Marcia Bjornerud, professor of geology Dept. of Geology, Lawrence University
August 27, 2013
If someone had told me 10 years ago that the rural landscape just west of my home in Appleton would be stripped down and shipped to states throughout the country, I never would have believed it. In fact, no one here in Wisconsin could have imagined that there would ever be much industrial demand for the honey-colored Cambrian sandstones that crop out in a wide swath across the middle of the state. There were a few quarries that supplied sand for foundry molds, but since foundries can reuse sand many times, these local operations had little effect on the landscape. Wisconsin’s sandstones had only two major ‘uses’: acting as groundwater aquifers and defining the shape of the distinctive chimney rocks and castellated mounds of the state’s scenic, never-glaciated Driftless Area.