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Apr 1 / Dave Schumaker

Minerals in Sports – Baseball

Three years ago, we wrote about Andrew Alden’s article on ballfield dirt at and found out about Major League Baseball’s official rubbing mud.

To celebrate the start of a new baseball season, this article (warning, PDF file!) from the USGS talks about how the clay material used in ballfields is made.

Image Credit: WisDoc on flickr.

A better clay surface is made up not just of clay, but of a mixture of clay, sand, and silt; the mixture can be screened and blended to optimize its performance. When first introduced, this clay/sand/silt mixture represented a vast improvement over the older solid clay surface used on playing fields and tracks, although it still tends to form ruts and can become slick when wet. This mixture is the most popular clay topping in use today.

[Via USGS]

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