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Boulder County Tungsten Mining District, Boulder Co., Colorado, USAi
Regional Level Types
Boulder County Tungsten Mining DistrictMining District
Boulder Co.County
ColoradoState
USACountry

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Key
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
40° North , 105° West (est.)
Estimate based on other nearby localities or region boundaries.
Margin of Error:
~34km
Locality type:


LOCATION AND HISTORY: The Boulder County tungsten district extends in a narrow southwesterly belt 9½ miles long from Arkansas Mountain, about 4 miles west of Boulder, to the Sherwood Flats, a mile northwest of Nederland. Throughout most of this distance the belt is 1 to 2 miles wide, but near its western end it flares out to a width of approximately 3 miles.

The abundant float of a heavy black mineral throughout the tungsten belt was known in the days of the earliest prospecting in Boulder County and was called "heavy iron," "barren silver;' and "black iron" and was assayed again and again for silver and gold. Its identity was not recognized until about 1899, when W. H. Wanamaker, who was familiar with the tungsten ore of the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona, recognized the ferberite float as a tungsten mineral. Wanamaker and his partner, S. T. Conger, obtained a lease on a part of the Boulder County land where the float was abundant, about a mile northwest of Nederland, and 40 tons of high-grade ore were taken from the surface in 1900.

In the same year Conger discovered the Conger vein, which proved to be the most productive vein in the entire district. The discovery of the tungsten ore coincided with the period during which tungsten steel was first introduced in the manufacture of high-speed cutting tools, and prospecting throughout the district was encouraged by the consequent demand for tungsten ore.

In spite of the fact that during the first few years following the discovery the price of tungsten ore was as low as $1 per unit there was much activity throughout the tungsten belt, and most of the productive veins were discovered before 1907. The price paid per unit, which ranged from $2 to $3 in 1901, gradually rose to as much as $14 during the next decade and reached a peak of $100 per unit in 1916 because of the urgent demand during World War I. As early as 1904 the potentialities of the district were recognized by some of the large steel corporations of the East, and a number of well-financed corporations entered the district and acquired property.

The mineral composition of most of the veins in the tungsten belt is very simple. Except in the eastern part, tungsten is the only metal sought. In the eastern part gold-telluride veins are present, and in the extreme northeastern part a substantial amount of high-grade silver-lead ore was taken from the Yellow Pine mine.

Some lead-silver-zinc deposits occur along the northern and southern borders of the tungsten belt but little or no sulfide ore has been mined within it. The total output of the belt is valued at approximately $24,000,000.

Mineralogy: Although many minerals have been found in the tungsten veins, only a few are common. The gangue is microgranular quartz locally known as "horn," and the only ore mineral is ferberite. Sericite and the clay minerals dickite and beidellite are common throughout the district, barite in small quantity is widely distributed, and in certain veins iron sulfides are sufficiently abundant to lower the grade of the ore. Hematite and magnetite occur with some of the ferberite ore at scattered localities in the tungsten belt but are not common. Pyrite, marcasite, galena, and sphalerite are rare but are locally associated with the ferberite as late minerals. Calcite and ankerite occur as early minerals in some of the veins, and adularia is present locally in the veins and wall rocks. The fine-grained quartz gangue in many places contains minute crystals of goyazite ("hamlinite"), dickite, kaolinite, beidellite, hematite, magnetite, and goethite, each min- eral giving a characteristic color to the quartz in which it is disseminated. Opal and chalcedony are late minerals in most of the veins and are usually intimately associated with kaolinite or beidellite. Dickite, the moderately high temperature form of the kaolin group, is very common in vuggy ferberite ore and seems to be nearly contemporaneous with the ferberite. In the eastern part of the district some ferberite is associated with the sylvanite ores, but the sylvanite veins were formed before the tungsten mineralization took place.

Nearly all the tungsten ore mined in Boulder County contains so little manganese that it must be classed as a ferberite, but some ore from Gordon Gulch contained sufficient manganese to be designated wolframite.
Much of the ferberite in the Beaver Creek area is coarsely crystalline and vuggy and shows comb structure. In the Sherwood Creek zone and in the region near the Hurricane Hill fault, although vuggy medium-grained to coarse-grained ferberite is common, much of the ore consists of massive medium-grained ferberite, which occurs as a matrix to country rock fragments. The ferberite becomes finer and finer grained to the east. Scheelite in druses and veinlets in the ferberite ore and in minute veinlets and grains in the late light-colored "horn" is not uncommon in the northern and eastern parts of the district. The ferberite from different areas shows marked differences in color. Much of that in the western part is shiny black, except where it has been somewhat decomposed and in part converted to limonite. Some of the coarsely crystalline ore is highly iridescent. At many localities, especially in the central part of the district, the ferberite has a brownish east and is distinctly softer than the black ferberite. Hess and Schaller suggest that the brown ferberite may have contained specular hematite which has broken down to a hydrous oxide of iron imparting a brownish east to the fresh ferberite.

Regions containing this locality

North America PlateTectonic Plate
Rocky Mountains, North AmericaMountain Range

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded from this region.


Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

35 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

Note: this is a very new system on mindat.org and data is currently VERY limited. Please bear with us while we work towards adding this information!

Rock list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

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Alphabetical List Tree Diagram

Detailed Mineral List:

Ankerite
Formula: Ca(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
Reference: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 223
Arsenopyrite
Formula: FeAsS
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Baryte
Formula: BaSO4
Beidellite
Formula: (Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Calcite
Formula: CaCO3
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Chalcopyrite
Formula: CuFeS2
'Chlorite Group'
Coloradoite
Formula: HgTe
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) E.B. Eckel
'Copper Stain'
Reference: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 223
Dickite
Formula: Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Famatinite
Formula: Cu3SbS4
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Ferberite
Formula: FeWO4
Localities: Reported from at least 43 localities in this region.
Fizélyite
Formula: Ag5Pb14Sb21S48
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Galena
Formula: PbS
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Gold
Formula: Au
Goyazite
Formula: SrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Graphite
Formula: C
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Hematite
Formula: Fe2O3
Hematite var: Specularite
Formula: Fe2O3
Reference: USGS Bull 583
Hübnerite
Formula: MnWO4
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Hydrokenoelsmoreite
Formula: 2W2O6(H2O)
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckels, E. B.
Hydrokenoelsmoreite var: Ferritungstite
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Ilsemannite
Formula: Mo3O8 · nH2O
Reference: U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Mineral Resources Data System: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia.
Kaolinite
Formula: Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
'K Feldspar'
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckels, E. B.
'K Feldspar var: Adularia'
Formula: KAlSi3O8
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
'Limonite'
Formula: (Fe,O,OH,H2O)
Marcasite
Formula: FeS2
Melonite
Formula: NiTe2
Molybdenite
Formula: MoS2
Localities: Reported from at least 6 localities in this region.
Muscovite
Formula: KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Reference: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 223
Muscovite var: Sericite
Formula: KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Reference: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 223
Opal
Formula: SiO2 · nH2O
Reference: USGS Bull 583
Pyrite
Formula: FeS2
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Quartz
Formula: SiO2
Localities: Reported from at least 14 localities in this region.
Quartz var: Chalcedony
Formula: SiO2
Localities: Reported from at least 6 localities in this region.
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.
Roscoelite
Formula: K(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) E.B. Eckel
'Ruby Silver Ore'
Scheelite
Formula: Ca(WO4)
Localities: Reported from at least 6 localities in this region.
Sphalerite
Formula: ZnS
Stromeyerite
Formula: AgCuS
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) E.B. Eckel
Stützite
Formula: Ag5-xTe3, x = 0.24-0.36
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) E.B. Eckel
Sylvanite
Formula: (Au,Ag)2Te4
Tetrahedrite
Formula: Cu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
Tungstite
Formula: WO3 · H2O
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) E.B. Eckel
'Wad'
Reference: Minerals of Colorado (1997) Eckel, E. B.

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 1 - Elements
Gold1.AA.05Au
Graphite1.CB.05aC
Group 2 - Sulphides and Sulfosalts
Arsenopyrite2.EB.20FeAsS
Chalcopyrite2.CB.10aCuFeS2
Coloradoite2.CB.05aHgTe
Famatinite2.KA.10Cu3SbS4
Fizélyite2.JB.40aAg5Pb14Sb21S48
Galena2.CD.10PbS
Marcasite2.EB.10aFeS2
Melonite2.EA.20NiTe2
Molybdenite2.EA.30MoS2
Pyrite2.EB.05aFeS2
Sphalerite2.CB.05aZnS
Stromeyerite2.BA.40AgCuS
Stützite2.BA.65Ag5-xTe3, x = 0.24-0.36
Sylvanite2.EA.05(Au,Ag)2Te4
Tetrahedrite2.GB.05Cu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
Ferberite4.DB.30FeWO4
Hematite4.CB.05Fe2O3
var: Specularite4.CB.05Fe2O3
Hydrokenoelsmoreite4.DH.152W2O6(H2O)
var: Ferritungstite4.DH.152W2O6(H2O)
Hübnerite4.DB.30MnWO4
Ilsemannite4.FJ.15Mo3O8 · nH2O
Opal4.DA.10SiO2 · nH2O
Quartz4.DA.05SiO2
var: Chalcedony4.DA.05SiO2
Tungstite4.FJ.10WO3 · H2O
Group 5 - Nitrates and Carbonates
Ankerite5.AB.10Ca(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
Calcite5.AB.05CaCO3
Group 7 - Sulphates, Chromates, Molybdates and Tungstates
Baryte7.AD.35BaSO4
Scheelite7.GA.05Ca(WO4)
Group 8 - Phosphates, Arsenates and Vanadates
Goyazite8.BL.10SrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Group 9 - Silicates
Beidellite9.EC.40(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
Dickite9.ED.05Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Kaolinite9.ED.05Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Muscovite9.EC.15KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
var: Sericite9.EC.15KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Roscoelite9.EC.15K(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Unclassified Minerals, Rocks, etc.
'Chlorite Group'-
'Copper Stain'-
'K Feldspar'-
'var: Adularia'-KAlSi3O8
'Limonite'-(Fe,O,OH,H2O)
'Ruby Silver Ore'-
'Wad'-

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 1 - NATIVE ELEMENTS AND ALLOYS
Metals, other than the Platinum Group
Gold1.1.1.1Au
Semi-metals and non-metals
Graphite1.3.6.2C
Group 2 - SULFIDES
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 2:1
Stromeyerite2.4.6.1AgCuS
AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
Coloradoite2.8.2.5HgTe
Galena2.8.1.1PbS
Sphalerite2.8.2.1ZnS
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 1:1
Chalcopyrite2.9.1.1CuFeS2
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 1:2
Arsenopyrite2.12.4.1FeAsS
Marcasite2.12.2.1FeS2
Melonite2.12.14.1NiTe2
Molybdenite2.12.10.1MoS2
Pyrite2.12.1.1FeS2
Sylvanite2.12.13.3(Au,Ag)2Te4
Miscellaneous
Stützite2.16.13.1Ag5-xTe3, x = 0.24-0.36
Group 3 - SULFOSALTS
ø = 4
Famatinite3.2.2.2Cu3SbS4
3 <ø < 4
Tetrahedrite3.3.6.1Cu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
ø = 3
Fizélyite3.4.15.8Ag5Pb14Sb21S48
Group 4 - SIMPLE OXIDES
A2X3
Hematite4.3.1.2Fe2O3
AX3
Tungstite4.5.2.1WO3 · H2O
Miscellaneous
Ilsemannite4.6.3.1Mo3O8 · nH2O
Group 14 - ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
A(XO3)
Calcite14.1.1.1CaCO3
AB(XO3)2
Ankerite14.2.1.2Ca(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
Group 28 - ANHYDROUS ACID AND NORMAL SULFATES
AXO4
Baryte28.3.1.1BaSO4
Group 42 - HYDRATED PHOSPHATES, ETC.CONTAINING HYDROXYL OR HALOGEN
(AB)2(XO4)Zq·xH2O
Goyazite42.7.3.3SrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Group 48 - ANHYDROUS MOLYBDATES AND TUNGSTATES
AXO4
Ferberite48.1.1.2FeWO4
Hübnerite48.1.1.1MnWO4
Scheelite48.1.2.1Ca(WO4)
Group 71 - PHYLLOSILICATES Sheets of Six-Membered Rings
Sheets of 6-membered rings with 1:1 layers
Dickite71.1.1.1Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Sheets of 6-membered rings with 2:1 layers
Muscovite71.2.2a.1KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Roscoelite71.2.2a.4K(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Sheets of 6-membered rings with 2:1 clays
Beidellite71.3.1a.1(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with [4] coordinated Si
Quartz75.1.3.1SiO2
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with H2O and organics
Opal75.2.1.1SiO2 · nH2O
Unclassified Minerals, Mixtures, etc.
'Chlorite Group'-
'Copper Stain'-
Hematite
var: Specularite
-Fe2O3
Hydrokenoelsmoreite-2W2O6(H2O)
var: Ferritungstite-2W2O6(H2O)
'K Feldspar'-
'var: Adularia'-KAlSi3O8
Kaolinite-Al2(Si2O5)(OH)4
'Limonite'-(Fe,O,OH,H2O)
Muscovite
var: Sericite
-KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Quartz
var: Chalcedony
-SiO2
'Ruby Silver Ore'-
'Wad'-

List of minerals for each chemical element

HHydrogen
H IlsemanniteMo3O8 · nH2O
H DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
H Beidellite(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
H GoyaziteSrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
H Hydrokenoelsmoreite2W2O6(H2O)
H RoscoeliteK(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
H TungstiteWO3 · H2O
H Muscovite (var: Sericite)KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
H Limonite(Fe,O,OH,H2O)
H KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
H OpalSiO2 · nH2O
H MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
CCarbon
C CalciteCaCO3
C GraphiteC
C AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
OOxygen
O FerberiteFeWO4
O IlsemanniteMo3O8 · nH2O
O BaryteBaSO4
O ScheeliteCa(WO4)
O DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
O QuartzSiO2
O HematiteFe2O3
O Beidellite(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
O K Feldspar (var: Adularia)KAlSi3O8
O CalciteCaCO3
O Quartz (var: Chalcedony)SiO2
O GoyaziteSrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
O Hydrokenoelsmoreite2W2O6(H2O)
O HübneriteMnWO4
O RoscoeliteK(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
O TungstiteWO3 · H2O
O Muscovite (var: Sericite)KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
O AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
O Limonite(Fe,O,OH,H2O)
O KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
O Hematite (var: Specularite)Fe2O3
O OpalSiO2 · nH2O
O MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
NaSodium
Na Beidellite(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
MgMagnesium
Mg AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
AlAluminium
Al DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Al Beidellite(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
Al K Feldspar (var: Adularia)KAlSi3O8
Al GoyaziteSrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
Al RoscoeliteK(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Al Muscovite (var: Sericite)KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Al KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Al MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
SiSilicon
Si DickiteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Si QuartzSiO2
Si Beidellite(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
Si K Feldspar (var: Adularia)KAlSi3O8
Si Quartz (var: Chalcedony)SiO2
Si RoscoeliteK(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Si Muscovite (var: Sericite)KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
Si KaoliniteAl2(Si2O5)(OH)4
Si OpalSiO2 · nH2O
Si MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
PPhosphorus
P GoyaziteSrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
SSulfur
S MolybdeniteMoS2
S BaryteBaSO4
S ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
S ArsenopyriteFeAsS
S MarcasiteFeS2
S TetrahedriteCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
S SphaleriteZnS
S FamatiniteCu3SbS4
S PyriteFeS2
S GalenaPbS
S FizélyiteAg5Pb14Sb21S48
S StromeyeriteAgCuS
KPotassium
K K Feldspar (var: Adularia)KAlSi3O8
K RoscoeliteK(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
K Muscovite (var: Sericite)KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
K MuscoviteKAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
CaCalcium
Ca ScheeliteCa(WO4)
Ca Beidellite(Na,Ca0.5)0.3Al2((Si,Al)4O10)(OH)2 · nH2O
Ca CalciteCaCO3
Ca AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
VVanadium
V RoscoeliteK(V3+,Al)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2
MnManganese
Mn HübneriteMnWO4
FeIron
Fe FerberiteFeWO4
Fe ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
Fe ArsenopyriteFeAsS
Fe MarcasiteFeS2
Fe TetrahedriteCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
Fe HematiteFe2O3
Fe PyriteFeS2
Fe AnkeriteCa(Fe2+,Mg)(CO3)2
Fe Limonite(Fe,O,OH,H2O)
Fe Hematite (var: Specularite)Fe2O3
NiNickel
Ni MeloniteNiTe2
CuCopper
Cu ChalcopyriteCuFeS2
Cu TetrahedriteCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
Cu FamatiniteCu3SbS4
Cu StromeyeriteAgCuS
ZnZinc
Zn TetrahedriteCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
Zn SphaleriteZnS
AsArsenic
As ArsenopyriteFeAsS
SrStrontium
Sr GoyaziteSrAl3(PO4)(PO3OH)(OH)6
MoMolybdenum
Mo MolybdeniteMoS2
Mo IlsemanniteMo3O8 · nH2O
AgSilver
Ag FizélyiteAg5Pb14Sb21S48
Ag StromeyeriteAgCuS
Ag StütziteAg5-xTe3, x = 0.24-0.36
Ag Sylvanite(Au,Ag)2Te4
SbAntimony
Sb TetrahedriteCu6Cu4(Fe2+,Zn)2Sb4S12S
Sb FamatiniteCu3SbS4
Sb FizélyiteAg5Pb14Sb21S48
TeTellurium
Te MeloniteNiTe2
Te StütziteAg5-xTe3, x = 0.24-0.36
Te Sylvanite(Au,Ag)2Te4
Te ColoradoiteHgTe
BaBarium
Ba BaryteBaSO4
WTungsten
W FerberiteFeWO4
W ScheeliteCa(WO4)
W Hydrokenoelsmoreite2W2O6(H2O)
W HübneriteMnWO4
W TungstiteWO3 · H2O
AuGold
Au GoldAu
Au Sylvanite(Au,Ag)2Te4
HgMercury
Hg ColoradoiteHgTe
PbLead
Pb GalenaPbS
Pb FizélyiteAg5Pb14Sb21S48

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
Lovering, T. S.; Tweto, Ogden (1953), Geology and ore deposits of the Boulder County tungsten district, Colorado, USGS Professional Paper 245.
USGS Bulletin 853.

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