US Geological Survey maps REE deposit in Mountain Pass region

Mountain Pass, California. (Image by Plazak, Wikimedia Commons).

In a report published on the online journal Geosphere, scientists from the US Geological Survey mapped a rare earth element deposit of magmatic carbonatite located in the Mountain Pass region of the eastern Mojave Desert, some 60 miles southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada.

The article details the geophysical and geological setting of the deposit, including a map of the deposit’s subsurface extent.

The idea behind the report is to help land-use managers evaluate sites for further exploration

To obtain and present such information, the experts used geophysical and geological techniques and analyzed gravity, magnetic, magnetotelluric, and whole-rock physical property data to image geologic structures related to REE mineral-bearing rocks at depth. Their work suggests REE minerals occur along a fault zone or geologic contact near the eastern edge of the Mescal Range.

“International concerns about increasing demand and global supply vulnerability have prompted many countries, including the US, to explore and assess domestic REE resources,” the team said in a media statement. “These findings could prove as a useful guide to future exploration efforts.”