Billed as "SIP Of SCIENCE": Demand for proppant, a material used in hydrofracking to keep fractures open as oil and natural gas are extracted from the subsurface, is driving the recent rapid expansion of silica sand mining in the central United States. Certain bedrock layers in the Midwest region, especially parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, are dominated by sand grains particularly well suited for use as a proppant. These layers are well known to both sedimentologists and industry as some of the most "mineralogically and texturally mature" sandstone on Earth. Tony Runkel from the Minnesota Geological Survey will provide an overview of the expansion of silica sand mining in this region, including geologic interpretations of why our "mature" sand is so special, and why the expansion has been controversial.
About the speaker:
Tony Runkel is Chief Geologist of the Minnesota Geological Survey, and adjunct professor in the Department of Earth Sciences - both are units of the University of Minnesota. His research emphasis targets the sedimentologic, stratigraphic, and fracture attributes of Paleozoic bedrock in southeastern Minnesota (including the Twin Cities Metropolitan region), which includes the quartz-rich sandstone layers that are the focus of this presentation. Tony grew up in southeastern Minnesota, and holds a B.A. in Geology from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. from the University of Montana, and a PhD. from the University of Texas at Austin.
A SIP OF SCIENCE bridges the gap between science and culture in a setting that bridges the gap between brain and belly. Food, beer, and learning are on the menu in a happy hour forum in which researchers pair with musicians, artists and storytellers to put science in context through storytelling.
This talk takes place during happy hour at the Aster Cafe
Food and Drink Available for Purchase - no cover
A SIP OF SCIENCE - The Silica Sand Mining Boom in the Central Midcontinent: Why the Boom, Why Here, and Why the Controversy?
Tony Runkel, Minnesota Geological Survey
Event Parking Information
Validated parking from the Aster Cafe is available in the Saint Anthony Falls Parking Ramp.
After hours parking for this event is available in the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory lot.