High-calcium limestone resources of Utah (SS-116)

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Mining and Minerals

By: B. T. Tripp

Utah contains large resources of high-calcium limestone (> 95% CaCO3) that provide raw material for diverse mining and mineral-processing operations. The most important deposits are in Cambrian, Devonian, and Mississippian-age shallow marine rocks, primarily in the western half of the state. Tertiary lacustrine sediments of central and northeast Utah contain large volumes of limestone but they are generally less pure than the lower Paleozoic limestone. There are some Mesozoic formations that probably contain small amounts of high-calcium limestone. Quaternary travertine, tufa, and oolite deposits in Utah sometimes contain small deposits of high-calcium limestone that are important for local use. Although all carbonate rocks in Utah have not yet been systematically evaluated, 387 available chemical analyses from 46 stratigraphic formations show that large tonnages of high-calcium limestone are present in Utah.

About 84 high-calcium limestone quarries have been developed in Utah during the past 150 years. Most of these probably contain high-calcium limestone but chemical analyses are not available for all of the quarries. Of these, 14 moderate- to large-sized operations produced high-calcium limestone in 2004 for (1) Portland cement raw material, (2) manufacture of masonry lime and quicklime, (3) flue-gas desulfurization, (4) smelter flux, (5) coal-mine rock dust, and (6) crushed stone and riprap. Utah?s above-average population growth rate and recent large infrastructure developments, such as the Interstate Highway 15 reconstruction, have increased demand for high-calcium limestone. A major trend in Utah is increasing production of high-calcium limestone primarily for construction aggregate and crushed stone, but with additional potential for by-product high-calcium limestone for chemical and other uses.

This project compiles basic information on the most important geologic and infrastructural factors that would be considered when planning a new high-calcium limestone quarry such as: (1) data on existing pits and prospects, (2) chemical analyses of high-calcium limestone, (3) the extent and spatial distribution of geologic formations having good potential for high-calcium limestone production, (4) references for geologic maps covering existing pits and prospects, and analytical data points, (5) locations of transportation corridors, and (6) locations of cement and lime plants, electric power plants, coal mines, and metal smelters that are large consumers of high-calcium limestone.

Other Information:
Published: 2005
Pages: 84 p.
Plates: 1 pl.
Scale: 1:750,000
Location: Utah
Media Type: Paper and CD-ROM Publication

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