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Alaska Mineral Resources

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Regional Geologic, Geochemical, Geophysical, and Mineral Deposit Data for Economic Development in Alaska in the 21st Century


    Map of Alaska showing location of study areas

    Alaska remains a frontier region with respect to basic geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data. From 1974-1996, the USGS funded a large effort to gather and publish such data in Alaska, using the information to assess the undiscovered mineral-resource potential of large tracts of land. But even at a reconnaissance scale of 1:250,000, data has been collected for less than half of the state. The current strategy is to focus data collection activities on areas of special interest or critical need that have been indentified in consultation with partners and customers. The results of these studies are expected to open the door to exploration, assist in land-use planning, and likely encourage economic development in the state of Alaska.

    The first two areas selected for study are the central part of southwestern Alaska and the Seward Peninsula.




    Relevance and Impact

    Much of Alaska's economy is based on the development of its natural resources. However, the lack of basic geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data in many areas of the state has prevented the realistic assessment of the mineral-resource potential in those areas. Results of this project will outline areas favorable for the existence of undiscovered resources, as well as establish geochemical baselines and outline geo-environmental factors specific to the study areas. This information will aid federal, state, Native, and private land managers in making informed decisions related to resource development, while also providing the regional geochemical baselines and geo-environmental characteristics necessary for future development. Moreover, these activities satisfy the requirements of Section 1010 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which directs the Secretary of the Interior to assess the oil, gas, and other mineral potential of all public lands in Alaska.

    Beyond issues of economic development, research conducted in conjunction with the basic data collection is expected to significantly change geologists' understanding of the tectonic and stratigraphic setting of poorly mapped parts of Alaska. More data lead to better paleogeographic reconstructions and better definition of tectonic settings. Development of ore deposit models that can be applied more regionally, and perhaps globally, will come with this improved understanding.


 Mineral Resources Eastern /  Central /  Western /  Alaska /  Minerals Information
Crustal Geophysics & Geochemistry  /  Spatial Data

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