U.S. Geological Survey
Lincoln Memorial

Colorado Yule Marble -- Building Stone of the Lincoln Memorial

By Elaine S. McGee

U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2162

version 1.0

The Colorado Yule marble, quarried in Marble, Colo., is a very pure white marble, and it has been widely acclaimed for its quality and purity. This marble has been used for many prominent buildings; one of the most notable is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., built nearly 80 years ago. Although most of the marble in the memorial appears to be in very good condition, some of the stones have developed pronounced surficial roughness and show a significant loss of carved details and rounded edges compared with adjacent stones. Because adjacent blocks of marble receive nearly identical exposure to weathering agents that cause deterioration of the marble, it seems very likely that this pronounced difference in durability of adjacent stones arises from some inherent characteristic of the marble.

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Last revised 06.25.99