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Rare Earths in the U.S.: More Than You Think

Rare earths (USGS)

(U.S. Geological Service)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an agency of the Department of the Interior, says rare earth elements in the U.S. are not all that rare.  Rare earths are 16 metallic elements with similar properties that are used in the manufacture of many of high-technology applications, such as high-strength magnets, metal alloys for batteries and light-weight structures, and phosphors.

Despite the name, rare earths are relatively common in the earth’s crust. Their geochemical properties, however, mean rare earths are not often found in economically exploitable concentrations. In the U.S., USGS says there are some 13 million metric tons of rare earths in known deposits.

USGS found the most numerous concentrations of rare earths in hard rock deposits in New Mexico and Colorado, as well as other locations scattered across the country. Other potential sources of rare earths are in sandy placer deposits found in Idaho, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Further potential sources are phosphate fields in Florida.

Related: Water Purification Technology Launched Based on Rare Earths

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