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):||44.76667,-72.52306|
|Köppen climate type:||Dfb : Warm-summer humid continental climate|
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 Although there are historical references to particular sub-locations such as the C-area, etc., specimens from these locations have been distributed without specific labels to identify which pit or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!)
63 valid minerals.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
|Cambrian - Neoproterozoic|
485.4 - 1000 Ma
|Belvidere Mountain Structural Complex - albite gneiss|
Stratigraphic Name: Belvidere Mountain Complex
Description: White, light-gray- and green-banded, fine- to medium-grained, well-layered epidote-white mica-quartz-albite (±garnet±magnetite) gneiss; contains plagioclase and polycrystalline quartz porphyroblasts. The 0.5- to 2-cm-thick layers are defined by variations in the amount of quartz, albite, white mica, and chlorite. Gneiss is similar to gneiss at the base of the Tillotson Peak Structural Complex. Rocks of the Early to Late Taconic Accreted Terrane of the Rowe-Hawley Zone. Eastern allochthonous sequence, oceanic and accretionary realm, ultramafic inclusions, volcanic-arc intrusives, and volcanic rocks.
Reference: Horton, J.D., C.A. San Juan, and D.B. Stoeser. The State Geologic Map Compilation (SGMC) geodatabase of the conterminous United States. doi: 10.3133/ds1052. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1052. 
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.