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A USGS Study of Talc Deposits and Associated Amphibole Asbestos Within Mined Deposits of the Southern Death Valley Region, California

By Bradley S. Van Gosen, Heather A. Lowers, and Stephen J. Sutley

Open-File Report 2004–1092

thumbnail image of The Moorehouse (Ibex) talc mine in the Ibex Hills
Version 1.0
Published 2004
Possibly the best examples in the U.S. of talc ore bodies formed by contact metamorphism are 45 deposits that have been mined and prospected in the southern Death Valley region, California. Twenty of the talc mines and prospects, all inactive, are located inside the boundaries of Death Valley National Park. The lead author sampled talc-rich rock and associated rocks in road cuts, and abandoned mine dumps and open pits at former talc mining operations within Death Valley National Park and at areas east of the park. Our mineralogical analyses of the talcose ores revealed that they contain a considerable proportion of tremolite, and locally the tremolite and associated sodic-calcic amphiboles intergrown with the talc occur as asbestiform particles.

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