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Energy and Minerals

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Filter Total Items: 1,200
Year Published: 2017

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.

Year Published: 2017

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
Kelsey, H. M., Ladinsky, T. C., Staisch L., Sherrod, B. L., Blakely, R. J., Pratt, T. L.,… Wan, E. (2017). 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. Tectonics, 36, 2085–2107. https://doi.org/10.1002/ 2017TC004558

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

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
Siler, D.L., Zhang, Y., Spycher, N.F., Dobson, P.F., Mcclain, J.S., Gasperikova, E., Zierenberg, R.A., Schi, P., Ferguson, C., Fowler, A., Cantwell, C., 2017. Geothermics Play-fairway analysis for geothermal resources and exploration risk in the Modoc Plateau region. Geothermics 69, 15–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geothermics.2017.04.003

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

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
Balbas, A., Barth, A.M., Clark, P.U., Clark, J., Caffee, M, O’Connor, J.E., Baker, V.R., Konrad, K., Bjornstad, B.,2 017, 10Be dating of late-Pleistocene megafloods and Cordilleran ice-sheet retreat in the northwestern U.S. Geology. First published on May 8, 2017, doi:10.1130/G38956.1

Year Published: 2017

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.
The ISME Journal 11, 2305–2318 (2017)

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 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.
Waldrop, M.P., Holloway, J.M., Smith, D.B., Goldhaber, M.B., Drenovsky, R.E., Scow, K.M., Dick, R., Howard, D., Wylie, B., and Grace, J.B., 2017, The interacting roles of climate, soils, and plant production on soil microbial communities at a continental scale: Ecology, v. 98, no. 7, p. 1957-1967, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1883.

Year Published: 2017

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, Jeffrey S.; Cyr, Andrew J.; Buesch, David C.; Schmidt, Kevin M.; Losson, G.

Filter Total Items: 143
Full view of Bauxite sample
March 23, 2017


Mineral: Bauxite
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

Close up of Graphite
March 23, 2017

Graphite in Pegmatite Rock

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

Close up of Bauxite
March 23, 2017


Mineral: Bauxite
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

Close up of Specularite
March 23, 2017


Mineral: Specularite (a variety of Hematite)
Mineral Origin: Republic Mine, MI
Primary Mineral Commodity: Iron
Commodity Uses: Steelmaking

Close up of Bastnaesite
March 23, 2017

Bastnaesite (the reddish parts) in Carbonatite

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

February 23, 2017

2017 February Evening Public Lecture — Geology Up-Close

  • How does a scanning electron microscope (SEM) work?
  • What does USGS study with the SEM?
    • Earthquakes
    • Volcanoes
    • 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

Image shows a Scintillometer sitting on top of a rock outcropping surrounded by trees
February 17, 2017

Torrs of the Ruby Batholith

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.

January 27, 2017

NMIC - 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries Release

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 cubical sample of pyrite with a quartz crystal extending beneath it
December 31, 2016

Pyrite and Quartz

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

Image shows a sample of gold against a black background
December 31, 2016

Native Gold

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

Image shows a sample of rutile against a black background
December 31, 2016


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

Image shows a sample of augelite and quartz on a black background.
December 31, 2016

Augelite and Quartz

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.

Filter Total Items: 139
Date published: April 28, 2017

Happy 229th Birthday, Maryland!

On its 229th birthday, Maryland still rocks.

Date published: April 25, 2017


Whether you pan for gold or rare earths, you’ll get a lot of sand...and this EarthWord!

Date published: April 20, 2017

USGS Spectral Library gets Ultra- and Hyper- Revamp

We've got a library full of spectral signatures, like a police fingerprint library for minerals and other substances!

Date published: April 18, 2017


While not a Ferris wheel, this EarthWord is just as magnetic an attraction...

Date published: April 14, 2017

The Top 5 Mineral-Producing States

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.

Date published: April 13, 2017

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.

Date published: April 13, 2017

Up in the Air to Look Deep Underground

Look, in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...underground mineral research?

Date published: April 12, 2017

Risk and Reliance: The U.S. Economy and Mineral Resources

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.

Date published: April 11, 2017


It’s not a caffeinated ghost, but this EarthWord is nearly as trippy...

Date published: April 10, 2017

Cutting-Edge Tools to Explore Alaska’s Mineral Potential

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.

Date published: April 7, 2017

The Top 5 U.S. Minerals by Production Value

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.