What's for lunch?

New geology exhibit features "rocky" choices

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-175 For Immediate Release: June 26, 2009

ROLLA, MO., — Fast food takes on new meaning for families vacationing in Missouri in the form of a well-done, well-preserved meal. A well-preserved meal, you ask?  Yes, indeed!  In fact, tasty treats are on display at two visitor centers in South Central Missouri.  However, if you stop by, you will soon realize you are in for an experience that you will not soon forget. 

The kicker is that the food known as the "Geoburger Special" was dished up by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Division of Geology and Land Survey and it certainly is not fast food. The fare is made entirely of rocks and minerals. The charbroiled hamburger on display at the Rolla Visitor Center (I-44 Exit 184) is actually coal, the toasted bun is chert, the piping hot french fries are limestone, the cool, refreshing vanilla-caramel ice cream is chert, the ice is a mix of halite and calcite -- you get the idea.

In addition to this delightful bounty that is found very near stretches of Historic Route 66, summer travelers can also drive in for another special at the St. James Visitor Center, which is also off I-44 (Exit 195).  There, you can feast your eyes on grapes made of a ore.  The cheese wedge and the fresh bread are sandstone, the apple slice is barite, and the stemmed glass is filled with ice made of halite and calcite.

Aimee Campbell, Rolla Tourism Director said, "The Geobuger display is a welcome attraction to our center. Travelers are delighted with the display.  Kids usually find it first and wave their parents over to take in the meal. Not only does the display attract people to the museum, it serves as wonderful tool to help educate people about the variety of rocks and minerals that can be found in Missouri."    

While these rocks and minerals are on display at the Rolla and St. James Visitor Centers, there is much more to whet your appetite at the Department's Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology. A wonderful menagerie of native rocks and minerals, along with geologic maps, a mastodon tusk, and a short-faced bear (to mention a few) make their home in the museum. 

The museum, established in 2005, is named for Ed Clark, the 13th State Geologist who served the citizens of Missouri from 1944-1955. The site is visited annually, by hundreds of young people, the young-at heart, members of the academic community, researchers and citizens from the world over. The museum was funded entirely through donations to serve as an educational facility. 

So, when you plan your summer jaunt across scenic Missouri to perhaps stay at your favorite State Park, be sure to visit Rolla and St. James and be prepared when the kids ask that all too familiar question, "Are we there yet?" to answer, "Yes!  And we're stopping for the Geoburger Special and a platter of earth-ripened grapes and cheese!" 

Whatever your final destination, it is well-worth the time to visit the museum in Rolla, at the Department's Division of Geology and Land Survey facility located at 111 Fairgrounds Road, which is very near the Rolla Visitor Center. The museum is open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays. The Department offers fact sheets and other educational handouts. Books and posters about geology and related topics are for sale at the Maps and Publications counter. When you visit, be sure to bring your rock food so a Department geologist can identify your rock or mineral. Additional information is online at www.dnr.mo.gov/geology/.

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Editor: Photo is available at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/newsrel/images/rollarockfood.jpg.

Cutline:  This impressive display of "rock food" was dished up by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Division of Geology and Land Survey.  The "Geoburger Special" is on display at the Rolla Visitor Center.  Aimee Campbell, Rolla Tourism Director, Cayla Frish and Katelyn Campbell are pictured showing off the rock solid fare.