The Gypsum Files

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Archive for the ‘gypsum mines and quarries’ Category

British Gypsum: The Beauty of a Gypsum Mine

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I featured this gorgeous photo of a Ukrainian gypsum mine a few weeks ago on the Gypsum Files. British Gypsum did a little more digging (sorry) and came up with the story behind these mesmerizing rock formations.

Here’s another picture from the series. Read more on their blog.


Written by Elizabeth McCullough

August 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

Revisiting Midland, CA

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Midland, CA has been mentioned on this blog before. Recently BLDGBLOG took another look at this gypsum ghost town and its surprising connection to Hollywood:

What’s so interesting about this place—aside from the exposed concrete foundation pads now reused as platforms for RVs, or the empty streets forming an altogether different kind of geoglyph, or even the obvious ease with which one can get there, simply following the aptly named Midland Road northeast from Blythe—is the fact that the town was built for workers at the gypsum mine, and that the gypsum extracted from the ground in Midland was then used as artificial snow in many Hollywood productions.

via BLDGBLOG: The Snow Mine.


Written by Elizabeth McCullough

July 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Lovely photo of Ukrainian gypsum mine

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Written by Elizabeth McCullough

June 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

It isn’t called White Magic for nothing, you know

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Here is a charming and informative little video from the Gypsum Association. It dates from the early 1950s and was shown on television and in movie theaters to promote the industry.

For contrast, here’s the Gypsum Association’s current promotional video: The Miracle Mineral. I think it’s interesting to see what has changed and what has stayed the same over the years.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

April 24, 2014 at 8:00 am

National Gypsum to close Shoals mine late this summer

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This is big news for the town of Shoals, Indiana, home to two gypsum plants:

National Gypsum, the second largest gypsum producer in the US, which runs the biggest gypsum mine in the world, will stop mining activities at Shoals mine in Indiana, where the plant will produce synthetic gypsum from flue gas desulphurisation FGD.
via National Gypsum will close one gypsum mine in the US | Industrial Minerals.

The plant will be adapted to use the synthetic gypsum, which is purer than mined gypsum, at a cost of around $15 million. The changeover will affect 21 miners.

(In case you’re curious, the “biggest gypsum mine in the world” is a quarry in Nova Scotia, which supplies rock for National Gypsum‘s East Coast plants.)

Geologists have noted the existence of gypsum in Southern Indiana since at least 1922. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that it was determined there was a substantial deposit of gypsum in Shoals worth mining. The front page of The Shoals News dated December 26, 1952, announced the news:


Written by Elizabeth McCullough

April 15, 2014 at 8:00 am

A plant that thrives on gypsum

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The downside of reclaiming an old gypsum mine or processing facility: You could be destroying the Gierisch mallow (I’ve bolded the relevant sentence):

Another mine, about eight miles south of St. George city limits on the Arizona Strip, owned by Western Mining and Minerals, has existed since 1989 with little controversy and virtually no local impact. However, future operations – especially expansion – may be affected by Gierisch mallow, a desert plant listed as a protected species under the Endangered Species Act in August, as the mine is located near designated critical habitat. Gierisch mallow is a subspecies of the mallow plant that adapts quickly and thrives on gypsum; therefore if someone mines gypsum or puts more gypsum on the ground it often will crop up and is most prevalent on old mine dumps, geologist Fred Johnson said. The extent of these potential effects remains to be seen as research and preservation efforts continue.

via St. George area gypsum mines bring viable industry, address local concerns | St. George News – |St. George News |

According to Wikipedia:

The plant is nearly an obligate gypsophile, mainly limited to the gypsum soils of the Kaibab Limestone; it has also been seen on limestone soils.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

October 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Gypsum history: “Midland Is Gone”

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Here’s a bit of history for those interested in company towns and ghost towns. This clip is from an article that appeared in the November 2, 1970 LA Times:


Midland was a U.S. Gypsum Co. town for 43 years, an isolated community 22 miles north of Blythe by narrow road. Midland produced plasterboard walls for thousands of homes across the nation.The gypsum deposit in Little Maria Mountains two miles west of town was one of the best.”But the character of the gypsum snow deposit in recent years made it no longer economically competitive,” reports Kenneth Hepler, former plant manager. “The snow at Midland was too heavy. Lighter material was needed for wallboard.”Midland was started in 1925 as a tent city, with miners in the middle of the Mojave Desert digging gypsum out of the Little Marias to meet the demands of movie studios. All the winter scenes during the golden age of Hollywood were filmed with “snowflakes” from Midland.

via Midland Is Gone.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough

September 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm

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