The Gypsum Files

Notes on the Rock Nobody Knows

Posts Tagged ‘gypsum

Could Mars gypsum preserve microbes? | Red Planet Report

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The short answer: Yes!

“We suggest that gypsum on Mars would have entrapped, as solid inclusions and within fluid inclusions, any microorganisms and/or organic compounds that were present in its parent waters,” they note. “Therefore, fluid inclusions and solid inclusions hosted by salt minerals may be the best place to continue the search for life on Mars.”

via Could Mars gypsum preserve microbes? | Red Planet Report.



Written by Elizabeth McCullough

July 26, 2014 at 10:56 am

From power plant to corn field

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The ups and downs of gypsum

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This is a chart I put together using data on new residential construction from the US Census website and data on gypsum consumption from the US Geological Survey. There’s nothing scientific or statistically sophisticated about this chart, but I think it does give you an idea of how closely the fortunes of the gypsum industry follow the housing market (pdf). You can see the most recent housing boom-and-bust cycle, beginning in 1991 and peaking in 2005, alongside the growth and peak of gypsum consumption. After 14 years of growth, both lines bottom out four years later in 2009.



Written by Elizabeth McCullough

April 17, 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

Producer Prices in August – Wood Products Prices Mixed, Gypsum Threatens Again | Eye on Housing

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Written by Elizabeth McCullough

September 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Producer Prices in March – Gypsum Continues to Rise « Eye on Housing

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Written by Elizabeth McCullough

April 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

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