This study examined titanium distribution in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States; the titanium is found in heavy-mineral sands that include the minerals ilmenite (Fe2+TiO3), rutile (TiO2), or leucoxene (an alteration product of ilmenite). Deposits of heavy-mineral sands in ancient and modern coastal plains are a significant feedstock source for the titanium dioxide pigments industry. Currently, two heavy-mineral sands mining and processing operations are active in the southeast United States producing concentrates of ilmenite-leucoxene, rutile, and zircon. The results of this study indicate the potential for similar deposits in many areas of the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
This study used the titanium analyses of 3,457 stream sediment samples that were analyzed as part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geochemical Survey program. This data set was analyzed by an integrated spatial modeling technique known as Bayesian hierarchical modeling to map the regional-scale, spatial distribution of titanium concentrations. In particular, clusters of anomalous concentrations of titanium occur: (1) along the Fall Zone, from Virginia to Alabama, where metamorphic and igneous rocks of the Piedmont region contact younger sediments of the Coastal Plain; (2) a paleovalley near the South Carolina and North Carolina border; (3) the upper and middle Atlantic Coastal Plain of North Carolina; (4) the majority of the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Virginia; and (5) barrier islands and stretches of the modern shoreline from South Carolina to northeast Florida. The areas mapped by this study could help mining companies delimit areas for exploration.
Van Gosen, B.S, and Ellefsen, K.J., 2018, Titanium mineral resources in heavy-mineral sands in the Atlantic coastal plain of the southeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5045, 32 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185045.
ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)
Table of Contents
- Heavy-Mineral Sands
- Industrial Uses and Significance of Titanium and Zircon
- Outlook for Heavy-Mineral Sands Production
- The Bedrock Provenance of Titanium Minerals
- The Atlantic Coastal Plain of the Southeastern United States
- Study Techniques
- Study Results
- Summary and Conclusions
- References Cited
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Title||Titanium mineral resources in heavy-mineral sands in the Atlantic coastal plain of the southeastern United States|
|Series title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Publisher||U.S. Geological Survey|
|Publisher location||Reston, VA|
|Contributing office(s)||Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center|
|Description||Report: v, 32 p.; Read Me; Data Release|
|Online Only (Y/N)||Y|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||Y|