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USGS National Map of Surficial Mineralogy

Current Landsat 7 mineral map coverageMaps of exposed surface mineral groups derived from automated spectral analysis of Landsat 7 ETM+ and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data are being generated for areas of the U.S. and its territories having potential for 1) undiscovered mineral deposits and (or) 2) environmental effects associated with mining and (or) unmined, hydrothermally-altered rocks. The mapping is being continually updated, and currently covers the western, conterminous United States with results from 180 Landsat scenes and 1,630 ASTER scenes.

More detailed and accurate mineral and vegetation maps generated from spectroscopic analysis of ASTER and "hyperspectral" data acquired by airborne imaging systems such as the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), HyMap, and SpecTIR are also provided for comparison with the automated analysis products. Most of these detailed maps are available over important active or abandoned mining districts.

The maps are available online for interactive viewing in a web browser. The underlying map services can be accessed using ArcMap for integration with other geospatial data. References for the maps available in the online services are listed below.

New item icon An algorithm for the automated analysis of Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data has been developed, and preliminary results over the southwestern United States are available for viewing and analysis as an internal USGS web service. Mapping of some important mining districts and prospective mineral resource areas has recently been added, including 1) the porphyry copper deposit at Butte, Montana, 2) the Mississippi Valley-type lead-zinc deposits of the Viburnum trend and Tri State districts in Missouri, 3) part of the Seward Peninsula in Alaska containing rare earth element and uranium mineralization, 4) part of the Eastern Alaska Range with potential for porphyry copper mineralization, and 5) the Summitville mine region in southern Colorado with its epithermal gold deposits and intense quartz-alunite and quartz-sericite-pyrite hydrothermal alteration. The results will be posted to the public web application after supporting documentation has been published. The new "coastal aerosol" band present in OLI data provides important new capabilities for mineral mapping which will have particular impact on geoenvironmental site assessment and monitoring.

Support for this ongoing effort has been provided by the Updated National Mineral Resource Assessment and Mineral Deposit Database projects of the USGS Mineral Resources Program.

Online Map Resources

Suggested Citation

Additional Information

A poster describing the National Map of Surficial Mineralogy was presented at the Digital Mapping Techniques (DMT) 2013 conference.

DMT poster thumbnail
  • Reduced-resolution poster (9.4 MB): Download

  • Full-resolution poster (269 MB, 300 dpi): Download


Mineral Resources Program
Eastern Central Western Alaska Minerals Information Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Spatial Data

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