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New Mexico Mineral Symposium — Abstracts

Outstanding crystalized minerals of the Colorado Mineral Belt

Phil Persson

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Due to favorable geology and a 150+ year history of mining and discovery, Colorado has produced some of America’s most iconic mineral specimens. Many of these are from metallic ore deposits, which are concentrated along the Colorado Mineral Belt, a ~500 km long, ~25-50 km wide zone of intense miner-alization dominated by igneous rocks of Laramide age (~40-75 million year old; Chapin 2012). For over 150 years, these ore deposits have sustained a robust mining industry which has resulted in the production of over 45 million ounces of gold, 500 million ounces of silver, hundreds of millions of pounds of molybdenum, lead, and zinc, as well as lesser Copper, uranium, and other metals (; 2018). Many of the major mining districts of Colorado have and continue to produce outstanding crystallized minerals in addition to their metal value. Notable localities for high-quality collectible minerals include the Leadville District, the Alma/Breckenridge Area, the Cripple Creek District, the Aspen District, the Creede District, the San Juan Triangle (Ouray-Telluride-Silverton), the Summitville District, the Boulder County Gold Telluride Belt, and the Idaho Springs and Central City Mining Districts. Minerals which occur in either best-of-species or world class crystals in these districts include rhodochrosite, gold, gold tellurides (e.g. calaverite, sylvanite), quartz, fluorite, and numerous sulfide minerals. This talk will provide a brief overview of these localities and some notable minerals they have produced. A detailed list of important mineral localities related to the metallic ore deposits of Colorado can be found in Eckel, E. B. (1997) ‘Minerals of Colorado’.


  1. Chapin, C.E. 2012, Origin of the Colorado Mineral Belt, Geosphere (2012) 8:1 28-43.
  2. Eckel, E.B., Cobban, R.R., Mosburg, S.K., 1997, Minerals of Colorado, ISBN-13: 978-1555913656, 676 p.


Colorado Mineral Belt, mining

pp. 11

42nd New Mexico Mineral Symposium
November 11-13, 2022, Socorro, NM
Print ISSN: 2836-7294
Online ISSN: 2836-7308