Coming to a library near you: Exhibit on southeast Minnesota’s unique geology

Contact: Cathy Malakowsky, 507-206-2608

Water in southeast Minnesota flows through some of the most unique geology in the world, known as karst. In karst geology, the erosive effects of water have sculpted thick layers of limestone over thousands of years. The landscape is characterized by abundant sinkholes, springs, caverns, and underground waterways — it’s like the Swiss cheese of rock. Water in the karst region mixes above and below ground; pollutants on the surface can easily reach groundwater used for drinking.

To help residents and visitors better understand karst, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently developed a traveling karst exhibit, which is premiering at the Wabasha Public Library.

This interactive exhibit includes components that show:

  • How water moves through karst geology
  • The challenges related to keeping groundwater safe for drinking
  • How people can help protect water resources

The Minnesota State Library Service loans the exhibit to libraries. The exhibit will be on display at several libraries in the karst region this year:

  • Through Feb. 26: Wabasha Public Library
  • March 9-25: Lake City Public Library
  • April 6-22: Spring Valley Public Library
  • May 4-20: Preston Public Library
  • June 1-24: Van Horn Public Library in Pine Island
  • July 6-29: Houston Public Library
  • Oct. 5-28: Winona Public Library
  • Nov. 9-Dec. 2: Cannon Falls Public Library

In addition, the exhibit will be on display at the Minnesota State Fair, from Aug. 27-Sept. 7 (Labor Day), in the Eco Experience building.

Later this spring, the MPCA will release its updated curriculum materials for teachers and others to use for karst education.

The Clean Water Fund, as part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, provided funding for the project.

For more information about karst geology in Minnesota, visit the MPCA website.