Frequently Asked Questions

Following are brief answers to some of the questions frequently asked to the Office of Geology. For more information, or to ask additional questions, please contact the Office of Geology (contact information is on the Office of Geology Home Page).

What is the mission of the Office of Geology?
The mission of the Mississippi Office of Geology is to investigate, map, and compile reports on the geological and mineral resources of the state and to regulate the reclamation of mined land. The geologic knowledge collected is applied directly to the benefit of the people and economy of the state.

Who is the State Geologist?
The State Geologist is the chief geological officer of state government. The current State Geologist of Mississippi is Michael B. E. Bograd, the Director of the MDEQ Office of Geology.

Where can I buy topographic maps of Mississippi?
The MDEQ Office of Geology has a Map and Publication Sales Office that stocks all topographic maps of Mississippi. The maps cost $6.00 each (plus postage and handling if ordered by mail). Most commonly requested are topographic maps (topo maps, quadrangles, quad sheets) at the scale 1:24,000; these are the most detailed topographic maps available for sale.

What is involved with a mining permit?
Before mining, the operator must submit a completed application form, a bond in the amount of at least $500 per acre, an application fee of $100 plus $10 per acre, proof of general liability insurance, and maps and cross sections. Land that is mined must be reclaimed and restored to a useful and beneficial purpose.

Is there gold in Mississippi?
Minute amounts of gold have been detected in Mississippi by chemical analyses, but no prospector or gold panner has found naturally occurring gold in Mississippi in quantities that could be mined economically.

When was the first commercial oil production in Mississippi?
The first commercial oil production in Mississippi was in 1939 at Tinsley Field in Yazoo County.

What is the official state stone?
Petrified wood was designated as the official state stone by the Mississippi Legislature in 1976.

What is the official state fossil?
The prehistoric (fossil) whale was designated as the official state fossil by the Mississippi Legislature in 1981. The skeleton of the 16-foot whale Zygorhiza kochii is on display at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Bones of the large Eocene whale Basilosaurus, which reached lengths up to 65 feet, have been found in central Mississippi.

Do earthquakes occur in Mississippi?
At least 45 earthquakes are known to have occurred within Mississippi. Many were felt at the surface, while others were detected only by instruments. The strongest occurred December 16, 1931, in the Batesville-Charleston area; it caused damage in northern Mississippi and was felt also in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri. The greatest risk to Mississippi from earthquakes is from the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The southern end of this zone is about 40 miles northwest of Memphis. Three of the strongest earthquakes in the history of the United States occurred in this zone in 1811-1812. A recurrence of such an earthquake would cause damage in the northern half of the state and be felt throughout Mississippi.

Is there a volcano under Jackson?
Yes, there is an extinct volcano under the entire city. It has been extinct for over 65 million years.

What is the highest elevation in Mississippi?
Woodall Mountain, in Tishomingo County in northeastern Mississippi, is the highest elevation in the state at 806 feet above sea level.

Where is the geographic center of the state?
The geographic center of Mississippi is about 9 miles west-northwest of Carthage in Leake County.

What is the deepest water well in Mississippi?
The Choctaw Generation, Inc. #2 Test Production Hole in Section 35, T.18N., R.10E., Choctaw County, produces water with less than 400 parts per million of chlorides at 3,000 gallons per minute from the Coker Aquifer at a screened interval of 2,830-3,170 feet below the surface. The water temperature is 120F.

What is the deepest oil exploration well in Mississippi?
The Placid Oil Company #1 Owen 25-8 near Utica in Section 25, T.3N., R.4W., Hinds County, penetrated the top of the Smackover Formation at 23,554 feet and reached a total depth of 25,460 feet or 4.82 miles, probably in the Norphlet Formation. This well is in southwestern Hinds County just east of the axis, or the deepest trend, of the Mississippi Embayment.