Phosphate was first discovered in North America in the vicinity of Charleston, South Carolina between 1830 and 1840. The first production in North America was in Quebec and Ontario, Canada in about 1863. Mining the “river–rock” in South Carolina had to wait until the war between the states was over.
Production of the South Carolina phosphate encouraged others to explore for and evaluate deposits in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Exploration resulted in discovery of a phosphate deposit near Castle Hayne, New Hanover County, North Carolina in 1883. Later in the same year, several other deposits were found in Duplin, Sampson and Pender Counties just north of Wilmington. The U. S. Geological Survey published a report on North Carolina phosphate deposits in 1888. Several unsuccessful attempts to produce from these deposits were made during the late nineteenth century.
South Carolina mines led the United States in phosphate production until the 1890’s. Production from the vast reserves of Florida began in 1888. The high-grade, low-cost products from Florida mines caused decline in production from the South Carolina mines until they closed in the 1920’s. Additional phosphate production started in Tennessee in 1894 and in Idaho in 1906. Other mines in the western United States were opened in Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
The first commercially produced phosphate in North Carolina was shipped from the Lee Creek Mine of Texas Gulf Sulphur Company (now Texasgulf, Inc.) on April 1, 1966. The General Assembly of the State of North Carolina officially commemorated this new
Figures & Tables
Southeastern United States–Guidebook is comprised of twelve field trips that were organized for the Third Annual Midyear Meeting held in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1986. The spectrum of geologic time represented in the Upper Precambrian, Lower Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic and the very Recent. The geologic provinces are the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain. Besides North Carolina, trips include Virginia, South Carolina and West Virginia.