Date of Graduation

Summer 2020


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Melida Gutierrez


The historic Tri-State Mining District (TSMD) of southwestern Missouri, southeastern Kansas, and northeastern Oklahoma has a history of lead and zinc mining that extended over a hundred years. During the district’s peak production period, the TSMD was one of the world’s largest producers of lead and zinc. The mining activities in the TSMD produced economic growth that supported the local communities and were essential to the victory of the Allied Forces during World War I and World War II. Beginning in the 1920s, the mining activities in the district slowly began to cease due to depletion of metal ores and competition from imports. The last mine in southwest Missouri closed in 1957. Unfortunately, the negative consequences of the mining industry have had a lasting effect in the environment. Abandoned mining sites caused lead and zinc contamination in the soils, sediments, and streams throughout the district. Due to the high level of contaminants present, remediation efforts began in the 1980s and are still ongoing today. This study assists in identifying sites with contaminated levels of heavy metals in the sediment due to over a hundred years of lead and zinc mining centers in southwest Missouri. The metal content of sediments reported in literature were collected and added to a database used to build maps that would highlight their spatial distribution. The purpose of this study is to (1) provide an historical description of the mining activities in the Missouri part of the TSMD, (2) aid in further understanding the extent of contamination caused by the historic mining activities, and (3) aid in an understanding of the effectiveness of remediation.


Tri-State Mining, lead, zinc, contamination, remediation

Subject Categories

Environmental Chemistry | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Public Health | Geochemistry | Geology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Other Earth Sciences | Other Environmental Sciences | Soil Science | Sustainability | Water Resource Management


© Anastasia M. C. McClanahan

Open Access