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Mining town, Eureka, San Juan County, Colorado, circa 1900. Photo credit: William Henry Jackson.

Re-introducing: Historic Metal Mining Districts

2020-11-24 | Dr. John Hopkins

As the reconstruction of our website continues, we recently redeployed a popular package of information that was compiled and made available by former CGS Senior Minerals Geologist, Mr. James Burnell, during the 2010s. Referencing a variety of sources, Burnell researched most of the major districts around the state. Each district review includes where applicable: the development of the district, the specific mines of the district, a characterization of the various ores and mineralization encountered, and a list of bibliographic references.

The first link takes you to a downloadable publications package; the second to an online GIS map:

ON-007-08D Historic Metal Mining Districts of Colorado (Data) – v20201112Includes a compilation of individual mining district reviews, organized by county, as well as GIS shapefiles of all districts. This is the most current downloadable data package for this project and is comprised of GIS data and written documentation compiled in the 2010s; finalized as of 2015; with minor clerical modifications during 2020.

ON-007-08M Historic Metal Mining Districts of Colorado (Map) – v20201112A GIS map that includes the most current information for this project. Each county has a link to individual pdf files outlining the districts in that county.

The actual mining district boundaries are estimated and are intended to be used at 1:150,000 scale. Per Mr. Burnell, “There are seldom any official definitions of the geographic boundaries of mining districts in Colorado. Information was obtained from lists of districts. The boundaries shown here are subjective and were drawn where they seemed appropriate based on the references.” While a majority of the historical metal mining districts across the state are included, several districts that were mined for other mineral commodities such as coal, uranium, and vanadium are not. The maps created by Mr. Burnell were originally completed in Adobe Illustrator by Larry Scott at the CGS.

We’re sure this wealth of information on the colorful history of mining in the state will be useful to rockhounds, tourists, prospectors, historians, and others. Refer to the Historic Metal Mining Districts section of our site for additional resources, links, and a nice gallery of images. We’ll endeavor to make more images available from our extensive archive as we are able.

Citations, Categories & Tags

Citations

Burnell, James R. “ON-007-08D Historic Metal Mining Districts of Colorado (Data) - V20201112.” Mining, Variable/Online. Golden, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, 2015. https://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/publications/historic-metal-mining-districts-colorado-data.

———. “ON-007-08D Historic Metal Mining Districts of Colorado (Map) - V20201112.” Mining, Online. Golden, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, 2015. https://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/publications/historic-metal-mining-districts-colorado-map.

Additional Sources

Cappa, James A., and Paul J. Bartos. “RS-42 Geology and Mineral Resources of Lake County, Colorado.” Geology and Mineral Resources. Resource Series. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, 2007. https://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/publications/geology-mineral-resources-lake-colorado.

Cappa, James A., and Chester A. Wallace. “RS-44 Geology and Mineral Resources of Saguache County, Colorado.” Geology and Mineral Resources. Resource Series. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Division of Minerals and Geology, Department of Natural Resources, 2007. https://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/publications/geology-mineral-resources-saguache-colorado.

Scarbrough, Jr., L. Alex. “RS-40 Geology and Mineral Resources of Park County, Colorado.” Geology and Mineral Resources. Resource Series. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Division of Minerals and Geology, Department of Natural Resources, 2001. https://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/publications/geology-mineral-resources-park-colorado.

Streufert, Randall K., Wynn Eakins, and H. Thomas Hemborg. “RS-37 Geology and Mineral Resources of Gunnison County.” Geology and Mineral Resources. Resource Series. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Division of Minerals and Geology, Department of Natural Resources, 1999. https://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/publications/geology-mineral-resources-gunnison-colorado.

In addition, there are numerous reports from the early years of the CGS, more than one hundred years ago, examining certain specific mines or mining districts.

Categories

Geology, Minerals, Publications

Tags

2020s, CGS, geology, gold, historic, history, lead, metals, mining, molybdenum, publications, rocktalk, silver, statewide