In 1983 the Minnesota Geological Survey, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Minerals, began a geologic sample program whereby the general public was encouraged to submit samples of geologic material for identification and possible analysis. The program was roughly patterned after a similar program in Finland. The Finnish program has resulted in a heightened public interest in the mineral potential of that country and has resulted in the discovery of several ore deposits. It was for those reasons, as well as the potential increase in geologic knowledge that could result, that a similar program was initiated in Minnesota. As originally conceived, the geologic sample program was to focus on samples submitted to the Minnesota Geological Survey by the general public. As part of its public service function, the Survey was to identify and classify rock or mineral samples that were collected in the state. If any of the samples were thought to have potential scientific or economic interest, they were to be submitted for chemical analyses or other appropriate tests. A copy of a brochure that was prepared to advertise the program is shown in Figure 1, and the sample submittal form that sets forth the operating conditions for the program is shown in Figure 2. The brochure and other publicity about the program led to requests for 238 submittal forms and to approximately 500 walk-in and telephone requests for additional information. Unfortunately, of the more than 700 inquiries, only 9 samples were ultimately judged suitable for additional chemical analysis (Table 1). The "suitability" rate of only slightly more than 1 percent was due to a number of factors. Many people only became aware of the program very late in the biennium. Other people who had samples of scientific or economic interest were unwilling to submit those samples to the Geological Survey for several reasons, including (a) the expense of mailing samples, (b) an unwillingness to part with a "prized" specimen, or (c) a lack of knowledge about mineral rights (i.e., a fear of jeopardizing their rights by revealing the location of a sample). However the great majority of samples were submitted by individuals who simply wanted them identified without concern as to possible scientific or economic value. Because of the sluggish public response, the program was modified in early 1985 to include samples of scientific or economic interest that were submitted by personnel of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Minerals, or the Minnesota Geological Survey. This programmatic change led to the additional analysis of 304 samples from various components of the Early Proterozoic Animikie basin on the Mesabi and Cuyuna ranges and in east-central Minnesota (Tables 2, 3, 4, and 7) and from various poorly known rock units in southwestern (Tables 5 and 8) and southeastern Minnesota (Tables 6 and 9).
Morey, G.B.; McSwiggen, Peter L.; Kuhns, Mary Jo P.; Jirsa, Mark A..
Information Circular 22. Analytical Results of the Public Geologic Sample Program, 1983-1985 Biennium.
Minnesota Geological Survey.
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