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News from the Mineral Resources Program

by Kate Johnson, Program Coordinator

Welcome to the inaugural issue of USGS Minerals News. This newsletter is designed to provide current information on the science activities funded by the Mineral Resources Program (MRP). The newsletter will highlight current activities, upcoming events, accomplishments, and recent publications. From time to time we will also report on science-planning activities within the Program, including new project ideas and changes in Program direction. Articles may also focus on the outcome of meetings held with stakeholders, internal or external to the USGS. This first issue contains articles on national maps and datasets for research and land management, mineral resources spatial data available on the Web, the latest developments with mineral resource databases, a summary of the recently completed Front Range Infrastructure Resources project, and an update of some of our international work in in northeast Asia.

General News

Redesign of MRP Exhibit at Department of the Interior - Exhibits for all USGS Programs in the Department of the Interior Museum at Main Interior, are being redesigned by the Office of Communications, Director's Office. The new MRP exhibit, "Minerals…Building Blocks of Civilization," has been designed and produced by the EROS Data Center on the basis of input from the MRP and staff scientists. The new exhibit contains sections on "What Good are Minerals?", "How are Minerals Used?", and "How Does the USGS Help Our Nation Meet Its Mineral Resource Needs?". The new exhibit will be completed within the next two months.

New project possible for fiscal year 2003 - Depending on the outcome of the Congressional budget process, MRP is considering funding several new activities beginning on October 1, 2003. The largest possible new project is a long-term effort to describe and interpret the geochemical landscapes of the United States. A key component of this work would be a new survey of the geochemistry of soils of the United States. This survey, to be undertaken in partnership with other Federal agencies, will provide the Nation with current information on metals in soils. The only comprehensive United States database of such information is a very low density survey, with each sample representing about 6,000 square kilometers of land surface area, and was collected in the 1960s and 1970s.

We would like to thank Judy Back, Maria Montour, and Dave Frank of the Minerals Outreach Advisory Team, who coordinate production of the USGS Minerals News. The timely contribution of articles to the newsletter by scientists is also greatly appreciated. The overall effectiveness of this newsletter depends in large part on the contributions of the scientific staff. Please contact Judy Back (jback@usgs.gov; 703/648-6459) if you have a "hot topic" that you would like to include in the next USGS Mineral News. The newsletter, which will be published twice annually on the Internet, will be available to anyone who has Internet access. Please subscribe to our listserve to be notified by e-mail of future issues.

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