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Circular 60 —Reconnaissance of Commercial High-Calcium Limestones in New Mexico

By Frank E. Kottlowski, 1962, 77 pages.

New Mexico's rapid growth in population and acquisition of many industries has encouraged consideration of the development of a high-calcium lime industry. Limestones crop out or are near the surface in about one fourth of the State; they range in age from the thin, dolomitic lime stone lenses in the Cambrian part of the Bliss Sandstone to the Cenozoic travertine, calcareous tufa, and caliche. Some of the high-calcium limestones of Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian, and Early Cretaceous Ages exceed 100 feet, and locally even 1000 feet, in thickness. Most of the outcrops sampled were those (1) easily mined by open-pit methods, (2) near railroads and accessible by good automobile roads, and {3) within short distances of a gas pipeline.

High-calcium limestones shown by sampling include the Cenozoic travertines of the Mesa del Oro and Ladron Mountains areas; the Tertiary algal limestone of Apache Valley in the southwestern Caballo Mountains; Lower Cretaceous limestones in southwestern New Mexico; upper and lower Permian limestones in the Guadalupe, Sacramento, Robledo, Florida, and Oscura mountains; Pennsylvanian limestones of the Sandia, Sangre de Cristo, Sacramento, Ladron, Magdalena, Oscura, northern Franklin, and northern Hueco Mountains; Cerros de Amado, and near Luna; and Mississippian limestones in the Sacramento, Tres Hermanas, and Peloncillo mountains, Selective quarrying may yield high-calcium lime from the Todilto limestone southeast of Grants, from erratic local deposits of Cenozoic travertine and caliche throughout the State, and from the El Paso Limestone in southwestern and south-central New Mexico.

Any industrial firm wishing to utilize the limestones must do extensive field sampling to gauge the average composition of mineable units, as in places extreme lateral and vertical variation is noticeable.

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