Sample Geology Paper on Mining in Colorado

Mining in Colorado

Mining entails the extraction of precious and valuable rocks, minerals, or other geological materials from the earth surface, mostly from lode, orebody, seam, vein, placer deposit, or reef. The mineral deposits develop mineralized package that have economic benefits to the miner. Additionally, mining is necessary to extract materials that cannot be grown using agricultural means or formed artificially in factories and laboratory. In the broader sense, mining includes the extraction of renewable resources such as natural gas, petroleum, or metals such as gold, silver, and aluminium. The state of Colorado is so rich in minerals to an extent that they have a mineral belt. This mineral belt extends from northeast to southwest running from the Rocky Mountains and it has a width of about 10-60 miles (Cappa, Young, Keller, Carroll, Widmann, 2016)

The belt runs from La Plata Mountains in northern Durango from Boulder. According to mining experts, this belt was formed over 75 million years ago when volcanic eruptions and igneous intrusions deposition were deposited over the landscape in a contour. Most of the towns in Colorado are popular and thriving because of the mining activities. For instance, Denver has grown as a famous and vital town with the Denver Art Museum and the jumping-off point for a resort in the Rocky Mountains mainly because of the mining activities (Cappa et al., 2016). Therefore, for these towns to survive after mining shuts entirely or, this region must adapt their economies.

Cataloged in Colorado has over 770 minerals such as  gemstones found in the belt include topaz, garnet, rock crystal quartz, tourmaline, rose quartz, smoky quartz, amethyst, peridot, turquoise, zircon, and sapphire.  Similarly, diamond, gold, and amazonite are mined in the belt region. Museums. These minerals and rocks are utilized in numerous ways such as making jewelry, space travels, electronics, and private and public collections (Vanderwilt, 2017).

Since the pioneering days, raw mineral manufacturing companies in Colorado have provided millions of people with employment opportunities and promoted growth and development in the world. Additionally, Colorado was ranked ninth among the states in America in non-fueled minerals in 2010. These states have varied and vast resources ranging from diamond, gemstone, oil, gold, and natural gas. This extensive mineral deposit has given Colorado a distinctive stronghold economically. These minerals and rocks can be used in improving infrastructures such as roads and space travels.

In the history of Colorado, the mineral belts have been pointed out as one of the most popular mineral deposits. Some of the essential minerals found in this region include sapphire, gold, and diamond. Gold is a ductile, malleable, and corrosion resistant material. In addition, gold exists in all states of matter that is a liquid, solid, and gaseous state (Schwochow, 2018). The gold mines have been in Colorado since 1958, and they have played a significant role in most development evident in Colorado. Gold, as a mineral, is used in making precious jewelry since it is the most expensive mineral on earth.

Diamond, on the other hand, naturally occurs in various colors such as blue, yellow, red, and green. Additionally, after its extraction, it is graded according to its color since its value is mainly related to the color. Some of the uses of diamond include making jewelry, ornament, and drill bits because they are hard (Schwochow, 2018).

Sapphire is another crucial mineral common in the belts and is mostly found along Swan Mountains between Breckenridge and Keystone. Naturally, sapphire is a transparent, blue gemstone and it contains aluminum oxide as the primary chemical component (Matthews, 2013). The mineral has a large dielectric constant.   The extraction of this mineral has improved the economy by minimizing pullback composite, and this has eventually reduced the  voids on road surfaces.

The economy of Colorado has mainly relied on minerals and rocks. As a result, most of the towns around the mineral belts have found that they need to diversify their economies for them to survive beyond the time of infinite resources. These rocks have improved the living standard and quality of life of the people in Colorado and the United States as a whole. However, these mining operations have caused adverse environmental effects both during mining operations and after the closure of mines, and this have made the United States government pass regulations to reduce this adverse impact (Matthews, 2013). In Colorado, mining sites emphasize on work safety, and this has significantly improved the working condition of the workers in these sites.

The degree of recycling metals is extremely low. Therefore, unless the rate of future end-of-life recycling are enhanced, some rare minerals in the area might become rare in numerous consumer products due to the low rates of recycling since some of the landfills have higher concentrations of minerals than mines themselves. Nonetheless, the net effect of the mining activity is constructive since it has seen the growth and prosperity of numerous towns in Colorado states.

 

References

Cappa, J., Young, G., Keller, J., Carroll, C., and Widmann, B. 2016. Colorado mineral and energy industry activities, 2005, Information Series 73. Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, Denver, Colorado. 

Colorado Mining Association. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 January 2019, from https://coloradomining.org/

Matthews, V. 2013. The Global Scramble for Natural Resources–Its Impact on Colorado. Retrieved 8 January 2019, from http://original.livestream.com/ucdenvergem/video?clipId=pla_aebcbe8b-8875-4b51-9b29-aaeba2e5c202

Schwochow, S. D. (2018). Sand, gravel, and quarry aggregate resources, Colorado front range counties.

Vanderwilt, J. W. (2017). Mineral resources of Colorado.