Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

Integrated Methods Development Project
Methods Research for the Future

The Integrated Methods Development Project (IMDP) is an interdisciplinary project to develop tools and conduct research requiring integration of geologic, geophysical, geochemical, and remote-sensing expertise. The goals of the project are to:

  • Anticipate new technologies and research directions that will be needed in the future,
  • Maintain and expand existing laboratories, equipment, and capabilities,
  • Develop and evaluate new methods and applications,
  • Conduct innovative fundamental and applied research.

The project consists of tasks and subtasks funded by the Mineral Resources Program and the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. The Integrated Methods Development Project supports the development and maintenance of new and existing techniques, methods, and applications. New or improved research tools developed within this project will be incorporated into topical projects. Download project overview information handout.

Major Research Areas

Integrated Research Studies

Integrated Research Studies Task Overview.

Geophysical Research

Evaluates and improves existing geophysical methods, software, and instrumentation used by USGS projects. Anticipates and develops new geophysical techniques and software applications that the USGS will need in the future. Maintains existing geophysical instrumentation and develops new instrumentation and techniques that will lead to improved data resolution or provide new information about geological, hydrological, or cultural sources of geophysical anomalies. Geophysical Research Task Overview.

Applied Geochemistry Research

Includes a wide variety of applied geochemistry studies that have broad applications and frequently are conducted in collaboration with other USGS projects. These process-oriented research studies span scales (microscopic to regional) and environments (earth materials to human health) relevant to mineral and energy resources, water quality, climate change, ecosystem health, and human health. These studies frequently require specialized equipment and facilities, and numerous small laboratories support this work. Applied Geochemistry Research Task Overview.

Imaging Spectroscopy Research

Manages and enhances the USGS Spectral Library, which forms the knowledge base for all imaging spectroscopy studies where materials identification and mineral mapping is a goal; the Library is a critical asset used by multiple projects under the Mineral Resources Program, the USGS response in Afghanistan, and USGS rapid responses (e.g., Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and others). Maintains the spectroscopy laboratory and spectrometers, which are critical to all remote sensing studies conducted by the CGGSC in Denver. Imaging Spectroscopy Research Task Overview.

Toxic Substances Hydrology Program Activities

The USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program provides objective scientific information on environmental contamination to improve characterization and management of contaminated sites, to protect human and environmental health, and to reduce potential future contamination problems. Some research topics on this project are funded through this program. Toxics Activities Task Overview.

Core Capabilities

  • Span scales from microscopic to planetary
  • Broad applications across disciplines
  • Life-cycle studies of mineral resources
  • Specialized areas of expertise in applied geochemistry include mineralogy, hydrogeology, analytical chemistry, aqueous geochemistry, biogeochemistry, microbiology, aquatic toxicology, and public health
  • Specialized areas of expertise in geophysics include magnetics, gravity, radiometrics, electromagnetics, seismic, ground-penetrating radar, borehole radar, and imaging spectroscopy

Selected Research Topics

  • Spectral studies of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • MiniSipper, a long-duration, automated water sampler
  • Tools to determine metal bioavailability and evaluate the health of the environment
  • Estimating bedrock thickness using constrained gravity inversion
  • Hydrogeological and geochemical processes in a mineralized alpine watershed
  • Bioaccessibility of potentially toxic metal(loid)s in earth materials
  • Trace and major element speciation by microorganisms
  • Mapping pollution, organics, and bacteria in water
  • Improving radar and acoustic imaging

Participating USGS Laboratory Facilities

Related Links

Contact Information

Kathleen Smith
Box 25046 MS 964D Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0046
Phone: (303) 236-5788
Email Kathleen Smith

The use of firm, trade, and brand names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. government.

Mineral Resources Program
Eastern Central GMEG Alaska Minerals Information Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Spatial Data