During its 150 years of statehood, Iowa has ranked at or near the top of states in the production of specific mineral resources; its long record of mining lead, coal, gypsum, and limestone contains a rich history. In addition, Iowa's minerals are valuable to collectors, who prize their natural charm; minerals of exquisite quality are found within the state's borders. In his carefully written text, geologist Paul Garvin has combined scientific facts about minerals with an appreciation of their history and beauty to produce a book that will appeal to scholars, collectors, and the general public.

Garvin begins with a brief treatment of the origins of Iowa's minerals, moving from the oldest—with ages well in excess of a billion years—to those most recently formed. He describes the state's major mineral occurrences, providing detailed information for both specialists and amateurs, including how to obtain access to collecting sites. A history of Iowa's mineral industries complements Garvin's more technical information; this history is supplemented with stories about the Cardiff Giant (who now has his own web page), Ottumwa's Coal Palace, and the meteor falls of the late nineteenth century.

“Well written and informative. Details of how to get to locations such as the Lansing Lead Mines will be appreciated.”—George R. McCormick, University of Iowa
“A valuable resource for geology students, geology and earth science professionals, rock and mineral collectors, and naturalists. Garvin is well versed in mineralogy in general and in Iowa's mineral occurrences specifically. He presents an up-to-date, beautifully illustrated account of Iowa's mineral record. This book is a must for the rock and mineral enthusiasts of Iowa.”—Wayne Anderson, University of Northern Iowa
“An informative and entertaining blend of the science, history, and myth of Iowa's minerals and mineral industries. Garvin, perhaps Iowa's premier mineral collector, has combined his extensive knowledge of the state's minerals and their occurrences with a series of thoroughly researched histories and stories to produce the definitive volume about these natural resources.”—Raymond Anderson, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey Bureau
Iowa's Minerals is an informative and entertaining book that provides a comprehensive discussion of the minerals that can be found in Iowa, Their Occurrence, Origins, Industries' and Lore. This book will a valuable addition to anyone's library and a must for those with special interest in the rocks and minerals of the state.”—Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science




1. Origins of Iowa’s Minerals

2. Collecting Iowa’s Minerals

3. Occurrences of Iowa’s Minerals

4. Iowa’s Mineral Industries

5. Stories of Iowa’s Minerals

Appendix A. How to Identify Iowa’s Minerals

Appendix B. Crystal Forms and Habits Commonly Observed in Iowa’s Minerals

Appendix C. Institutions That House Mineral Collections and Rock- and Mineral-Collecting Organizations in Iowa




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Publication Details

Publication Date
256 pages
16 color and 77 black-&-white photos, 37 drawings