OF-02-12 Sand and Gravel Resources Adjacent to the Colorado River Valley, Garfield County, Colorado


The purpose of this publication is to assist Garfield County planners, local citizens, and resource developers locate and evaluate potential sand and gravel resources along the Colorado River and its tributaries from Glenwood Springs to DeBeque. Digital ZIP download. OF-02-12D

From the Author’s Notes:

As population and development have escalated along the Colorado River Valley in Garfield County, the demand for sand and gravel resources has increased dramatically. Sand and gravel are the prime ingredients in most construction projects from roads and bridges to house foundations and office buildings. In fact, construction of a small house requires an average of 250 tons of aggregate.. The relatively high cost of transportation necessitates that these resources be collected as close to their end use as possible. Colorado River gravel is the county’s most usable aggregate resource based on the high quality of the deposits and their proximity to Interstate-70 and new-growth areas.

Sand and gravel used in concrete and asphalt must meet certain minimum specifications. Good sand and gravel resources contain physically sound clasts that are relatively free of fractures. Clasts that are moderately to well rounded and roughly spherical in shape are preferred, although nature invariably produces numerous stones that are flattened or oblong. The surface texture of the clasts is also important. Binding agents such as Portland cement or asphalt will have difficulty adhering to very smooth surfaces. Conversely, clasts that are very rough or contain large void spaces will require more bonding agent to hold them together, which translates to added costs. Furthermore, rough surfaces typically equate with increased pore space, which allows water to penetrate deeper into the clast. This accelerates weathering, especially when the aggregate is subjected to multiple freeze-thaw cycles as is common during Colorado winters.