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2019, Saddle Stitch
36 pages
Dimensions: 9 x 11.75
ISBN: 9781734131000
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Available in October
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Minerals of Colorado
2020 16-Month Calendar

English Language: English

Author: Dr. Terry C. Wallace Jr.

Edited by: Meghan Funk, Gloria A. Staebler, David Bunk, Iva Veselinova, Mike Jensen

Illustrations by: Jeff Scovil, Kevin Dixon, Tom DuBrock, Iva Veselinova

Colorado's geological display is like that of no place else on Earth. The eastern half of the state is part of the Great Plains, a swath of low lying topography that was built on horizontal strata deposited by ancient seas. The Great Plains give way to the Rocky Mountains, which rise in ragged peaks six to seven thousand feet above the plains. The Rockies transition to the Colorado Plateau, a high desert of brightly colored sandstones and shales that adorn the western and southern portions of the state.

Harbored in this geologic wonderland, and inextricable from the history of the state, is a treasure trove of minerals and gemstones. In 1858 a group of prospectors discovered gold flakes in a stream bed near present-day Denver. The find captured the imagination of a nation, and the Pikes Peak Gold Rush soon followed. “Pikes Peak or Bust” became the mantra of the more than 100,000 people, who streamed into the region seeking their fortunes in what was then the Kansas Territory. In short order, the mining camps of Central City, Georgetown, Idaho Springs, Breckenridge, and Fairplay were founded. The country fell into Civil War, just a few months after the Colorado Territory was established in February 1861. Led by President Lincoln, the nation hoped that Colorado's wealth would save the country from the massive debt accrued by the war.

The mining boom brought with it the discovery of fabulous mineral specimens, and today Colorado is home to some of the world’s premier mineral specimen localities. Today the state boasts more than 775 different mineral species, including silver, diamond, barite, quartz, amazonite, and even spectacularly colorful uranium minerals. But three species, in particular, stand out: deep red rhodochrosite rhombohedrons from the Sweet Home Mine, intense blue-green amazonite from the Crystal Peak area, and spectacularly crystallized gold from Breckenridge.

Mining towns like Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Breckenridge continue to draw people, but these days, they come for world-class skiing and premier resorts. The camps' mining histories, and with them the history of the state and country, are memorialized in historic trails and museums and in the mineral specimens preserved in museums and private collections in the state, country, and around the world.

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