Decorahnews.com: Researchers conclude NE Winneshiek County has "high suitability" for frac sand mining

Graduate students and professors at the University of Iowa who have been studying the frac sand issue in Winneshiek County on Monday presented another program on the results of their studies.

University of Iowa graduate student Austen Smith presented maps showing the location of St. Peter sandstone throughout the county. Smith also studied how far below the surface the sand is located and how thick a layer of sandstone there is.

Using those methods led Smith to conclude that the sand is "fairly well distributed in (Winneshiek) County" and that the locations with the highest probabilities of becoming sand mining sites are in the northeast corner of the county, bordering Allamakee County.

University of Iowa Assistant Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences Dr. Emily Finzel then discussed the suitability of the St. Peter sandstone for use in frac sand and concluded the sand showed "high suitability in the 40/70 grade range."

The research is being conducted as part of a two-year partnership between Winneshiek County and the University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities.

This article was published on February 9, 2015 on Decorahnews.com.