INTRODUCTION Minnesota has long been known for its iron ore mines, but the rocks of the state also contain base and precious metals such as copper, nickel, zinc, lead, platinum, and gold. However, exploration for these metals is hampered by a thick layer of glacial sediment (up to 150 m) that covers an estimated 99% of Minnesota's bedrock. Geologists must use diverse methods to investigate the underlying rocks and locate buried mineral deposits; these methods include airborne and ground geophysical surveys, geochemical analyses of rock, soil, vegetation, and water, and deep drill holes. For these reasons, geologic exploration projects generate large amounts of data; once a project ends, all this material and information must be stored.
The Minerals Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) has maintained a Drill Core Library in Hibbing, Minnesota, since 1972. The library is the repository for drill core and records generated by exploration projects throughout the state. Today, when projects on any leased land are terminated, state law requires that drill core and associated data are submitted to the MNDNR to become part of the Drill Core Library collection. Until 1980, however, data from exploration projects on privately-leased lands did not have to be given to the MNDNR. Most companies preserved these private geologic data, but as offices are moved and new data are generated, the old data become harder and harder to retrieve.
The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) granted the Minerals Division of the MNDNR funding for a two-year project to locate and preserve private geologic data still held by exploration companies and individuals. The objectives of the project were to 1) recover and preserve historic geologic data that are in danger of being lost, 2) expand Minnesota's geologic data base, 3) consolidate geologic data into a central location, and 4) make private geologic information available for public use.
Report 288: Private Data Acquisition; synopsis of effort to gather historical exploration data from non-government sources
(368 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, 7.42 MB)
Author: N.S. Nelson
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