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New Map Showcases the Recreational, Mining and Historical Heart of Colorado

November 17, 2017

Bringing together decades of research and mapping, the U.S. Geological Survey just released a geologic map and companion pamphlet featuring the Arkansas River Valley region in north-central Colorado.  

Stretching from the historical mining town of Leadville to the riverside ranching and farming community of Salida, the map spans over 60 miles in the middle of the Centennial State, providing both an historic and updated geologic picture.

In addition to new field work, the map’s authors used the latest technology to create this compilation, including airborne laser technology, to visually display the landscape at a very high resolution. It captures mineral deposits and some previously unknown fault systems.

The map and accompanying booklet interpret and explain this historically vital region, now containing many popular recreational areas. This geologic update includes the world-class ore gold, silver, lead and zinc deposits in and near the historic Leadville mining district, which is responsible for producing silver, gold and other metals worth at least $1.8 billion since 1859.

“Hikers and river runners can access the ages and types of rocks they are seeing, including granites and metamorphic rocks over one and half billion years old and gravels that are still being formed today,” said USGS scientist Karl Kellogg, the first author of the map. “This publication will likely be the authoritative source for understanding the geology of the Upper Arkansas Valley for minerals and water resources, as well as landslide and earthquake hazards, for years to come.”

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