The Science and Grandeur of Glaciers

When you picture a glacier, you probably imagine the Arctic. In fact, about 10% of the world’s total land area contains glaciers, and we have glaciers right here in Colorado. These awe-inspiring masses of snow and ice are constantly moving and changing due to fluctuations in climate and temperature, and they can yield important data […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Tungsten Mining in Colorado

Colorado mining isn’t just about gold and silver. There are many other metals, minerals, and elements that have been mined in our state; one of these is tungsten. Tungsten has the highest melting point of any known metal – more than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s an extremely hard substance, so is frequently used for strengthening […]

The Hope Diamond’s Colorado Connection

One of the world’s most famous diamonds has a Colorado connection. The dazzling blue Hope Diamond, weighing 45.52 carats, is now in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History. A century ago, however, the diamond was owned and worn by a Colorado mining heiress. The Hope Diamond has a long history. It was […]

25th Anniversary of the South Canyon Fire

This past Saturday marked the 25th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire near Glenwood Springs, which claimed the lives of fourteen firefighters battling the blaze on Storm King Mountain. Caused by a lightning strike on July 2, the wildfire seemed manageable until July 6, when a shift in the wind caused the fire to suddenly […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Sheer cliffs, deep chasms, and dark shadows make the 2,000-foot-deep Black Canyon of the Gunnison one of Colorado’s most spectacular natural wonders, and twenty years ago, it was officially designated a National Park. Yet for centuries, this sublime canyon has challenged those who wished to conquer it. Ute Indians were the first to explore and […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Dinosaur Discoveries

Just about everyone is familiar with Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, Allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus rex. But how many Coloradans know that the first specimens from these famous dinosaurs were found right here in our own state? Much of the credit for Colorado’s early dinosaur discoveries can be given to Arthur Lakes (1844-1917), a naturalist and clergyman who […]

Time Machine Tuesday: 1984 Floods and Landslides

In May and June of 1984, unseasonably warm temperatures caused that winter’s heavy snowfalls to melt at a rapid pace. As a result, fifteen counties on the Western Slope experienced significant flooding and landslides. Two people died. The damage was so extensive that Governor Lamm renewed his initial disaster declaration over and over again well […]

Colorado Hazard Mapping Tools

Flood season has arrived, and the State of Colorado has a number of online tools useful for mapping areas at risk of floods and landslides. Colorado Water Conservation Board The Colorado Hazard Mapping and Risk MAP Portal from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) provides a variety of tools for assessing hazard risk. In addition […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Florissant Fossil Beds

This year, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since the nineteenth century, scientists have regarded the Florissant beds as some of the richest deposits of fossils in the United States. 35 million years ago, a large lake covered much of the area that is now the monument. Because the area had […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Minerals and Geology

One of the most frequently accessed publications in our library’s digital collection is The Minerals of Colorado and Area Locations. Published in 1960 by the Colorado Bureau of Mines, this resource lists the various minerals found in Colorado and exactly where in the state they have been discovered, including by county and by mine name (if […]

How Geology Helped Build the Moffat Road

Our library recently received a fascinating new document for our collection that will be of interest to historians researching Colorado’s railroads as well as to those interested in our state’s geology and mineral resources. Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1918, a special committee of the Denver Civic and Commercial Association asked State Geologist Russell […]

Is Your House on Shaky Ground?

Ground subsidence problems are very real in Colorado. Whether from naturally occurring elements in the soil or from the effects of Colorado’s mining history, the ground in certain parts of Colorado is susceptible to settling, collapsing, expanding, heaving, or swelling, all of which can have potentially hazardous effects on structures. So how do you know […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Yule Marble

Lincoln Memorial. Did you know that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. are constructed of marble quarried here in Colorado? The stone comes from the Colorado Yule Marble quarry in the Crystal River valley near Marble, between Aspen and Carbondale. Colorado Yule marble, named for nearby Yule Creek, […]

Time Machine Tuesday: "Mineral and Water Resources of Colorado," 1968

Fifty years ago Colorado’s two U.S. Senators, Gordon Allott and Peter Dominick, requested the State of Colorado and the U.S. Geological Survey to publish Mineral and Water Resources of Colorado.  “The importance of both of these vital resources to the economic well-being of Colorado cannot be overestimated,” Allott wrote in the report’s foreword.  “I requested […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Uranium Mining

Uranium was discovered in southwestern Colorado in the late nineteenth century.  It comes from carnotite ore, which also produces vanadium.  When these elements were first mined, vanadium was considered to be the more valuable of the two; it was used as an alloy to strengthen steel.  In 1921 the Colorado Geological Survey issued Radium, Uranium, […]

Colorado Coal Resources

Coal is one of Colorado’s most significant mineral resources, and over the years has played an important part in our state’s history and economy.  You can learn about Colorado coal in numerous publications available from our library.  Some highlights from our collection include General resources: 2006 Colorado Coal Fact Sheet  Active/Licensed Coal Mines in Colorado, […]

All About Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak as seen from Garden of the Gods.  Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office. Without a doubt, it’s Colorado’s most famous mountain.  And while it’s neither the tallest mountain in Colorado nor the most difficult to scale, Pikes Peak is famous for its visibility from the plains, its use as a symbol of the 1859 […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Leadville Metals Exposure Study

Leadville is one of Colorado’s most historic mountain towns.  Though a small mountain town today, in the 1870s and 1880s Leadville rivaled Denver for the state’s most prestigious city and many millionaires were made through Leadville’s silver mines.  Following the Crash of 1893, most of Leadville’s silver mines were abandoned, although other mining activities such […]

Time Machine Tuesday: The White Ash Mine Disaster

This fall the Colorado School of Mines unveiled a new memorial dedicated to the victims of the White Ash Mine disaster of 1889.  Ten miners lost their lives in the accident near Golden, Colorado. The White Ash Mine was located adjacent to the Loveland Mine, which had been shut down in 1881 following a fire.  […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Oil Shale

In 1921 the Colorado Geological Survey published a bulletin entitled Oil Shales of Colorado.  According to the report, Pennsylvania and nearby states dominated the petroleum extraction industry in the mid-nineteenth century, but as drilling declined at the same time that demand increased, Colorado and other western and mid-western states looked to Scotland and France, who […]