Metals

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Metals are found in many different places around the world. Many natural Earth processes affect their distribution and abundance. Metals are essential to our economy and lifestyle, and the global demand for metals continues to rise.

Basics

A copper sample. (Oxidation coating has been removed). Image Credit: USGS

Metals occur in many different geologic settings around the world. If enough metal is concentrated in one place to be of economic value, it is called an ore deposit. Well-known metals include copper, iron, gold, aluminum, manganese, and platinum, but nearly all of the sixty or so metals in the periodic table have practical uses. Geoscientists know that different types of ore deposits occur in areas where particular types of geologic processes have taken place.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
U.S. Geological Survey
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute

Latest News

Bingham Copper Mine
(2016-11-30)
November 21, 2016 Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, announced a plan to block mining development outside of Yellowstone National Park. Under this plan, 30,000 acres of public land north of Yellowstone is subject to a two-year restriction on mining claims while a permanent ban is considered....

Case Studies & Factsheets

Fig. 1. Gold, 3.3 cm high, Round Mountain Mine, Nye County, Nevada. L. McMaster collection. Credit: J. Scovil

Defining the Problem The western states contain many gold deposits (Fig. 1), and a zone of faulted sedimentary and igneous rocks in northeastern Nevada, known as the “Carlin” trend, is the most productive region in the country. Since the 1961 discovery of the Carlin deposit and the subsequent...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Humboldt and Lander counties case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on gold mining in Nevada'...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Marquette County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on iron mining in...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Elko and Eureka counties case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on gold mining in Nevada'...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Greenlee County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on copper mining in...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the St. Louis County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on iron mining in St....

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Pima County case study highlighted
U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Information and Data Management has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on copper mining in Pima...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Tracking the Supply of Critical Materials; Image courtesy of Nedal Nassar.
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

No country in the world produces all of the mineral resources necessary for modern society. International trade plays a critical role in providing these raw materials, forming a global network of production, export, import, and use. This network must continuously adapt to national and...

GOLI Course: Best Practices in Mineral Resource Estimation & Reporting. Image courtesy of Abani Samal
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Construction of a computerized model to estimate mineral resources is a common practice in mineral exploration projects and mining operations. Many times a technical report is done as per international reporting standards such as NI-43-101 or JORC to meet the requirement of certain stock...

Geological Surveys Database Publications

1999, Arizona Geological Survey
The Picacho Mountains are north-south trending mountain range completely surrounded by Quaternary alluvium, and consists of Tertiary and older granitic and gneissic rocks (Figure 1). Picacho Peak, located south of the south end of the range, is also surrounded by alluvium, and consists of Tertiary...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
The Samaniego Hills are a low series of hills composed of flat-lying to gently dipping early Miocene and possibly late Oligocene lava flows interbedded with thin units of volcaniclastic and locally non-volcaniclastic sandstone and conglomerate. The preserved sequence is approximately 600 meters...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
The Sawtooth Mountains are a small (45 km<sup>2</sup>), low-relief (250 m), yet rugged range composed of essentially flat-lying, Mid-Tertiary volcanic rocks. Along with the West Silver Bell Mountains, which consist mostly of Middle Proterozoic granitic rocks, the ranges form the...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
This report is a brief summary of the geology and mineral resources of the Tonto Basin, prepared in conjunction with a mineral potential report for a proposed land withdrawal in the Theodore Roosevelt Lake area, requested by the Bureau of Reclamation (Federal Register, v.62, No. 232, p63957, Dec. 3...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
We have completed initial paleoseismologic investigations to evaluate the recency and size of paleoearthquakes and long-term slip rates on the Hurricane fault in southern Utah and northern Arizona (SUNA). The Hurricane fault is a long, west-dipping normal fault with substantial late Cenozoic...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
The Theodore Roosevelt Dam area is located approximately 90 km east of Phoenix on the southwest flank of Tonto Basin (Figure 1). The map area encompasses the southeastern end of the Mazatzal Mountains and the northern Two Bar Ridge area at the northeastern end of the Superstition Mountains. The...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
Mafic dikes and sills intrude sediments of the Late Jurassic (Early Cretaceous?) lower McCoy Mountains Formation in western Arizona. Some units show evidence for intrusion into wet, unconsolidated sediments, indicating that intrusion was approximately contemporaneous with sedimentation. Some of the...
1999, Arizona Geological Survey
Water quality issues are becoming increasingly important in the upper Gila River drainage area as competition among municipal and industrial water use, agriculture, environmental concerns, and conflicts over water rights set greater demands for use against those of conservation and water quality...
1998, Arizona Geological Survey
AZGS staff prepare and provide geologic maps, reports, and related information to interested or concerned citizens, governmental agencies, businesses, legislators and committee staff, teachers, and students. Geologists map and describe bedrock and surficial materials; metallic, nonmetallic, and...
1998, Arizona Geological Survey
This report presents a compilation of geologic and hydrologic information for the Bullhead City-Black Mountains area of we stem Arizona. The purpose of the project is to determine the significance of mining, geology, and geohydrology in the chemistry of Bullhead City area groundwater. Mining in the...