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Excerpts from

Missouri Marble

Report of Investigations No. 3

By Norman S. Hinchey

Edward L. Clark, Director and State Geologist

Missouri Geological Survey and Water Resources, 1946.

(The following excerpted transcription is used with permission of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.)


“This preliminary report is being made while a study of the Missouri marble industry is in progress.  The author has merely sketched the geology of certain Missouri marble deposits which are being exploited at the present time, and has outlined briefly the nature of current, or recently active, operations which supply the trade with marble taken from quarries in the State.  No attempt has been made to give complete details in the description of the deposits and of the quarrying and fabricating of the stone.  Field studies to date have included examination of the quarries, some sampling of the beds which are worked, a determination of the stratigraphic position of each of the quarries, and a cursory investigation of present and past operations.  Most of the field work was done in 1941, and the producing quarries were re-examined in the spring of 1946.

“Descriptions of the four principal quarries, which are at present in operation or which have been operating within the last few years, are treated at some length and made the body of this report.  Appended thereto are briefer discussions of other marble-quarrying operations which have been abandoned for some time and a report of one new operation.

“A report on ‘The Quarrying Industry of Missouri,’ by E. R. Buckley and H. A. Buehler was published by this department in 1904.*  That comprehensive volume included a considerably detailed description of the building stone industries of the State, but it was written at a time before marble production had taken its present place among Missouri’s mineral industries and well before some of the deposits now being worked for marble had been considered as sources for that building material.  In more recent years, the Biennial Reports of the State Geologist have included brief mention of the State’s growing marble industry in chapters describing the mineral production in Missouri.

(* Page 7 footnote:  Citations refer to titles in the brief selected bibliography which is appended to this report.)

“In commercial usage, the term ‘marble’ has a rather broad application.  In the terminology of the trade, the name marble may commonly be applied so as to include any dominantly calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate rock which is capable of taking a high polish - its capacity for receiving a polished surface being the chief means of distinguishing marble from other similar carbonate rocks.  Such an application of the term may be at some variance with the more strict usage of those geologists or petrologists who usually apply the name only to limestones, dolomites, dolomitic limestones, and certain other rocks which have been subjected to some appreciable degree of metamorphism with an attendant deformation and accompanying recrystallization of the carbonate minerals.  In this brief report the commercial application of the name ‘marble’ in the wider sense is used.  Chief attention has here been given to certain quarry stones which are worked for ultimate processing as commercial marble and to which a high polish is given.

“Thus far in the course of this investigation, quarrying operations of four active, or very recently active, producers of Missouri marble have been examined in some detail:  two in Ste. Genevieve County in the southeastern portion of the State, and one each in Greene and Jasper Counties in southwestern Missouri.  The location of these quarries is shown on the map, Figure 2.  The following brief discussion of each of these four principal operations is given in the order of the relative stratigraphic position and geologic age of the beds which are quarried, starting with the oldest or lowest strata utilized and proceeding through the geologically younger source-beds of the marble.  This chronological sequence may be tabulated as follows, with the numerical order indicating the order of presentation:

Figure 1.  Geologic age of rocks utilized at four principal Missouri marble quarries. Geologic age of rocks utilized at four principal Missouri marble quarries.
Fig. 2.  Location of the four principal marble quarries described.  Outline Map of Missouri, Missouri Geological Survey and Water Resources.  1)  Inkley Marble Quarries Co. quarry.  2)  Ozora Marble Quarries Co. quarry.  3)  Vermont Marble Co. quarry (and Phenix Marble Co. quarry).  4)  Carthage Marble Corp. quarry. Location of the four principal marble quarries described. Outline Map of Missouri

(Please Note:  The section of this book that lists and describes the individual limestone quarries located in Missouri  will not be included in this section.  Please see the Missouri Quarry Section of this web site for the information on each specific quarry, which is listed according to location.)

Selected Bibliography

“The following list of titles gives references cited in the text above.  It is obviously in no sense a complete bibliography, nor is it intended to serve even as a working bibliography.

(1)  Buckley, E. R., and Buehler, H. A., The Quarrying Industry of Missouri: Mo. Bureau of Geol. and Mines, vol. 2, 2d. ser., 1904.

(2)  Weller, Stuart, and St. Clair, Stuart, Geology of Ste. Genevieve County Missouri:  Mo. Bureau of Geol. and Mines, Vol. 22, 2d ser., 1928.  (Accompanying geologic map published in 1922).

(3)  Kessler, D. W., Physical and Chemical Tests on the Commercial Marbles of the United States:  U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Standards Technologic Paper No. 123, 1919.

(4)  Moore, R. C., Early Mississippian Formations in Missouri:  Mo. Bureau of Geol. and Mines, vol. 21, 2d. ser., 1928.

(5)  Greene, F. C., Geologist Missouri Geological Survey:  personal communication.

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