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Limestone - Limestone is a widespread natural resource in Colorado, with the vast quantity of limestone occurring east of the Front Range and several other locations to the west, such as Monarch Pass.  Limestone is currently being produced in Boulder, Fremont, and Pueblo counties. 

It is widely used in both residential and commercial settings as: cement, building block, pavement, flooring, countertops, acid water treatment, road material, decorative stone, tile, concrete additive, power plant scrubbers, soil conditioners, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

                                                       

      Limestone Formations                                                              Limestone Home, Denver, CO


Marble - Marble has a wide variety of uses in the construction industry. Much of the marble mined from Colorado is used locally as a building material.  In 2008, Colorado produced 27,000 tons of a combination of marble and other stones.  Two particular marbles that are mined in Colorado are the Yule Marble of Gunnison County, and the Buelah Marble of Pueblo County. 

The Yule Marble is a recrystallized Leadville Limestone.  It has a soft white color and a very even texture that is sought after for fine architecture and monuments.  The Yule Marble was used in the construction of many prominent monuments including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lincoln Memorial, Colorado State Capitol Annex, U.S. Customs House in Denver, and the Denver International Airport. 

The Buelah Marble is an intricately banded rose-colored marble.  It is the decorative stone used as the walls and pillars of the Colorado State Capitol.  

                      

              Yule Marble Quarry, Gunnison County, CO                             Iconic structures made from Yule Marble 

 


Gold – Gold was first discovered in Colorado in 1858, on the banks of Cherry Creek near Denver.  By 1859, the area was flooded with prospectors looking to make their fortune. The slogan “Pikes Peak or Bust” was blazoned across many wagons and carts as they made their way westward. The largest gold strike occurred in 1891 in Cripple Creek when Bob Womack discovered gold on the western flanks of Pikes Peak. 

In 2007, Colorado was the 4th leading gold-producing state.  Two large gold mines currently exist in Colorado – the Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) gold mine in Teller County and the Gold Hill Mine in Boulder County. 

The most common uses for gold are jewelry and currency.  Additionally, gold is noncorrosive, malleable, and a good electrical conductor.  It is also used in: computer circuitry, cellphone circuitry, dentistry, radioactive medical treatments, the aerospace industry, and glass production.

                                            

 American Eagle Overlook at Cresson Mine, Teller County, CO                                              Computer Circuitry


Dolomite - Dolomite is mined in serveral locations in the Arkansas River Valley and along the Front Range. It is another important local commodity used in a residential capacity, but it is also exported for industrial and commercial applications.

Several uses for dolomite include: asphalt, pavement, ceramics, fertilizer additive, decorative stone and monument construction.

                      

                          Dolomite Quarry                                                                        Dolomite Bricks


Sand and Gravel – Sand, gravel, and crushed stone form an industrial mineral group called "aggregates," and are found in nearly every county in Colorado.  Aggregates represent 77 percent of Colorado’s total mineral material production.  Typically, sand and gravel quarries are located near to their source, such as in river valleys, and their products are not transported far from that source.  This is why several quarries are usually located throughout a region rather than in one large resource area.

Sand and gravel are industrial minerals that are used in road construction, manufacturing, decorative landscaping, and agriculture.  According to the Colorado Geological Society, 400 tons of sand, gravel, and crushed rock, are used in the construction of a typical home. 

Other uses for sand and gravel resources include: constituent in concrete, fertilizer fillers, icy highway treatments, filters, and in sand boxes and volleyball courts. 

                   

    Sand and Gravel Quarry, Chaffee County, CO                                          Asphalt on Highway


Gemstone - The gemstones mined from Park and Chaffee counties are used in jewelry. These stones are crafted into various types of jewelry for amateur collectors and commercial sales.  In 2007, Colorado ranked 9th among the gem-producing states.  Colorado is famous for several specific types of gemstones. 

According to the Colorado Geologic Survey, Aquamarine was named the official state gemstone in 1971.  It is typically light greenish to sky blue, and is found in granite pegmatites on Mount Antero in Chaffee County.  It has gained global recognition due to its high gemstone quality.

             

Aquamarine in Smoky Quartz. Found on Claire Mary Ellen Claim #1, Mt. Antero, Chaffee County, CO