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USGS Releases Results of Afghan Mineral Studies

USGS Releases Results of Afghan Mineral Studies

Extensive research by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Afghan Geological Survey, and the Department of Defense has yielded volumes of information about areas of high mineral potential in Afghanistan, including rare earth elements, gold, iron, and copper. This research will be used by the Afghan Government as they consider developing these minerals resources. 

Many of these Afghan mineral priority areas, including the rare-earth rich Khanneshin, are world-class resources that could lead to significant commercial development. This research comes from a 2009-2011 USGS study funded by the DOD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO). 

“The USGS is exceptionally pleased by the contribution we have been able to make to future development of Afghanistan’s world-class mineral resources, made possible through the application of modern remote-sensing tools,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “There is always increased risk for commercial ventures investing in new mining facilities in frontier areas such as Afghanistan, but by making information on the locations and estimated quantities and grades of ores publicly available, we lower that risk, spurring progress.”

“The mineral resources in Afghanistan have the potential to completely transform the nation’s economy,” said Regina Dubey, Acting Director of TFBSO. “This important new work by the USGS will be a powerful tool for those attempting to accurately evaluate potential investments in Afghanistan.”  

In total, the USGS studied 24 formations, the most prominent being the giant copper and cobalt deposits near Kabul, the iron-rich areas in central Afghanistan, the copper and gold resources in southeastern Afghanistan, and rare-earth element deposits in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. Many other precious and base metal deposits as well as industrial mineral deposits also are highlighted in the newly released reports. 

In addition, the USGS studies makes unprecedented use of hyperspectral analysis, which is an imaging tool often used in mineral exploration to find new deposits. With assistance from the Department of Defense and the Afghan Geological Survey, the USGS has mapped more than 96 percent of Afghanistan using hyperspectral imaging, more than any other country in the world. 

The reports for the 24 mineral formations contain an entire suite of information, including geochemical analyses of rock samples for mineral concentrations, satellite and airborne remote sensing, airborne geophysics, and other analysis techniques. 

These newly released reports and data show that Afghanistan has abundant mineral resources, and will play an important role in the technical data and information that are necessary for successful mineral development.  

Using baseline information collected by the Soviet Union and the Afghan Geological Survey, these reports were developed in coordination with the DOD and the Government of Afghanistan. The USGS activities in Afghanistan are part of the larger U.S. cooperative effort to build the requisite environment and capacity to develop Afghanistan’s natural resources for the long-term benefit of the Afghan people. 

For more information about these reports, visit our fact sheet online. More information on USGS research in Afghanistan may be found online. To view the maps and various information layers provided, visit the viewer online.

USGS Newsroom

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Parameter Value Description
Magnitude mb The magnitude for the event.
Longitude ° East Decimal degrees longitude. Negative values for western longitudes.
Latitude ° North Decimal degrees latitude. Negative values for southern latitudes.
Depth km Depth of the event in kilometers.
Place Textual description of named geographic region near to the event. This may be a city name, or a Flinn-Engdahl Region name.
Time 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event occurred. UTC/GMT
Updated 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event was most recently updated. UTC/GMT
Timezone offset Timezone offset from UTC in minutes at the event epicenter.
Felt The total number of felt reports
CDI The maximum reported intensity for the event.
MMI The maximum estimated instrumental intensity for the event.
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Review Status Indicates whether the event has been reviewed by a human.
Tsunami This flag is set to "1" for large events in oceanic regions and "0" otherwise. The existence or value of this flag does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist.
SIG A number describing how significant the event is. Larger numbers indicate a more significant event.
Network The ID of a data contributor. Identifies the network considered to be the preferred source of information for this event.
Sources A comma-separated list of network contributors.
Number of Stations Used The total number of Number of seismic stations which reported P- and S-arrival times for this earthquake.
Horizontal Distance Horizontal distance from the epicenter to the nearest station (in degrees).
Root Mean Square sec The root-mean-square (RMS) travel time residual, in sec, using all weights.
Azimuthal Gap The largest azimuthal gap between azimuthally adjacent stations (in degrees).
Magnitude Type The method or algorithm used to calculate the preferred magnitude for the event.
Event Type Type of seismic event.
Event ID Id of event.
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