material and as an additive in different manufacturing processes. It is the source of fluorine...Schulz, Klaus J.; DeYoung, John H.; Seal, Robert R.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Hayes, Timothy S.; Miller, M. Michael; Orris, Greta J.; Piatak, Nadine M.
The platinum-group elements (PGEs)—platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium—are metals that have similar physical and chemical properties and tend to occur together in nature. PGEs are indispensable to many industrial applications but are mined in only a few places. The availability and accessibility of PGEs could be disrupted...Schulz, Klaus J.; DeYoung, John H.; Seal, Robert R.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Zientek, Michael L.; Loferski, Patricia J.; Parks, Heather L.; Schulte, Ruth F.; Seal, Robert R.
Rhenium is one of the rarest elements in Earth’s continental crust; its estimated average crustal abundance is less than 1 part per billion. Rhenium is a metal that has an extremely high melting point and a heat-stable crystalline structure. More than 80 percent of the rhenium consumed in the world is used in high-temperature superalloys,...Schulz, Klaus J.; DeYoung, John H.; Seal, Robert R.; Bradley, Dwight C.; John, David A.; Seal, Robert R. ; Polyak, Désirée E.
Tin (Sn) is one of the first metals to be used by humans. Almost without exception, tin is used as an alloy. Because of its hardening effect on copper, tin was used in bronze implements as early as 3500 B.C. The major uses of tin today are for cans and containers, construction materials, transportation materials, and solder. The predominant ore...Schulz, Klaus J.; DeYoung, John H.; Seal, Robert R.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Kamilli, Robert J.; Kimball, Bryn E.; Carlin, James F.
Connecting the Soda–Avawatz and Bristol–Granite Mountains faults with gravity andaeromagnetic data, Mojave Desert, California
The Soda–Avawatz and Bristol–Granite Mountains faults are considered by some to form the northeastern margin of the eastern California shear zone yet their connectivity and extents are obscured by surficial deposits and the estimates of total right-lateral offset from geologic data range from 0 to as much as 24 km. We use gravity and recently...Langenheim, Victoria; Miller, David
Detrital zircon geochronology of quartzose metasedimentary rocks from parautochthonous North America, east-central Alaska
We report eight new U-Pb detrital zircon ages for quartzose metasedimentary rocks from four lithotectonic units of parautochthonous North America in east-central Alaska: the Healy schist, Keevy Peak Formation, and Sheep Creek Member of the Totatlanika Schist in the northern Alaska Range, and the Butte assemblage in the northwestern Yukon-Tanana...Dusel-Bacon, Cynthia; Holm-Denoma, Christopher S.; Jones, James V.; Aleinikoff, John N.; Mortensen, James K.
Geochemical variations during development of the 5.46 Ma Broadwell Mesa basaltic volcanic field, California
The 5.46±0.04 Ma Broadwell Mesa basalt and associated basaltic volcanic field in the western Bristol Mountains, California, formed a ~6 km2 volcanic flow field with architecture including numerous lava flows, a ~1.1 km2 lava lake, and a ~0.17 km2 cinder cone. The local number of lava flows varies from one along the margins of the field to as many...Buesch, David C.
Mineralogical characterization of weathered outcrops as a tool for constraining water chemistry predictions during project planning
Weathered samples from naturally exposed outcrops of troctolite associated with a magmatic Ni-Cu sulphide deposit were characterized by synchrotron-based micro-X-ray fluorescence mapping (µ-XRF) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), as well as by lab-based X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and wet chemical methods....Diedrich, Tamara; Fix, Paul; Foster, Andrea L.
Miocene−Pleistocene deformation of the Saddle Mountains: Implications for seismic hazard in central Washington, USA
The Yakima fold province, located in the backarc of the Cascadia subduction zone, is a region of active strain accumulation and deformation distributed across a series of fault-cored folds. The geodetic network in central Washington has been used to interpret large-scale N-S shortening and westward-increasing strain; however, geodetic data are...Staisch, Lydia; Kelsey, Harvey; Sherrod, Brian; Möller, Andreas; Paces, James B.; Blakely, Richard J.; Styron, Richard
The Department of the Interior has announced petroleum assessments from the
Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.
It would be no exaggeration to say that without minerals, no aspect of our daily lives would be possible.
Estimates of Potential Uranium in the Southern High Plains Could Equal Just Under One Year of U.S. Needs.
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
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.
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.
No, this EarthWord isn’t how natural gas quenches its thirst-it just sounds like it...
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.
Eureka often accompanies this EarthWord.