Belvidere Mountain Quarries (Vermont Asbestos Group Mine; VAG Mine; Ruberoid Asbestos Mine; Eden Mills Quarries), Lowell & Eden, Orleans & Lamoille Cos., Vermont, USA
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||44° 46' 0'' North , 72° 31' 23'' West|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||44.7666666667, -72.5230555556|
Asbestos was first discovered on Belvidere Mountain before 1823 (in Lowell, formerly Kellyvale). In 1899, a prospect was developed at the east base of the mountain which was later mined by the Lowell Lumber & Asbestos Company. Another company, New England Asbestos Mining and Milling, began mining the southwest side in 1902.
According to the Vermont Geological Survey: "The Ruberoid Company bought the Belvidere Mountain mine in 1936. By this time, the Eden mine was the only operating chrysotile asbestos mine in the country, encompassing 1700 acres of asbestos deposits on Belvidere Mountain. When Ruberoid took over, the first modern, large scale development began (Crane, 1954). In 1967, the company merged with General Aniline and Film Corporation and became known as GAF Corporation. By 1973, health issues regarding the mining and use of asbestos came into public focus. Only two years later, GAF announced that the Eden mine would cease its operations. An economic feasibility study had determined that the estimated $1 million cost to retrofit the plant for the required environmental dust control equipment made further operation of the mine unprofitable (Wallace, 1990). That same year, mine workers raised $2 million and took control of the plant from GAF (Clairborne, 1976). The new company was called the Vermont Asbestos Group (VAG). The serpentine is blasted loose from the quarry face and then trucked to the mill where the fibers are separated from the rock. Vermont ranked second in the manufacturing of asbestos to California, the only other state that produces asbestos. The mine closed in 1993. Asbestos mining no longer occurs in Vermont."
The excavations for this asbestos deposit are virtually continuous and overlapping. Many collectors maintain a distinction without a difference as to the names of particular pits. Although there are historical references to particular sub-locations such as the C-area, etc., specimens from these locations have been distributed without specific labels to identify which pit or exact spot they have come from. The largest two levels are at the north end of the excavations the Lowell quarry and, consequently, which have produced most of the specimens, and are largely in Lowell, but exceptional specimens have also been found in Eden on the southern end of the quarry area (T-area). (Have fun figuring out how to label specimens from this area!)
|Silurian-Devonian358.9 - 443.8 Ma||Silurian-Devonian sedimentary rocks|
|Ordovician - Neoproterozoic443.8 - 1000 Ma||Neoproterozoic-Ordovician sedimentary|
|Furongian - Middle Cambrian485.4 - 513 Ma||Ottauquechee Formation|
Ottauquechee Formation - Black carbonaceous phyllite or schist containing interbeds of massive quartzite commonly criss-crossed by veins of white quartz; quartzite is dark gray and carbonaceous, light gray, or white; also includes light green quartz-sericite-chlorite phyllite or schist and sercitic quartzite; beds of phyllitic graywacke and feldspar granule conglomerate are north of Lamoille River. Schist contains abundant porphyroblasts of garnet and biotite from Ludlow south. The Ottauquechee contains two major units: A black phyllite and the Thatcher Brook Member. The black phyllite contains a previously unreported sub-unit of gray carbonate schist. The Thatcher Brook Member (named in an abstract by Armstrong and others, 1988) is a carbonaceous albitic schist with greenstones and ultramafics. These rocks have previously been included in the Ottauquechee but have never been differentiated from the black phyllite. Member is in fault contact with the silvery green schist of the Pinney Hollow Formation to the west. Age is Cambrian (Ratcliff, in press).
Part of Green Mountains Secondary unit description per VT016.
References for regional geology:
Data provided by Macrostrat.org
Garrity, C.P., and Soller, D.R.,. Database of the Geologic Map of North America: adapted from the map by J.C. Reed, Jr. and others (2005). U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 424 .
USGS compilers. State geologic map data. State Maps.
Geological Survey of Canada. Generalized geological map of the world and linked databases. doi:10.4095/195142. Open File 2915d.
64 valid minerals.
Robinson, Samuel (1825): A Catalogue of American Minerals, with Their Localities: 24.
Marsters, Vernon F. (1904). Petrography of the Amphibolite, Serpentine, and Associated Asbestos Deposits of Belvidere Mountain, Vermont. Geological Society of America Bulletin, Volume 16.: 419-445.
Diller, J. S. (1910). The Types, Modes of Occurrence, and Important Deposits of Asbestos in the United States. USGS Bulletin 470: 507-512.
Rocks & Minerals (1946): 21: 490.
Rocks & Minerals (1947): 22: 925.
Crane, C. E. (1954). Vermont makes silk from stone – the story of the nation’s largest asbestos operation located on a remote mountainside of northern Vermont, Vermont Life: 8(3): 2-9.
Cady, Wallace Martin; Albee, Arden Leroy; Chidester, A. H. (1963) Bedrock Geology and Asbestos Deposits of the Upper Missisquoi Valley and Vicinity, Vermont. USGS Bull 1122-B.
Gosse, Ralph (1968): Notes on Rare and Unusual New England Gemstones. Rocks & Minerals: 43: 756.
Clairborne, W.L., (1976). Vermont Asbestos Group: Worker-owned mine shows bright prospects, Vermont Life: 30(3): 9-13.
Chidester, A.H., Albee, A.L., and Cady, W.M., (1978). Petrology, structure and genesis of the asbestos-bearing ultramafic rocks of the Belvidere Mountain area in Vermont: U.S. Geologic Survey Professional Paper 1016, 95 p.
Labotka, T. C. and Albee, A. L. (1979). Serpentinization of the Belvidere Mountain ultramafic body, Vermont. The Canadian Mineralogist: 17(4): 831-845.
Gale, M.H., (1986). Geologic Map of the Belvidere Mountain Area, Eden and Lowell, Vermont: U.S. Geological Survey Misc. Investigations Series map I-1560.
Wallace, Paulette (1990). Eden asbestos mine among first in United States, News and Citizen, Morrisville, VT, February 22, 1990.
King, Vandall and Cares, J. (1996), Vermont Mineral Locality Index, Rocks and Minerals: 71: 324-335, 337-338.
Hadden, Sue (1996): Minerals of the Quarries of Lowell-Eden, Vermont. Rocks & Minerals: 71: 236-246.
Hollmann, Ken (1996). Recent Collecting at the Belvidere Mt. Quarry, Lowell, Vermont, Mineral News: 12(7): 1, 6-7.
Van Baalen, M., Francis, C., and Mossman, B. (1999). Mineralogy, petrology and health issues at the ultramafic complex, Belvidere Mountain, Vermont, USA: in Guidebook to Field Trips in Vermont and Adjacent Regions of New Hampshire and New York: 91st Annual New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference Meeting, Burlington, Vermont.
Hollmann, Ken (2001): Epidote from the VAG Mine, Belvidere Mtn., Lowell, Vermont. Mineral News: 17(2): 1-7. (See also v. 12, #7.)
Hadden, Sue; Carlsen, Ken; Bentley, Arlene (2008): Grossular and associated minerals from the Eden Mills quarries, Vermont. Mineralogical Record: May 2008.
Levitan, Denise et al. (2009): Mineralogy of mine waste at the Vermont Asbestos Group mine, Belvidere Mountain, Vermont. American Mineralogist: 94(7): 1063-1066.