Monthly Archives: July 2011
Be sure to visit the Marston Welcome Center, located at exit 42.4
The Missouri Department of Transportation held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the beginning of the summer vacation season to celebrate the completion of the Marston Welcome Center. Jerry Prewett, the department’s Geological Survey Program director and other invited guests spoke during the ribbon cutting ceremony. The beautiful center highlights the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 and the region’s rich culture. Don’t miss this great welcome center. Learn more –Joe
Ever heard of a crinoid? Well, the fossil crinoid is a mineralization of an animal which, because if its plant-like appearance, was called the sea lily. Related to the starfish, crinoids live in the ocean that covered Missouri more than 250 million years ago. While alive, crinoids had stem-like attachments to the sea floor. The attachments were made of round mineral disks stacked together. Some had star-shaped central openings. Preserved as fossils, these disks were used by Native Americans for making beads. Visit our Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology to see crinoids and other fossils, rock, minerals and other geologic wonders. We are located at 111 Fairgrounds Road in Rolla. Stop by and take a self-guided tour. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. Admission is always free. –Joe
Small Earthquakes Occur Daily in Missouri
A magnitude 2.0 earthquake occurred at 11:02 p.m. Saturday, July 20, 2011 two miles northwest of the Missouri town of Marston. The earthquake occurred at a depth of almost nine miles and at this time, we have no reports of the event being felt. This magnitude of earthquake is not uncommon, small earthquakes and tremors occur frequently in Missouri. This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the New Madrid Earthquakes, when a series of three to five major earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 or larger earthquakes) occurred in the NMSZ in the two month period between December 16, 1811 and February 7, 1812. Learn more. –Joe
Oil Production in Missouri in 2010 reached its highest level since the 1990s
Oil was discovered in Missouri shortly after the Civil War when water wells were being drilled near Kansas City. Missouri has seen a marked increase in the production of oil in the last two fiscal years. Fiscal year 2010 figures total 127,000 barrels of oil produced. Missouri has potentially large quantities of “unconventional” energy resources that include: coalbed methane, oil sand and oil shale. Although Missouri has limited supplies of traditional hydrocarbons, relatively large deposits of “heavy oil” exist that are of increasing interest to producers. New technologies and efficient, environmentally responsible oil production strengthen Missouri’s future and result in increased economic benefit to the state through jobs and revenue. Production numbers have been collected by the state’s Geological Survey since 1933. Learn more. –Joe
Grant Awarded to the Division of Geology and Land Survey
The Division of Geology and Land Survey was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Geological Survey for $59,924 in support of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.
This year we will conduct surficial material geologic mapping for the Kirkwood and Creve Coeur 7.5 minute quadrangles. This mapping is in support of the broader St. Louis Area Hazard Mapping Project.
The survey was also awarded a sub-contract with the University of Memphis’ Center for Earthquake Research and Information to create and correlate shear wave velocity profiles and a bedrock model for the eastern half of the St. Louis project area. This research is the basis for shaking intensity models that estimate the soil response to an earthquake and it vital to improving earthquake mitigation efforts in the St. Louis area. The principal investigator is David A. Gaunt, R.G. Quadrangles already completed include Alton, Cahokia, Clayton, Columbia Bottom, Elsah, Florissant, Grafton, Granite City, O’Fallon, Oakville, Webster Groves and Wentzville. –Joe
Water, Heat Pump and Monitoring Wells
One of our mission areas is to ensure any new private water well drilled in Missouri is constructed to minimum standards as set by state regulations. This helps protect our groundwater resources from contamination due to poor well construction.
Staff with our Wellhead Protection Section regulate the construction of private water wells (this includes domestic and multiple family class wells), irrigation wells, monitoring wells and heat pump wells.
In addition, we regulate how to properly plug all types of wells. Our job is to balance the concerns of the land owner and the driller, while at the same time performing our overall directive of protecting Missouri’s vast underground water supply from contamination due to improper construction and abandonment of wells.
Watch this short video to learn more about how we protect domestic drinking water. –Joe
Elephant Rocks State Park
Missouri is blessed to enjoy one of the nation’s premiere State Parks systems. It is no surprise that natural geologic and/or hydrologic features are the main attraction at many of these Parks. World class geologic features can be seen at Bennett Spring, Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Onondaga Cave, and Grand Gulf, just to name a few. One of my favorites is Elephant Rocks. The rounded, oblong granite boulders are not only beautiful, they are a textbook example of weathering granite and provide great outdoor recreational fun. These pink “elephants” lie at the core of the Ozark Mountains and provide us with a rare glimpse of Missouri’s volcanic past. In the coming months, we will highlight several State Parks and briefly discuss the opportunities to enjoy natural geologic wonders found there. We encourage you to get out this summer and experience the geology of one Missouri’s natural gems found in the State Parks. –Joe
Missouri rock and mineral sets donated to Sullivan School District
Rock and mineral sets are flying off the sales counter at the Missouri Geology Store, located in Rolla. Our popular sets have been made available to the public since November 2009.
Each set contains 20 of our state’s more common rocks and minerals and is accompanied by a 16-page full-color booklet that describes each rock and mineral and their uses. The booklet is also available for downloading and printing.
The sets are often purchased and given as gifts. Most recently, the Steelville School District was the recipient of eight Missouri Rock and Mineral Sets. This rock-solid donation was made possible by Butch Tucker, owner of Hutcheson Ford Sales in St. James.
Mr. Tucker worked with the school system to determine which classes would benefit by having these special sets of rocks and minerals.
“I believe when young people become more interested in pursuing the sciences, we all benefit. My hope is that in some small way, that these rock samples spark an interest in young people to pursue careers in the geology and other science fields.” said Tucker, whose dealership has been in his family since 1954.
Stephanie Billingsley, sixth grade science teacher at Steelville Middle School recently accepted the rock sets containing many of Missouri’s most common rocks and minerals from Mike Tucker, Vice President of Hutcheson Ford.
“Billingsley said, “We truly appreciate Hutcheson Ford for their generous donation of Missouri rock and mineral sets to our students. They provide our students the opportunity for an up-close and personal experience in analyzing these rocks and minerals. We appreciate Hutcheson Ford and the State Geological Survey for helping make learning more fun and meaningful.” This is the second time Tucker has partnered with the division to make rock sets available to schools. Last year, Tucker donated eight sets to the St. James School System.
The Missouri Geology Store provides shoppers around-the-clock access to many of our most popular products, including publications about Missouri geology and water resources. Two of the most popular publications, Springs of Missouri and Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, are now available at a reduced price.
A new publication, Roadside Geology of Missouri, by Charles G. Spencer, is also available in the store. Published by Mountain Press in 2011, this book is a perfect companion to the Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, a must-have for those who love Missouri geology and the great outdoors.
The store also offers educational guides to Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites and gift certificates. So, whether you are looking for a gift for a rock enthusiast friend, an environmentally-friendly family member, or yourself, you will find something at the Missouri Geology Store.
Additionally, our Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology, also located in Rolla at 111 Fairgrounds Road, hosts fossils, rocks, minerals and other items on display. The museum is open to the public for self-guided tours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free. We look forward to seeing you. –Joe
STATEMAP Grant Awarded to the Division of Geology and Land Survey
The Division of Geology and Land Survey was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $121,739 from the U.S. Geological Survey as ongoing support to advance detailed geologic mapping in the St. Louis area. Since 1993, we have been actively involved in the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program and have produced 102 bedrock and 95 surficial material geologic maps, at a scale of 1:24,000 fro locations across the state. Geologists will coordinate supporting data from the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering at the Missouri University of Science & Technology. Bedrock and surficial material geologic mapping in Missouri is needed to establish the geologic framework of areas determined to be vital to the economic, social and environmental well-being of Missouri. The principal investigator for this grant is Cheryl Seeger, Ph.D., R.G. Learn more about STATEMAP –Joe
Don’t leave home without this book. It rocks!
As you plan road trips this summer, I invite you to consider a copy of Roadside Geology of Missouri. This full-color 288 page book is packed with information about Missouri’s fascinating geology. The state’s geology incorporates glaciated plains, mountains, floodplains, earthquake-formed sand boils, springs, dinosaur fossils, meteorite impact structures, caves, coal, shale, sandstone, limestone, oil, gas and numerous other natural features and resources.
Roadside Geology of Missouri will help you learn about the geology of the state. This book is great to take on vacation in Missouri and they are wonderful when planning your trip. The book is a 6″x9″ paperback loaded with maps, photos, cross-sections, sketches and expert descriptions. Written by Charles G. Spencer and published by Mountain Press Publishing Company in 2011, the book sells for $20 (tax and shipping are extra).
Treat yourself with this new book and the ever popular, Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, published by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geology and Land Survey and you will be ready for a rocking good summer!
Watch this video to learn more about some of the many great things that are available online and onsite.
Last but not least, when in Rolla, don’t miss the Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology, where you will find fossils, rocks, minerals, maps, a mastodon tusk and other items on display. Self-guided tours are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is Free! Additional information may be found on our website. –Joe