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RESTON, Va. — The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Kentucky Geological Survey and the Tennessee Geological survey are investing abut $374,000 to map the that covers a representative area of the South Central Kentucky and North Central Tennessee mineral districts.

These mineral districts are in the Cumberland Saddle region of the Cincinnati Arch that separates the Illinois and Appalachian Basins, and they encompass a focus area that is permissive for mineral commodities related to at least two mineral systems: marine chemocline, and basin brine path. Potential critical minerals in the project area include barite, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium and zinc.

The grants for the geologic mapping come from a $74 million investment allocated earlier this year to the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI), provided through annual appropriations and investments from the Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Overall, the Infrastructure Law is providing an appropriated $510.7 million investment to the USGS to advance scientific innovation and map critical minerals.

The new geologic maps will refine our understanding of the geologic framework of mineral areas of interest. In addition to helping identify mineral potential, these maps also support both decisions about the use of land, water, energy and minerals, and understanding the potential impact of geologic hazards on communities.

The KTMD host deposits of sphalerite, galena, fluorite and barite mostly related to basin brine path Mississippi Valley-type mineralization within units of the Lower Ordovician Upper Knox Group. Unlike most other Mississippi Valley-type mineralization deposits in North America, the region’s deposits contain substantial amounts of fluorite, like the nearby Illinois-Kentucky Fluorspar District to the west-northwest and the Central Kentucky Mineral district to the north.

Earth MRI is a partnership between the USGS and state geological surveys across America to modernize our understanding of the Nation’s fundamental geologic framework and mineral resources through new geologic maps, geophysical and topographic surveys, and geochemical sampling. The 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided additional funding that has accelerated this new mapping in areas with potential for hosting critical mineral resources both still in the ground and in mine wastes.

More information can be found here. To learn more about how the USGS is investing the resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, visit our website. To learn more about USGS mineral resource and commodity information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter

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