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Kansas Geological Survey Publications Sample

Primer of Industrial Minerals for Kansas

David A. Grisafe

Educational Series 13
28 pages, 8 figures, and several color photos
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A full online version of this publication is not available. Copies of this publication are available from the publications office of the Kansas Geological Survey (785-864-3965). The cost is $7.50 per copy, plus sales tax, shipping, and handling.


The purpose of this publication is to educate and inform the public about various aspects of non-fuel industrial minerals that are found in Kansas and the impact of these minerals on our daily lives. The publication is written in non-technical language and discusses early mining in Kansas; the geology of the state; minerals that are currently mined, including where they are found, as well as how they are mined and processed into useful products; environmental concerns and the costs associated with these concerns; and a peek into the future.

Two terms that are used throughout this publication warrant definitions. An industrial mineral is any rock or mineral that has economic value, excluding metallic rocks or ores and fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. However, because lead and zinc production was so important in Kansas during the past, these metals are included in the discussion of industrial minerals. Helium also will be briefly discussed because it was and continues to be a major contributor to the state's economy. An aggregate is any hard, inert material that is used for mixing with a cementing or bituminous material to form concrete, mortar, asphalt, or similar product, or used alone as in railroad ballast, road base, road covering, or fill.

We tend to take industrial minerals for granted; however, their products are everywhere. It is impossible to be in any area of construction without seeing them or their products. Consider buildings: at least some part is made from concrete that contains cement (fabricated from industrial minerals) and aggregate, the latter including crushed stone as well as sand and gravel. Cement block, lightweight concrete, sheetrock for interior use: all are made from industrial minerals. Most road are constructed from concrete or asphalt that contain aggregate, and these roads also use aggregate as a road base. Unpaved county roads are often covered with aggregates.

It is hardly surprising that aggregates are among the major industrial minerals produced in the United States with respect to tonnage. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), over 2.6 billion tons of aggregate were sold or used by U.S. producers during 1997. In Kansas alone, aggregate production included nearly 26 million tons of crushed stone and 12 million tons of sand and gravel, collectively valued at over $148 million. The U.S. Bureau fo mines estimated in 1990 that, considering all uses, nearly one million pounds of cement, sand, gravel, and stone are used per average lifetime of every American.

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach Section
Placed online July 27, 1998
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