In anticipation of increased demand for lithium for energy-related uses, the U.S. Geological Survey has been appraising the lithium resources of the United States and investigating occurrences of lithium. Analyses of samples of chiefly lacustrine rocks of Oligocene age collected by M. R. Mudge near Lincoln, Mont. showed as much as 1,500 ppm lithium. Since then we have sampled the area in greater detail, and have sampled rocks of similar ages in the Helena and Townsend valleys.
The lithium-rich beds crop out in a band about 1.3 km long by 0.3 km wide near the head of Beaver Creek, about 14 km northwest of Lincoln, Mont. These beds consist of laminated marlstone, oil shale, carbonaceous shale, limestone, conglomerate, and tuff. Some parts of this sequence average almost 0.1 percent lithium. The lithium-bearing rocks are too low in grade and volume to be economic.
Samples of sedimentary rocks of Oligocene age from the Helena and Townsend valleys in the vicinity of Helena, Mont. were generally low in lithium (3-40 ppm). However, samples of rhyolites from the western side of the Helena valley and from the Lava Mountain area were slightly above average in lithium content (6-200 ppm).
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USGS Numbered Series
Lithium in rocks from the Lincoln, Helena, and Townsend areas, Montana