Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Greg Brick on “The Rediscovery of French Saltpeter Caves in Minnesota”

--> --> Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6pm in Hewitt Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College

Dr. Greg Brick, Metro State University, will describe the 2004 rediscovery of saltpeter caves along the Minnesota shore of Lake Pepin. The caves were originally described by French fur-trader Pierre-Charles Le Sueur in 1700 and lost sight of for more than three centuries. Saltpeter was the most important constituent in the manufacture of gunpowder and was often obtained from cave sediments. The Minnesota reference in Le Sueur’s Journal is the earliest mention of cave saltpeter in the Americas. The cave saltpeter business reached its peak during the American Civil War, when caves in the Deep South, worked by slave labor, supplied the desperate Confederate armies with this vital raw material.

About the speaker: Greg Brick Ph.D. teaches environmental science at Metropolitan State University and was employed as a hydrogeologist at several environmental consulting firms. His first book, Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State’s Subterranean Treasures, was published in 2004. His latest book, Subterranean Twin Cities, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2009, won an award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. His doctoral research on fur-trade era saltpeter caves in Minnesota is the subject of today’s presentation.

*Please note that this event is building #22 here and parking is available in the lot to the west

A no-host dinner with the speaker will follow the lecture at Pad Thai Grand, 1681 Grand Avenue, St. Paul

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