Titanium mineral resources of the western U.S.: an update

Open-File Report 2000-442




Thirteen deposits or districts in the western U.S. have been examined in which titaniummineral resources have been reported or implied. These deposits are of the following general types (in probable order of importance): 1) Cretaceous shoreline placer deposits, 2) silica-sand deposits of California, 3) fluvial monazite placers of Idaho, 4) anorthositerelated deposits, and 5) clay and bauxite deposits of the northwestern U.S.

Relative to previous reports, this one shows some greater and some lesser resources (table 1). In any case, titanium-mineral resources of the western U.S. (west of 103° longitude) remain modest at world scale except as unconventional (especially perovskite) and by-product (especially porphyry) resources. Some deposits, however, have enhanced value to the titanium explorationist for the geologic relations they illustrate. Among the new conclusions are:
a) Loci of Cretaceous shoreline placers form linear patterns, nested as a function of age, that can be traced for thousands of kilometers, permitting focused exploration in whole new mountain ranges.
b) Medial hematite-ilmenite solid-solution, which is highly magnetic, is a major carrier of TiO2 values in the Cretaceous deposits of Wyoming. This phase was previously thought to be relatively rare.
c) Regressive shoreline placer deposits in indurated Cretaceous sequences expose intricate facies relations, such as the construction of shoreface sequences by long-shore drift over tidal-channel fill, without much loss of paleogeographic information.
d) Due to deep weathering, virtually every Eocene sediment that accumulated in the Ione basin at the foot of the Sierra Nevada has economic value, permitting recovery of altered ilmenite and zircon along with silica, clay, coal, and gold. Ilmenite is most abundant in newly recognized shoreline sands.
e) Upper Tertiary fluvial placers of Idaho formed in and filled fault-bounded basins and thus are far more voluminous than deposits in the modern valley system. Previously reported resources are thus far too low.
f) Mafic igneous rocks of Proterozoic age near Bagdad, Arizona are of ophiolitic affinity, but contain nelsonitic ilmenite enrichments associated with anorthositic layers.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Titanium mineral resources of the western U.S.: an update
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
National Minerals Information Center
Report: 37 p.; Readme
United States
Other Geospatial:
Ione Basin
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