A multistate assessment of critical minerals in Pennsylvanian black shales of the US Midcontinent

Sahar Mohammadi, Alyssa M. Bancroft, Cortland F. Eble, Kyle Ganz, Maria Mastalerz, James McDonald, Patrick McLaughlin, Stephan Oborny

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


United States reliance on foreign sources of "critical minerals" (CMs) has led the federal government to develop diverse programs to identify and assess potential domestic deposits. While organic-rich black shales are a proven source of critical minerals like V-Ni-Mo-U-PGE, they represent an underexploited resource. Rare earth elements (REEs) are particularly important for several emerging high-tech industries, including electronics, renewable energy, and automotive sectors. This increase in global demand for CMs has been accompanied by a shortage in global supply. The objective of this project is for the state geological surveys of Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, and Kentucky to collaborate in the collection of new geochemical and petrophysical data from Pennsylvanian black shales to improve our understanding of these mineral resources and assist in future quantification of reserves. The high concentrations of CMs in Pennsylvanian black shales and their close association with mined coal beds and underlying paleosols provide an opportunity to tap industry data and mine exposures while exploring the potential of coordinated extraction. The project will systematically sample black shales from the Cherokee-Forest City, Illinois, and Appalachian basins and initially assess their elemental content via portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF), which subsequently will be followed by more quantitative high-power lab analyses. This project will provide a comprehensive database of geochemical data from focus areas in Pennsylvanian black shales alongside documented thickness variations. These data will allow us to improve resource maps and exploration models for CMs and REEs across the targeted midcontinent basins.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41-2
JournalGeological Society of America Abstracts with Programs
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


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