Monthly Archives: July 2012
Gov. Nixon announces emergency program to help drought-affected farmers drill, deepen wells for more water for livestock and crops
Apply by Aug. 6, 2012
Under this emergency program announced Tuesday by Gov. Nixon, 90 percent of the eligible project cost will be covered, with a maximum cost-share award of $20,000. Normal soil and water cost-share programs provide 75 percent of the project cost, with the landowner covering the remaining 25 percent.
Because of the emergency situation of the drought, applications from farmers for this cost-share program must be submitted by Aug. 6, 2012, to the local soil and water district or online. The local soil and water district will act on each application within 72 hours of its receipt. Read more about the emergency program. Apply here.
Our staff ensure that private wells drilled in Missouri are constructed to standards as set by state regulations. This helps protect our groundwater resources from contamination due to poor well construction. Learn more about proper well construction and groundwater protection. –Joe
Fossil from ancient shark on display
If you are out and about this summer, stop by our Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology and see a shark spine fossil that our staff discovered and retrieved from its ancient hiding place in 2006 near Branson. In addition to this ancient fossil, we have corals, bryozoans, crinoids, trilobites, rocks, minerals and exhibits related to Missouri geology on display. The museum is open for self-guided tours weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are located at 111 Fairgrounds Road in Rolla, Missouri. Admission is free.
Did you know Missouri is the number one producer of lime in the United States?
Missouri industries produce nearly 2.5 million tons of lime each year at a value of approximately $237 million. This equates to more than 18 percent of U.S. production. Due to the large domestic production, lime is one of a few of more than 60 mineral commodities produced in the U. S. that is not necessary to import. The U.S. actually exports more than 160,000 tons each year.
There are literally thousands of uses for lime that impact our daily lives. Uses range from the manufacture of paper, plastics, rubber, glass, steel and other metals, to treating and cleaning water, wastewater, and air emission in the process of using fossil fuels. It serves a myriad uses in the food industry including the reduction of carbon dioxide produced by stored fruits and vegetables, thereby lengthening their storage time. Used in the production of milk and milk products such as butter, lime is also found in baby food, stomach antacid and tooth paste. Interestingly enough, all quality tortillas and corn chips are treated with lime. So the next time you have a really good tortilla, remember which lime really gave it that special flavor.
The Balds in Southern Missouri
Missouri is geologically diverse and offers opportunities to view a wide variety of natural features. A recent trip to Missouri’s southern border reminded me of one of those special features. They are called balds. A bald is a prominent mountain with a glade-type vegetation, surrounded by forest, hence the name bald. These features are erosional remnants of dolomites and limestones and have a characteristic round top profile. From the correct vantage point, these balds are prominent upon the landscape and provide a unique beauty not seen in other places in the Ozarks. They also played a role in Missouri’s history, often being used as landmarks for navigation, for lookout positions during conflict and now as outstanding resource and recreation opportunities. Learn more from the Missouri Department of Conservation about the White River Balds. Check out this Learn more from the U.S. Forest Service about Hercules-Glades Wilderness Area and the Coy Bald Trailhead. –Joe
Minerals help make the moment!
Did you know that at one time saltpeter mined from several Missouri caves was used to manufacturer fireworks? It is true and the compound barium nitrate (from the mineral barite) is also used in fireworks. Without minerals such as these, the colorful display fireworks afford us each Independence Day would not be possible.
Each color in a fireworks display is produced by a specific mineral compound. For example, deep reds are made with strontium, blues are a product of copper, yellows come from sodium and bright greens require barium. More colors can be created by mixing compounds and some minerals are used for special effects. For example, a loud flash/bang is created by using fine aluminum powder.
The role of minerals in fireworks is just one example of society’s reliance on minerals for the manufacture of everything from automobiles to glass. Learn about minerals in Missouri.
We invite you to visit our Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology. to see numerous minerals, rocks and fossils on display. We are open for self-guided tours weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are located at 111 Fairgrounds Road in Rolla, Missouri. Admission is free.
As always, be safe this Fourth of July and adhere to local regulations that are in place for setting off fireworks. –Joe
What is this mineral and why is it so popular?
Since early in the 20th century fuller’s earth has been mined in significant quantities from southeast Missouri. Currently more than 400,000 tons of this clay material is being mined in Missouri each year with an annual value of $30 million. Because this clay mineral is mostly made up of hydrous aluminum silicate it possesses an excellent ability to absorb oil based substances. Centuries ago, wool cloth makers known as “fullers” used this mineral to remove lanolin and other oils from woolen materials. More recently it is used in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, and to absorb contamination from military personnel involved in chemical and biological warfare. This mineral’s ability to absorb oils is also why it is used in the cosmetics industry as facial clay treatments to treat acne. However, you may be familiar with one of today’s more common uses of fuller’s earth — cat litter. Read more at this U. S. Geological Survey website about fuller’s earth and other clay production. Also, see our Mineral Resources fact sheet for addtional information about mineral resources in Missouri. –Jerry