Tuvalu and other Pacific islands resist sea level rise and add land area

Climate alarmists have long been predicting that global warming induced sea level rise would make low-lying Pacific islands disappear and cause thousands of “climate refugees” to seek new homes. Here are some examples:

Smithsonian.com, August, 2004: Will Tuvalu Disappear Beneath the Sea? Global warming threatens to swamp a small island nation.

Mother Jones, December, 2009: What Happens When Your Country Drowns?

Washington Post, August, 2014: Has the era of the ‘climate change refugee’ begun?

Bloomberg, November, 2017: A Tiny Island Prepares the World for a Climate Refugee Crisis.

The University of Arizona has been complicit in this hype; see my Wryheat post: University of Arizona dances with sea level.

These alarmist claims have not come to pass because of the geologic processes that build these islands.

A new paper published in Nature Communications on Feb. 9, 2018, shows that despite sea level rise, most islands are increasing in land area.

A University of Auckland study (Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations, Paul S. Kench, Murray R. Ford & Susan D. Owen) examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery. The paper claims that local sea level has risen at twice the global average (~3.90 + 0.4 mm.yr-1). That translates to about six inches over the 43-year period. However, the study found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, increasing Tuvalu’s total land area by 2.9 percent, even though sea levels in the country rose at twice the global average. (Read Full paper in Nature).

Here is figure 3 from that paper followed by its caption:

Caption for Tuvalu fig 3 (ha = hectares): Examples of island change and dynamics in Tuvalu from 1971 to 2014.

A Nanumaga reef platform island (301 ha) increased in area 4.7 ha (1.6%) and remained stable on its reef platform.

B Fangaia island (22.4 ha), Nukulaelae atoll, increased in area 3.1 ha (13.7%) and remained stable on reef rim.

C Fenualango island (14.1 ha), Nukulaelae atoll rim, increased in area 2.3 ha (16%). Note smaller island on left Teafuafatu (0.29 ha), which reduced in area 0.15 ha (49%) and had significant lagoonward movement.

D Two smaller reef islands on Nukulaelae reef rim. Tapuaelani island, (0.19 ha) top left, increased in area 0.21 ha (113%) and migrated lagoonward. Kalilaia island, (0.52 ha) bottom right, reduced in area 0.45 ha (85%) migrating substantially lagoonward.

E Teafuone island (1.37 ha) Nukufetau atoll, increased in area 0.04 ha (3%). Note lateral migration of island along reef platform. Yellow lines represent the 1971 shoreline, blue lines represent the 1984 shoreline, green lines represent the 2006 shoreline and red lines represent the 2014 shoreline.


The reason that these islands are gaining area is that as the sea rises, coral reefs grow higher and trap coral debris and sand to build up the island. The science of coral reef atolls is not new. This process was first described by Charles Darwin in 1842: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London: Smith Elder and Co. (Link to Darwin’s full description).

This figure from Darwin’s paper shows that coral atolls originate around a volcanic island or seamount. As sea level rises (or land sinks) the corals grow to remain in shallow water and the coral debris and sand cause an atoll island to form. That the corals were able to overcome a recent six-inch rise in sea level may not seem very much, but remember that these islands have been around a long time and dealt with a 400-foot rise in sea level since the depths of the last glacial epoch.

The findings of the new paper cited above support previous studies. For instance:

Kench et al., 2015, Coral islands defy sea-level rise over the past century: Records from a central Pacific atoll, Geological Society of America, in Geology Magazine, March 2015. (Source)

“Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (~5.1 + 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ~0.30 + 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level. Results suggest a more optimistic prognosis for the habitability of atoll nations and demonstrate the importance of resolving recent rates and styles of island change to inform adaptation strategies.”

See also:

The Sea Level Scam














American Mineral Production for 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey has just released its annual summary of non-fuel mineral production in the U.S. for 2017. The estimated total value of domestically-mined, non-fuel minerals in the United States was $75.2 billion, a 6% increase from 2016.

The estimated value of metals production increased 12% to $26.3 billion. Principal contributors to the total value of metal mine production in 2017 were gold (38%), copper (30%), iron ore (12%), and zinc (8%).

The total value of industrial minerals production was $48.9 billion, a 3% increase from that of 2016. The main industrial minerals were crushed stone (31%), cement (20%), and construction sand and gravel (16%).

These mineral materials were, in turn, consumed by downstream industries to produce an estimated value of $2.94 trillion for the U.S. economy in 2017, a 3.5% increase from 2016. If you add in manufacturing which uses imported mineral products as well, the value of non-fuel minerals to the U.S. gross domestic product was $19.3 trillion in 2017.

Nevada captured first place in U.S. non-fuel mineral mining in 2017 with a production value of $8.68 billion, mainly from Gold.

Arizona was the second largest producer with a production value of $6.61, mainly from copper. Mike Conway of the Arizona Geological Survey summed up the Arizona 2017 highlights as follows:

1st in copper production with ~ 68% of domestic production.

2nd in gemstone production after Oregon and ahead of Idaho.

5th in producing sand and gravel for construction.

Other industrial minerals produced in Arizona in 2017: gypsum, dimension stone, clay, zeolites, bentonite, perlite, and salt.

6th in production of zeolites, and the only producer of chabazite.

Arizona joins six other states involved in helium production.

Arizona is one of five states with molybdenum production.

Arizona is a leader in Rhenium production with four of the six operations in the U.S.

The U.S. Geological Survey notes:

In 2017, U.S. production of 13 mineral commodities was valued at more than $1 billion each. These were, in decreasing order of value, crushed stone, gold, cement, copper, construction sand and gravel, industrial sand and gravel, iron ore, lime, zinc, phosphate rock, salt, soda ash, and clays (all types).

In 2017, 11 States each produced more than $2 billion worth of nonfuel mineral commodities. These States were, in descending order of production value, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Alaska, California, Minnesota, Florida, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, and Wyoming.

The US Geological Survey report shows that the U.S. is 100% reliant on imports for 22 minerals.


A note on reserves and resources from the U.S. Geological Survey:

Reserves data are dynamic. They may be reduced as ore is mined and (or) the feasibility of extraction diminishes, or more commonly, they may continue to increase as additional deposits (known or recently discovered) are developed, or currently exploited deposits are more thoroughly explored and (or) new technology or economic variables improve their economic feasibility. Reserves may be considered a working inventory of mining companies’ supplies of an economically extractable mineral commodity. As such, the magnitude of that inventory is necessarily limited by many considerations, including cost of drilling, taxes, price of the mineral commodity being mined, and the demand for it. Reserves will be developed to the point of business needs and geologic limitations of economic ore grade and tonnage. For example, in 1970, identified and undiscovered world copper resources were estimated to contain 1.6 billion metric tons of copper, with reserves of about 280 million tons of copper. Since then, almost 520 million tons of copper have been produced worldwide, but world copper reserves in 2017 were estimated to be 790 million tons of copper, more than double those of 1970, despite the depletion by mining of more than the original estimated reserves.

Future supplies of minerals will come from reserves and other identified resources, currently undiscovered resources in deposits that will be discovered in the future, and material that will be recycled from current in use stocks of minerals or from minerals in waste disposal sites. Undiscovered deposits of minerals constitute an important consideration in assessing future supplies.

You can read the entire 200-page report, MINERAL COMMODITY SUMMARIES 2018, at


The report gives details of the status of 84 mineral commodities.

See also:

Coal – A Possible New Source of Rare Earth Elements

Critical mineral resources of the United States

Climate Craziness, Politics, and Hypocrisy

In my opinion, the greatest danger we face from global warming is that politicians think they can stop it. Politicians decree that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels even though there is no physical evidence that those emissions play a significant role is controlling global temperature. (See: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect)

The policy of reducing CO2 emissions is costing billions, even trillions, of dollars that could be put to better use. For instance, Germany will have to spend more than 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) to meet even the lower end of the European Union’s 2050 target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to a draft of a study commissioned by the BDI German industry group. (Source).

Several counties and municipalities in California as well as New York City have filed lawsuits against energy companies. These suits are seeking to force oil and gas companies to pay reparations for severe weather and infrastructure advancements to guard against future storms and rising sea levels. Read more However, as noted by Valerie Richardson in The Washington Times, the risks posed by human-caused climate change were apparently alarming enough to prompt seven California municipalities last year to sue ExxonMobil, but not serious enough to disclose in full to their investors. “Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years,” said ExxonMobil in its petition in Texas District Court. Read more.

Back in the year 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicted that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is. Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” (Source) Residents of the northeast U.S. would disagree due to the very cold weather and snowfalls this winter.

Also, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January, 2018), climate activists set up a base camp to educate world leaders about man-made global warming. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, however, as the “Gore Effect” kicked in and dumped about six feet of snow on their little stunt during the last six days. The weather at Davos did not deter the arrival of 1,000 private jets owned or chartered by elites who lecture the rest of us about limiting our “carbon footprint.” The hosting organization for the Davos forum has a formal sustainability policy that vows to “limit our environmental impact” and addresses such issues as climate change and deforestation.

Just plain crazy:

Researchers at The University of Manchester have carried out the first ever study looking at the carbon footprint of sandwiches, both home-made and pre-packaged. They considered the whole life cycle of sandwiches, including the production of ingredients, sandwiches and their packaging, as well as food waste discarded at home and elsewhere in the supply chain. Of the recipes considered, the most carbon-intensive variety is a ready-made ‘all-day breakfast’ sandwich which includes egg, bacon and sausage. Read more

Researchers at the University of Arizona set out to learn more about how people’s perception of the threat of global climate change affects their mental health. They found that while some people have little anxiety about the Earth’s changing climate, others are experiencing high levels of stress, and even depression, based on their perception of the threat of global climate change. Read more

Alarmist scientists have found a terrifying new ‘climate change’ threat: mutant transgender turtles. Their study, titled Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World, warns that global warming could turn the world’s sea turtle populations female, possibly leading to their extinction. Read more.

And even this: A Canadian government website claims Santa Claus signed an international agreement to relocate his workshop to the South Pole to escape the effects of man-made global warming in the Arctic. Read more.

See also:

Climate Madness 1

Climate Madness 2

Climate Madness 3

Climate Madness 4  

Climate Madness 5

Climate Madness 6

Climate Madness 7

Climate Madness 8

Climate Madness 9

Climate Madness 10

Coal – A Possible New Source of Rare Earth Elements

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has identified high concentrations of rare earth elements (REE) in coal samples collected from several American coal basins and is doing research to see if these minerals are economically recoverable.

According to the Energy Business Review, samples

were collected from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite regions. The samples were found to have high REE concentrations greater than 300 parts per million (ppm).

NETL said: “Concentrations of rare earths at 300ppm are integral to the commercial viability of extracting REE from coal and coal by-products, making NETL’s finding particularly significant in the effort to develop economical domestic supplies of these elements.”

NETL has partnered with West Virginia University (WVU), the University of Kentucky (UK), Tetra Tech, and the XLight for the research project.

The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the U.S. dependent on foreign REE imports. Currently, China supplies about 90 percent of REE used in industry.

Rare earth elements are vital to modern society. Some of the uses include computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting, night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries, and other defense electronics.

There are 17 naturally occurring rare earth elements: yttrium, scandium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium.

Despite the name “rare earths” the more common REE are each similar in crustal abundance to commonplace metals such as chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and lead, but REE rarely occur in economic concentrations, and that’s the problem.

The U.S. used to be self-sufficient in REE due to one deposit, Mountain Pass in the Mojave desert, California, just west of Las Vegas, Nevada. That mine, a carbonatiteintrusion with extraordinary contents of light REE (8 to 12% rare earth oxides) was discovered in 1949 and began production in 1952. Mining ceased in 2002 due to low prices and some environmental regulatory trouble triggered by a tailings spill. However, the mine was reactivated in 2012 but went bankrupt in 2016. Another company (a Chinese consortium) purchased the property in July, 2017, and is working to restart operations.

Some other U.S. rare earth resources are shown on the map below.

See a power-point essay on REE that explains geology, deposit types, and many more details.

One of the authors of that power-point says:

“For example, a typical coal contains 62 parts per million (ppm) of total rare earth elements on a whole sample basis. With more than 275 billion tons of coal reserves in the United States, approximately 17 million tons of rare earth elements are present within the coal—that’s a 1,000-year supply at the current rate of consumption.” —Dr. Evan Granite, NETL

The report also says that abandoned tailings piles from coal and iron mines may be important resources of REE.

Dr. Granite says that the United States consumes around 16- to17 thousand tons of REE each year, and this demand could be completely satisfied by extracting rare earths from domestic coal and coal by-products.

See also:

Rare Earths Resources in the US

How we use rare earth elements

Rare Earth Elements Deposits in New Mexico

Illustrating the failure of the climate movement – in one graph

This post is reblogged from

People like Bill McKibben of 350.org make a big deal out of the “successes” of carbon divestment, where the 350.org organization bullies convinces some hapless organization to divest from coal and petroleum stocks in investment portfolios. Besides the fact that this has no real impact, since when one person or group “divests”, another one buys the shares up, this graph shows why 350.org, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC, and the whole lot of climate campaigners are just practicing an exercise in futility.

Dr. Roger Pielke writes on Twitter:

I’m preparing some slides for an upcoming talk (on climate policy, yowza!). The attached is an effort to show in a readily understandable way the mind-bending scale of the energy challenge associated with deep decarbonization. What do you think?

This graph of global fossil fuel consumption tells the true story: green efforts to reduce fossil fuel use have not succeed with any impact at all. With a 57% increase in fossil fuel use since 1992, their efforts have been completely without effect.

Be sure to save this post URL and share it widely to those that think they have “made a difference”.

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

People for the West Feb 2018 newsletter now online

The People for the West newsletter for February, 2018, is now online at https://wryheat.wordpress.com/people-for-the-west/2018-archive/2018-02-February/

The lead article is titled “Climate Craziness, Politics, and Hypocrisy.” It begins:

In my opinion, the greatest danger we face from global warming is that politicians think they can stop it. Politicians decree that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels even though there is no physical evidence that those emissions play a significant role is controlling global temperature. (See: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect)

Some items from that article:

The elites of the world used 1,000 private jets to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where they told us to cut our “carbon footprints.”

Back in the year 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicted that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event.” Davos attendees had to contend with six feet of newly fallen snow.

Researchers at The University of Manchester have carried out the first ever study looking at the carbon footprint of sandwiches, both home-made and pre-packaged.

Researchers at the University of Arizona set out to learn more about how people’s perception of the threat of global climate change affects their mental health.

And now there is the threat of mutant transgender turtles caused by global warming.




The fake two degree political limit on global warming

It is a prime tenet of global warming alarmism that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to “limit the increase in global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels, or risk hitting a tipping point where the impact becomes irreversible” and all hell will break loose. This two-degree number has been adopted by the IPCC and by many governments, and is the primary goal of the Paris Climate Accord (in addition to extracting money from developed nations).

Does that number, two degrees Celsius, have any basis in science? Here is some history on how it developed (graphic from Carbon Brief).

It seems that the number was accepted without much question. Where did the number come from? Emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) based at the University of East Anglia during “Climategate” revealed that Dr. Phil Jones, head of CRU, inadvertently admitted that the number was “plucked out of thin air” and has no basis in science.

In this context, “pre-industrial levels” means prior to the year 1850 which marked the end of the “Little Ice Age.” The globe has been warming (on and off) from that since 1850.

And guess what? According to the Berkeley Earth global average surface air temperature record, Earth has already warmed more than two degrees Celsius since the early 1800’s pre-industrial levels. (Source) See any irreversible tipping points yet?

Let’s examine Earth’s temperature history of the past 600 million years to see if two degrees Celsius is a big deal in Earth’s history. Estimates of temperature and CO2 content are based on geologic, biologic, and isotopic evidence.

Sources for figure above:

Berner, R.A. and Kothavala, Z, 2001, GEOCARB III: A Revised Model of Atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, Vol. 301, February, 2001, P. 182–204.

Scotese, C.R., http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

Notice in the figure above that for most of the past 600 millions years, global temperatures have been 5- to 12 degrees Celsius higher than they are now, i.e. a warmer world is the norm. There has been no “run-away” warming and life has been robust and flourishing, especially during the steamy Cretaceous Period when global temperatures are estimated to have been at least 12 degrees Celsius higher than now.

Dear politicians, the two degrees Celsius goal is a political one, not a scientific one. No matter what you do, you cannot stop climate change. Adapt to it and stop wasting trillions of dollars on this unnecessary and futile effort.

“The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.” — James Hansen, “Climate forcings in the Industrial era”, PNAS, Vol. 95, Issue 22, 12753-12758, October 27, 1998.

“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC.

While controlling emissions from burning fossil fuels may have some beneficial effects on air quality, it will have no measurable effect on climate. It will have great detrimental effects on the economy and our standard of living. The greatest danger of climate change is that politicians think they can stop it.

See also:

Impact of Paris climate accord and why Trump was right to dump it

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Don’t Touch Buckmoth Caterpillars

Buckmoths (genus Hemileuca, several species) are found across southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and south through Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico. Habitat varies from mesquite bosques to grasslands and plains, depending on the species. They feed on the leaves of palo verdes, mesquites, and other desert trees. The spines of the caterpillars can release a very painful toxin, so don’t touch them.

The following material is from a publication of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum which was derived from: Tread Lightly: Venomous and Poisonous Animals of the Southwest, by Rich and Margie Wagner. Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ. 2005. Reprinted with permission of ASDM.

Physical Characteristics

A number of caterpillars have developed an effective form of chemical defense that utilizes “stinging spines” on their bodies to ward off would-be predators. The most common of these are the buckmoth caterpillars, of which about 23 species are found in the Southwest. The full-grown caterpillars are about 2 inches long (5 cm) and are covered from one end to the other with bristles or urticating spines. The colors are variable and depend on the species. The fast-flying adult moths have a wingspan of about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm), and vary in color from relatively nondescript tan and brown to brilliantly colored yellow and orange on black. They are primarily day-fliers, and they do not have stinging spines. (Urticating: cause a stinging pain or sensation)


Juno Buckmoth (Hemileuca juno) caterpillars feed on the leaves of common desert trees, often in groups. When molested, the caterpillar usually stops feeding and remains motionless, counting on camouflage and the urticating spines for protection. Caterpillars occasionally drop off branches and land on people, or are brushed against by riders on horseback, resulting in envenomation by the urticating spines. Other buckmoth caterpillars, like those of the range caterpillar moth (Hemileuca oliviae), feed on grasses, and envenomations can inadvertently occur when a person is walking through the grass.


The life cycle of moths is somewhat complex, and the particular details are species-specific. Flights generally occur from September through December. The mating of most Hemileuca moths, such as the Juno or mesquite buckmoth, begins shortly after sunset on fall evenings. Males use their well-developed antennae to track and follow the pheromone trail given off by female moths. After mating, the female deposits eggs on branches in host trees, with the eggs usually laid in circles around small branches. The eggs over-winter and hatch in April or May into small larvae, or caterpillars, that eat and grow for about a month, molting through five instars before they migrate to the ground and form a pupa, or cocoon, in leaf litter. After metamorphosis, most of the cocoons will hatch into adults (in the fall again), although some Hemileuca cocoons have been known to lie dormant for four years.

Effects of venom

The spines of stinging caterpillars contain toxins that are produced in gland cells. Caterpillars do not have a stinging apparatus per se, but rather depend on intentional or inadvertent contact of the spines with the skin of a victim. After the spines penetrate the skin, they break off, releasing toxins that cause mild to severe pain and other compounds that induce an inflammatory dermatitis called erucism. Because the protein components of the toxins are considered “foreign” to the body, an allergic reaction may also occur. While hospitalization is rarely required for stings on the skin, spines that enter the eyes may cause potentially serious complications.

First Aid and Medical Treatment

Anyone attempting to remove a stinging caterpillar should be careful not to incur additional stings on the hands or elsewhere, particularly as the caterpillar drops off. Wash the area immediately with soap and water. Spines that remain in the skin can often be removed with adhesive tape. Baking soda applied as a paste with water may help decrease the pain, as may ice applied to the injured area. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken for pain. Benadryl® may help treat localized allergic reactions. As always, victims with severe allergic reactions should seek immediate medical attention, as should anyone with persistent symptoms or signs of infection.

The moths, themselves, are harmless.

Buckmoth caterpillars are especially abundant in New Orleans and tend to fall out of oak trees onto unwary people. (See video about “the attack of the buckmoth caterpillars”) There are several other stinging caterpillars; see this from the Florida Poison Information Center.

See also:


Field-trip guides to selected volcanoes and volcanic landscapes of the western United States

The US Geological Survey has just published Field-trip guides to selected volcanoes and volcanic landscapes of the western United States Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5022. Links to separate chapters are found at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20175022

Here is the table of contents:


The North American Cordillera is home to a greater diversity of volcanic provinces than any comparably sized region in the world. The interplay between changing plate-margin interactions, tectonic complexity, intra-crustal magma differentiation, and mantle melting have resulted in a wealth of volcanic landscapes.  Field trips in this guide book collection (published as USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5022) visit many of these landscapes, including (1) active subduction-related arc volcanoes in the Cascade Range; (2) flood basalts of the Columbia Plateau; (3) bimodal volcanism of the Snake River Plain-Yellowstone volcanic system; (4) some of the world’s largest known ignimbrites from southern Utah, central Colorado, and northern Nevada; (5) extension-related volcanism in the Rio Grande Rift and Basin and Range Province; and (6) the eastern Sierra Nevada featuring Long Valley Caldera and the iconic Bishop Tuff.  Some of the field trips focus on volcanic eruptive and emplacement processes, calling attention to the fact that the western United States provides opportunities to examine a wide range of volcanological phenomena at many scales.

The 2017 Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) in Portland, Oregon, was the impetus to update field guides for many of the volcanoes in the Cascades Arc, as well as publish new guides for numerous volcanic provinces and features of the North American Cordillera. This collection of guidebooks summarizes decades of advances in understanding of magmatic and tectonic processes of volcanic western North America.

These field guides are intended for future generations of scientists and the general public as introductions to these fascinating areas; the hope is that the general public will be enticed toward further exploration and that scientists will pursue further field-based research.


Critical mineral resources of the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey has just published a new assessment of mineral resources vital to our modern economy: Critical mineral resources of the United States—Economic and environmental geology and prospects for future supply, Professional Paper 1802

Edited by:Klaus J. Schulz , John H. DeYoung Jr. , Robert R. Seal II , and Dwight C. Bradley

You can download the entire book (148 Mb) and/or individual chapters here:



The book consists of two introductory chapters and 20 chapters which each discuss the geology, mineralogy, and occurrence of specific mineral commodities. Note that the U.S. is entirely dependent on imports for 20 critical minerals (see page 6 of this publication for a chart:https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/mcs/2017/mcs2017.pdf )

The following map from PP1802 shows where the U.S. gets minerals for which we are at least 50 percent dependent on imports.


The first chapter in PP1802 justifies the need for this report as follows:

The global demand for mineral commodities is at an all time high and is expected to continue to increase, and the development of new technologies and products has led to the use of a greater number of mineral commodities in increasing quantities to the point that, today, essentially all naturally occurring elements have several significant industrial uses. Although most mineral commodities are present in sufficient amounts in the earth to provide adequate supplies for many years to come, their availability can be affected by such factors as social constraints, politics, laws, environmental regulations, land-use restrictions, economics, and infrastructure.

This volume presents updated reviews of 23 mineral commodities and commodity groups viewed as critical to a broad range of existing and emerging technologies, renewable energy, and national security. The commodities or commodity groups included are antimony, barite, beryllium, cobalt, fluorine, gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, indium, lithium, manganese, niobium, platinum-group elements, rare-earth elements, rhenium, selenium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, vanadium, and zirconium. All these commodities have been listed as critical and (or) strategic in one or more of the recent studies based on assessed likelihood of supply interruption and the possible cost of such a disruption to the assessor. For some of the minerals, current production is limited to only one or a few countries. For many, the United States currently has no mine production or any significant identified resources and is largely dependent on imports to meet its needs. As a result, the emphasis in this volume is on the global distribution and availability of each mineral commodity. The environmental issues related to production of each mineral commodity, including current mitigation and remediation approaches to deal with these challenges, are also addressed.

See also:

American non-fuel mineral production 2016

This article notes: The value of all non-fuel minerals produced from U.S. mines was $74.6 billion, a slight increase over production in 2015. “ Domestic raw materials and domestically recycled materials were used to process mineral materials worth $675 billion. These mineral materials were, in turn, consumed by downstream industries with an estimated value of $2.78 trillion in 2016.” Nevada was ranked first with a total mineral production value of $7.65 billion, mainly from gold. Arizona came in second in total production with a value of $5.56 billion and first in U.S. copper production.