47th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals

Tuscola quarry field tripThe 47th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals was held May 15-17, 2011, at the I Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign, Illinois. About 70 people, including guests, attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Bedrock Geology and Industrial Minerals Section of the Illinois State Geological Survey. Participants included geologists, mineral resource specialists, and consultants from federal and state geological surveys and private industries. Some participants also came from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Turkey. The meeting included a three-day pre-meeting field trip to southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois and a one-day post-meeting field trip to northeastern Illinois. A field trip to local quarries (Tuscola Stone Quarry in Tuscola and Fairmont Quarry near Danville) was also held on the afternoon of May 17. The pre-meeting field trip included a stop at the Holcim (US) cement plant, one of the largest in the world, in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Other stops included visits to quarries in southern Illinois to examine operations extracting high-calcium limestone, construction aggregates, microcrystalline silica, and fluorite. Participants visited the Garden of the Gods on the third day and ended the trip at Podolsky Oil Company in Fairfield, Illinois, where a large collection of minerals from Illinois and elsewhere were put on display for the participants. The post-meeting field trip focused on the geology of Chicago's stone industry and how the geology of the region has controlled the industry's historical development and led to what today is one of the largest production centers and markets of aggregate resources in the United States. Additional stops highlighted the modern aggregate industry and included one of the largest quarries in the country exhibiting spectacular examples of a Silurian reef.