Wyoming Geological Survey released Report #2; Maps Focus on the Central Laramie Mountains

The publications are part of a critical mineral resource assessment program

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) released a report and a pair of maps of the central Laramie Mountains. The publications offer new data useful for evaluating Wyoming’s critical mineral resources.

Investigation Report 79, “Preliminary Investigation of the Critical Mineral Potential of the Central Laramie Mountains, Wyoming”, and the 1:24,000 scale King Mountain and Ragged Top Mountain quadrangles in Albany and Laramie were completed under a multi-year program. integrated project funded in part by the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) program of the US Geological Survey (USGS).

According to the USGS, “The goal of Earth MRI is to improve knowledge of the geological setting in the United States and to identify areas that may contain critical undiscovered mineral resources.”

“The collaboration between the USGS and WSGS is beneficial to Wyoming,” said Dr. Erin Campbell, WSGS director and state geologist. “Earth MRI is a unique program within the USGS that enables state investigations to contribute local knowledge to a national effort to ensure a stable supply of critical minerals in the United States.”

The Laramie Mountains have potential for deposits of base and precious metals such as copper, nickel, gold and silver, as well as critical mineral resources including titanium, vanadium, tungsten, chromium and some rare earth elements. There is also potential for molybdenum, platinum group metals and graphite.

This two-year project focused primarily on geological mapping and geochemical analyzes to study the multiple overlapping mineral systems in the Laramie Mountains. The report summarizes the analysis methods, data and interpretations for the maps and the wider project area.

“These maps and the accompanying report show our interpretation of a very complicated geology,” says WSGS geologist Patty Webber. “This region is defined by the suture zone between two cratons, which formed about 1.7 billion years ago. It was then intruded by the Laramie anorthosite complex and the Sherman batholith about 1.4 billion years ago. Deciphering geological history through mapping and detailed study is essential to understanding the enrichment potential of valuable, basic and critical minerals, and contributes to the understanding of the formation of the North American craton.

The King Mountain and Ragged Top Mountain maps, in addition to Survey Report 79, are available for free download; the maps are also available as hard copies for purchase. The geochemical and geochronological data collected within the framework of this project are available in the form of a numerical table in the form of tables in the appendix of the report; the raw analytical data is also available online.

Critical mineral research is an important focus at the WSGS, with ongoing work including a statewide survey of heavy mineral sandstones; cartography, geochronology and geochemistry in the Medicine Bow Mountains; and the geochemistry of the Phosphoria Formation in western Wyoming.

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