How to use the USGS
Mineral Resources Data System
on Google Earth

The US Geological Survey's Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS) is a collection of reports describing metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources throughout the United States. Included are deposit name, location, commodity, deposit description, geologic characteristics, production, reserves, resources, and references. Mining locations and links to detailed mine reports can be downloaded and viewed on Google Earth. This is an invaluable tool to rockhounds trying to pinpoint mine locations. What follows are directions on how you can employ the MRDS, provided you have already downloaded and installed Google Earth on your computer (the example is for North Carolina, but the same procedure can be used for each individual state):

To access the MRDS, go online to the following web page: Then, follow the step by step directions shown below.





Google Earth should open automatically on your computer to show all NC mine locations plotted as X's on the map.


You can zoom in on whatever area or mine you want and click on an X for a pop-up information box.


Once you are finished and try to exit Google Earth, you will see a pop-up message indicating you have unsaved items in your temporary folder and asking if you want to save them to your my places folder. You need to click the save button to save the data files for the next time you open Google Earth.


Once saved, the data files and X's will be there ready to use whenever you reopen Google Earth.

While the MRSD is a valuable resource, its mine locations and data are sometimes inaccurate, so you would do well to use at least one confirmatory other source of information before heading out to find mines that are not obvious on Google Earth.

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