Sunday, February 8, 2015

As part of a two-year partnership between Winneshiek County and the University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, students and faculty across six different departments at the university are doing extensive research on the potential for frac sand mining in Winneshiek County. At noon Monday in the large courtroom at the Winneshiek County Courthouse, preliminary results on the location of St. Peter sandstone throughout the county and its potential suitability for frac sand mining will be discussed.

University of Iowa graduate student Austen Smith will present findings on the depth, thickness, and location of St. Peter sandstone throughout the county. Smith applied a statistical interpolation approach to well drilling and outcrop geology data from Iowa's GeoSam database to estimate the upper and lower elevation of the St. Peter sandstone at all points throughout the county. He then used a digital elevation model to derive an estimate of the sandstone's depth from the surface and thickness. He will use these methods and findings to describe one approach to assessing the probability for mining throughout Winneshiek County.

U of Iowa Assistant Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences Dr. Emily Finzel then will present preliminary results of analyses conducted to determine the suitability of the St. Peter sandstone from Winneshiek County as a potential source for frac sand. She has conducted camsizer particle measurements and sieve analyses on St. Peter sandstone from six sample locations throughout the county. Her results include mining suitability assessments of the sizes and shapes of the sandstone grains.

This article was published on February 8, 2015 on