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IGWS Economic Resources

1907 Geological Map of Iowa

Bealer quarry near Cedar Valley in Cedar County Iowa.
Cutting dimensional stone in 1906 at Bealer Quarry near Cedar Valley in Cedar County, Iowa.
From the Calvin image database.


Devonian age Cedar Valley Formation limestone near Iowa City in Johson County, Iowa.
Devonian age Cedar Valley Formation limestone quarry in the early 1900s near Iowa City in Johnson County, Iowa.
From the Calvin image database.
The Historic Role of the Iowa Geological and Water Survey in finding Economic Resources in Iowa

Iowa is richly endowed with a variety of rock resources suitable for building construction, and their utility is particularly well displayed in the early architectural heritage of our state. Although building stone is still actively quarried at a few places in Iowa, notably the quarries at Stone City, quarrying of building stone was more widespread during the 1800s and early 1900s, before the advent of cement block and poured concrete construction. Wherever rock resources were conveniently located near growing communities and farms, quarry workers labored to extract blocks of rock for building purposes, especially for foundation construction. Blocks were often “dimensioned” into desired sizes by the use of hammer and chisel, leaving marks that often are still visible on historic stone buildings across Iowa. Some quarry operations used rock saws and other mechanical devices to make precision block cuts or create stone lintels, trusses, or decorative pieces. Masons used these stone materials to construct houses, churches, stores, public buildings, and other structures. In the recent past, many quarries in Iowa  served as Geologic Sources of Historic Stone Architecture.

A diversity of rock types have been used in Iowa for stone construction. Limestone and dolomite have been extensively quarried for building stone. Although most sandstones are not very durable, some that are cemented by iron minerals provide a lasting and attractive building stone, as seen in the Amana colonies. Additional materials are locally important, including field stones derived from glacial drift. Even quartzite, coal, and geodes have been used. The Iowa Geological and Water Survey has played an important historic role in locating and describing the varieties of stone available for building and other uses in Iowa. Currently most quarries in Iowa produce crushed stone for making concrete, roadstone, agricultural lime, construction fill, and ballast. Please refer to the history of quarrying in Iowa for more information.

Mineral Resources in Iowa
Links
Mineral Resource Facts
Mineral Production in Iowa
Listing of Mineral Producers and Mineral Production Sites in Iowa
Aggerate Planning Interactive Map Server


Shale scraping machine in the 1960s at the Rockford Brick and Tile Company near Rockford in Floyd County, Iowa.
Shale scraping machine in the 1960s at the Rockford Brick and Tile Company near Rockford in Floyd County, Iowa.

Aggreate Resources:

Clay and Shale
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections, limited quality information
Ceramic Shales and Clays of Iowa
Geology and Hydrogeology of Floyd-Mitchell Counties
For information contact Bob McKay.

Truck hauling crushed Devonian age limestone in 2011 from Bloom Quarry near Jesup in Buchannan County, Iowa.
Crushed Stone (limestone)
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections, limited quality data
Underground Limestone Mining
For information contact Bob McKay.
Stone City Quarry near Anamosa in Jones County, Iowa.
Loading dimensional stone onto a railroad car in 1985 in Stone City Quarry near Anamosa in Jones County, Iowa. From the Calvin image database.
Dimension Stone
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections
For information contact Bob McKay.
Northwest trending joints in Gypsum at the US Gypsum, North Welles Quarry, near Fort Dodge in Webster County, Iowa. Photo by Ray Anderson in 1981.
Northwest trending joints in Gypsum at the US Gypsum, North Welles Quarry, near Fort Dodge in Webster County, Iowa. Photo by Ray Anderson in 1981.
Gypsum
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections
Fort Dodge Gypsum
Gypsum Resources of Iowa
For information contact Bob McKay.
Sand and gravel pit near the Shell Rock River Valley in Worth County, Iowa in 1988.
Sand and gravel pit in the Shell Rock River Valley in Worth County, Iowa in 1988.
Sand and Gravel
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Names of current extractive operations
Sand and Gravel Resources in Iowa
For information contact Deb Quade.

Small piles of crushed Devonian age agricultural limestone in 2011 from Bloom Quarry near Jesup in Buchannan County, Iowa.
Small piles of crushed Devonian age agricultural limestone in 2011 from Bloom Quarry near Jesup in Buchannan County, Iowa.

Agricultural and Chemical Feed Industries Resources


Lime: chemical feedstock, ag-lime, high-calcium limestone
Information Available: * Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections, limited quality information
For information contact Bob McKay.
Black dendritic manganese oxides on fine-grained tan limestone near Grand Mound in Clinton County, Iowa. Photo is from the Michael Shaw Collection.
Black dendritic manganese oxides on tan limestone near Grand Mound in Clinton County, Iowa. Photo is from the Michael Shaw Collection.
Manganese
Information Available:
* Exploration information
For information contact Ray Anderson.
Hand-cut peat blocks are trucked from a field in Iowa during the 1930 harvest.
Hand-cut peat blocks are trucked from a field in Iowa during the 1930 harvest.
Peat
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
Iowa's Peatlands
Peat Production and Protection in Iowa
Peat Facts
For information contact Deb Quade.
The Phosphorus cycle for corn.
The Phosphorus cycle for corn.
Phosphate
Information Available:
* Exploration information
* Stratigraphic information, limited quality information
For information contact Bob McKay.
Peter Sandstone inside of the Pattison mine near Clayton
Mining St. Peter Sandstone inside of the Pattison mine near Clayton, in Clayton County, Iowa.
Silica Sand
Information Available:
* Locations of past extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections, limited quality information
For information contact Bob McKay.

Transporting Pennsylvanian age coal from the Mystic Coal Company in the early 1900s in Appanoose County, Iowa.
Transporting Pennsylvanian age coal from the Mystic Coal Company in the early 1900s in Appanoose County, Iowa. From the Calvin image database.

Energy Resources

Coal
Information Available:
* Locations of past and current extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Underground mine maps
* Names of current extractive operations
* Reserve estimates
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections, quality data
Iowa Coal: Fuel for a New State's Growth
Iowa's Underground Coal Mines
Strippable Coal Reserve Study in Selected Iowa Counties
Strippable Coal Reserve Study in Seven Iowa Counties
For information contact Mary Howes.

  Coalbed Methane
Information Available
* Exploration information For information contact Bob McKay.
Iowa's first oil production (370 barrels) was from Washington County in 1963. Don Koch (right), former State Geologist, was on site for the Geological Survey.
Iowa's first oil production (370 barrels) was from Washington County in 1963. Don Koch (right), former State Geologist, was on site for the Geological Survey. Photo by Young's Studio, Iowa City.
Oil and Gas
Information Available:
* Locations of past exploration tests
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information
* Chip and core samples
* Lithologic and geophysical logs
* Exploration and permitting information
Oil Exploration in Iowa
For information contact Bob McKay or Ray Anderson.

Uranium
Information Available
* Exploration information
For information contact Ray Anderson.

USGS sampling cell grid and selected trace element soil sampling quadrants and site types in Iowa.
USGS sampling cell grid and selected trace element soil sampling quadrants and site types in Iowa.

Metallic Minerals and Trace Elements in the soil

Trace Element in Iowa soils

Chromite
Information Available
* Exploration information
For information contact Ray Anderson.

Gold
Information Available
* Exploration information
* Gold in Iowa (Educational Materials EM-16)
For information contact Ray Anderson.

Early 1900s Ordovician age iron mine northeast of Waukon, in Allamakee County. From the Calvin image database.
Early 1900s Cretaceous age iron mine northeast of Waukon, in Allamakee County. From the Calvin image database.
Iron
Information Available
* Locations of past extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections, limited quality information
For information contact Bob McKay.

Illustration of the the first lead mining in the 1800s near Dubuque, in Dubuque County, Iowa. From the Calvin image database.
Illustration of the the first lead mining in the 1800s near Dubuque, in Dubuque County, Iowa. From the Calvin image database.
Lead and Zinc
Information Available
* Locations of past extractive operations
* Historic production information
* Stratigraphic information, measured geologic sections
Lead and Zinc Mining in the Dubuque Area
For information contact Bob McKay.

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