Systems-Deposits-Commodities-Critical Minerals Table for the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative

Open-File Report 2020-1042
By:  and 



To define and prioritize focus areas across the United States with resource potential for 35 critical minerals in a few years’ time, the U.S Geological Survey Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) required an efficient approach to streamline workflow. A mineral systems approach based on current understanding of how ore deposits that contain critical minerals form and relate to broader geologic frameworks and the tectonic history of the Earth was used to satisfy this Earth MRI need. This report describes the rationale for, and structure of, a table developed for Earth MRI that relates critical minerals and principal commodities to the deposit types and mineral systems in which they are concentrated. The hierarchical relationship between systems, deposits, commodities, and critical minerals makes it possible to define and prioritize each system-based focus area once for all of the critical minerals that it may contain. This approach is advantageous because mineral systems are much larger than individual ore deposits and they generally have geologic features that can be “imaged” by the topographic, geologic, geochemical, and geophysical mapping techniques deployed by Earth MRI.

Suggested Citation

Hofstra, A.H., and Kreiner, D.C., 2020, Systems-Deposits-Commodities-Critical Minerals Table for the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (ver. 1.1, May 2021): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1042, 26 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Background
  • Problem and Solution
  • Mineral Systems
  • Table Rationale and Explanation
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Systems-deposits-commodities-critical minerals table for the earth mapping resources initiative
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1042
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201042
Edition Version 1.0: May 28, 2020; Version 1.1: May 19, 2021
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Description Report: vii, 24 p.; Table
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details