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Open-File Report 2015–1111

First Steps of Integrated Spatial Modeling of Titanium, Zirconium, and Rare Earth Element Resources within the Coastal Plain Sediments of the Southeastern United States

By Karl J. Ellefsen, Bradley S. Van Gosen, David L. Fey, James R. Budahn, Steven M. Smith, and Anjana K. Shah

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.55 MB)Abstract

The Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States has extensive, unconsolidated sedimentary deposits that are enriched in heavy minerals containing titanium, zirconium, and rare earth element resources. Areas favorable for exploration and development of these resources are being identified by geochemical data, which are supplemented with geological, geophysical, hydrological, and geographical data. The first steps of this analysis have been completed. The concentrations of lanthanum, yttrium, and titanium tend to decrease as distance from the Piedmont (which is the likely source of these resources) increases and are moderately correlated with airborne measurements of equivalent thorium concentration. The concentrations of lanthanum, yttrium, and titanium are relatively high in those watersheds that adjoin the Piedmont, south of the Cape Fear Arch. Although this relation suggests that the concentrations are related to the watersheds, it may be simply an independent regional trend. The concentration of zirconium is unrelated to the distance from the Piedmont, the equivalent thorium concentration, and the watershed. These findings establish a foundation for more sophisticated analyses using integrated spatial modeling.

First posted June 11, 2015

For additional information, contact:
Director, Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, MS 964
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Ellefsen, K.J., Van Gosen, B.S., Fey, D.L., Budahn, J.R., Smith, S.M., and Shah, A.K., 2015, First steps of integrated spatial modeling of titanium, zirconium, and rare earth element resources within the Coastal Plain sediments of the southeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1111, 40 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)



1. Introduction

2. Background

3. Geochemical Data

4. Data Analysis

5. Summary

6. Acknowledgments

7. References Cited

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