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Crystal Park, Colorado First-Order Changes in a Local Mountain Environment (1963-1998)

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Presentation on theme: "Crystal Park, Colorado First-Order Changes in a Local Mountain Environment (1963-1998)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Crystal Park, Colorado First-Order Changes in a Local Mountain Environment ( )

2 Crystal Park §Section of the Manitou Springs, Colorado Quadrant (U.S.G.S. 7.5 minute topographic map) showing Crystal Park area (1961, photo- revised 1969 & 1975).

3 THE HISTORY §Downtown Colorado Springs, looking toward the Antlers Hotel, in the late 1940s. Crystal Park is located to the southeast of snow-capped Pikes Peak. (Photograph by Joe C. Nix.)

4 THE SETTING §Panorama of Pikes Peak and the Pikes Peak Region, Colorado. "Antique" postcard from Sanborn Souvenir Co., Denver, Colorado, showing Crystal Park.

5 THE ROAD §Taken sometime between , this photograph shows a touring car on the Crystal Park Toll Road, at "Snow Plow Rock". During road widening operations in the 1970s, the massive rock was removed to protect the city below from a potentially damaging landslide. §Taken in 1997, this picture shows one of three switch-backs that can be seen from the city, zig-zagging across the mountainside. Its now wide enough for large trucks and 3 cars to pass with little, if any, difficulty.

6 THE LAKE §View of "the lake", taken fall 1997, looking toward the southwest, showing the ridge (Pike National Forest boundary).

7 THE SUN §View of the "new cabin" showing the south-facing wall used for passive solar heating.

8 THE ROCKS §Gog Rock - one of many granitic outcrops throughout Crystal Park. (Locate it on the topographic map!)

9 WEATHERING PROCESSES §Mechanical §Chemical §Biological

10 THE MINERALS §Specimens from Crystal Park, Colorado: 3" long amazonite found about 5" below the base of a tree, 12" long gem- quality smoky quartz found while digging water well, and other gem-quality smoky quartz crystals.

11 MINERAL DESCRIPTIONS (1) from the U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1114: Minerals of Colorado, A 100-Year Record EL PASO COUNTY Locality 2. - Crystal Park area. Amazonstone, bastnaesite, fluocerite (tysonite), phenakite, quartz (clear and smoky), topaz, and zircon. Crystal Park, one of the oldest and best-known collecting localities for Pikes Peak minerals, is famous as a source of gem topaz and phenakite, amazonstone, smoky and clear quartz, zircon, columbite, and other minerals. The specimens occur in many small pegmatite bodies in granite. Crystal Park is in sec. 18, T. 14 S., R. 67 W., 2 miles southwest of Manitou Springs. It is reached by a toll road that leaves U.S. Highway 24 at a point 2.1 miles west of 25th Street in Colorado Springs. Pegmatite bodies are present along the slopes of Cameron Cone from a point more than 1 mile northwest of Crystal Park southeastward as far as Bear Creek.

12 MINERAL DESCRIPTIONS (2) §BASTNAESITE - (Ce,La)(CO 3 )F Bastnaesite, a rare fluocarbonate of the cerium group of rare earths has been found, as an alteration product of other cerium minerals in five widely separated localities.... Hidden (1891) describes a second locality for bastnaesite and tysonite (fluocerite) and gives additional analyses, His locality is "near Manitou", which is probably the same as Crystal Park (loc. 2) occurrence described by Kunz (1890b). Hiddne's material consisted of a group of hexagonal tabular crystals weighing 6 kilograms. The individual crystals, which were nearly 2 inches in diameter, were clear deep-brown bastnaesite; the interiors were wax-yellow unaltered tysonite (fluocerite). (pp ) §BIOTITE - K (Mg,Fe +2 ) 3 (AlSi 3 )O 10 (OH,F) 2 Biotite, the black mica, is a common constituent of many igneous and metamorphic rocks. None of these occurrences is described here. It is also widespread, but nowhere very abundant, in some pegmatite bodies, contact-metamorphic zones, and in a few hydrothermal veins....El Paso County. - "Pikes Peak". The high-iron variety of biotite called siderophyllite was first found and described from this locality. It occurs as hard black well-formed crystals, associated with amazonstone and astrophyllite. Some of it is bronzy black, resembling phlogopite on the outer parts of the crystals, altered to soft rotten material toward the center. (pp ) §COLUMBITE - (Fe,Mn)(Cb,Ta) 2 O 6 Columbite, all of it containing some tantalum, has been found in a few pegmatite bodies and a few hundred pounds have been produced as a byproduct of mining other minerals. Nowhere are any sizable deposits known....El Paso County. - The earliest reported occurrence of columbite in the State was from "Pikes Peak", probably the St. Peters Dome area (loc. 5). It is associated with amazonstone, smoky quartz, zircon, and other minerals; some of the prismatic crystals penetrate the amazonstone and zircon. Some masses weigh several pounds. Small amounts are also associated with cyrtolite. (pp )

13 MINERAL DESCRIPTIONS (3) §FLUOCERITE (Ce,La,Nd)F 3 Fluocerite has been found at several localities, two of them in El Paso County. Its first discovery, probably near the base of Stove Mountain (loc. 6), was by Allen and Comstock (1880) who called it a new mineral, tysonite; it has since been shown that tysonite is identical with fluocerite and the name "tysonite" has been dropped. The second discovery was by Hidden (1891), who also called the mineral tysonite. This was probably from Crystal Park (loc. 2), near Manitou. (p. 146) §PHENAKITE - Be 2 SiO 4 Crystals of phenakite, also spelled phenacite, occur in abundance in three localities in Colorado. All three have produced many gem specimens, and the crystallography ha been studied by several mineralogists. The literature on these occurrences is imposing and not all the important reports are cited here. In addition to the three localities described below, phenakite is reported from the Gold King mine at Cripple Creek, Teller County.... El Paso County - Crystal Park (loc. 2). The first find of phenakite in the United States was recorded from Crystal Park by Whitman Cross and Hillebrand (1882c). This discovery amounted to the fragments of two crystals, one 2.5 cm long and the other 7 cm long. By 1884, about 50 crystals had been found in a single year (Kunz, 1885). At least a quarter of these were of gem quality. The largest crystal was 3 inches across. The crystal habit, here rhombohedral rather than prismatic, is described by Penfield (1887). Associated with topaz, zircon, amazonstone, and smoky quartz, the colorless transparent crystals are relatively large and most of them are broken. The history of the deposits, and good descriptions of the locality, are given by Pearl (1941e, 1951a). (pp ) §TOPAZ - Al 2 SiO 4 (F,OH) 2 Topaz, one of the favorites of mineral collectors, is widespread in the State. Large quantities have been sold for cutting as gems; the largest crystals of gem-quality topaz ever found in North America - some of them weighing as much as 5 pounds - have come from Colorado....The best known sources of gem-quality topaz are in the general vicinity of Pikes Peak....Although topaz has been found in many places within a semicircle of 30 miles radius that centers at or near Manitou Springs, most of the best finds have been made at 1 of 3 general localities - Devils Head Mountain, Douglas County; Crystal Park, El Paso County; and Crystal Peak (Florissant), teller County. (pp )

14 §Feldspar species MICROCLINE - KAlSi 2 O 8 The triclinic potassium feldspar microcline is probably almost as widespread and abundant as orthoclase, the monoclinic species. Intergrowths of microcline and albite, called perthite or microperthite, are also very abundant....One of the most productive localities for gem amazonstone is that of Crystal Park. The crystals, with smoky and clear quartz and some topaz and phenakite, line miarolitic cavities in pegmatites. The well-developed amazonstone crystals range from a fraction of an inch to 3 or 4 inches square. The color ranges from gray to bright green and is often richer in one part of a crystal than another. (Koenig, 1876; Whitman Cross and Hillebrand, 1882c; 1885; Sterrett, 1909; Pearl, 1958) (pp ) §QUARTZ - SiO 2 Quartz in all its varieties is by far the most common mineral in the State. It is an essential mineral in many igneous and metamorphic rocks and is present in smaller quantities in others. It is the most abundant gangue mineral in most ore deposits and is the chief constituent of all sandstones and quartzites and present in greater or less amount in most other sedimentary rocks. Finally it is the chief mineral in sand and gravel deposits and is also present in most soils. (p. 275) §GOLD? An old hermit camped at the top of the hill for many summers, digging a shaft in search of gold that was never found. In the February 10, 1952 issue of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, an article entitled "Crystal Park, Pioneer Resort, Once Scene of 'Gold Rush'" reported that sometime after 1915 there was "a gold excitement in Crystal Park and for a brief season, claims were staked there..." More careful examination and assays soon proved the feverish claims worthless. In the late 60s-early 70s, a section of the park, in the lower elevations, was leased to the City of Colorado Springs to mine gravel for road construction. No other extensive mining has occurred in the area. MINERAL DESCRIPTIONS (4)

15 THE FOREST §Forest map of Crystal Park showing the distribution of pine, fir, aspen and oak - and extent of mistletoe infestation. (by L. Lankford, 1972)

16 NATURAL CHANGES §Aspen grove on the northeast flank of Cameron's Cone where a wild forest fire cleared an area within the pine-fir forest. Chinook winds toppled hundreds of trees along Palmer Trail in 1997.

17 THE COMMUNITY §Beginning construction on the "old cabin" in Changes to the landscape were kept to a minimum to preserve the natural environment. §The Old Cabin enjoyed for many years… and recently renovated by full-time residents. Hundreds of beautiful mountain homes now dot the slopes of Crystal Park.

18 THE CITY §The city of Colorado Springs continues to grow. This photograph was taken along Palmer Trail, within Crystal Park. §The lights of Colorado Springs in Photograph taken by Joe C. Nix during his military duty at Ft. Carson from the Will Rogers Shrine, Cheyenne Mountain (just south of Crystal Park with similar orientation).

19 THE FUTURE §Members of the Crystal Park Development Company, planning the future in the late 1950s. (My grandfather is at the far right.)

20 In the Clouds Rocky Mountains, Colorado September 9, 1883 "... Nicolay and I are in camp in a most beautiful and rugged eyrie 9000 feet high, sometimes called Crystal Park, not far from Manitou Springs, which is our P.O. address. If you were here, - but someday you will come. --I am looking for a place to build a hut, which I hope you will share with me. The bigness of the beauty of the place is something I am not able to describe and shall not try. I came away from Cleveland pretty wretched and am already a good deal better. I will come earlier next year and stay longer. I expect to be here at least a fortnight more... Thayer, William Roscoe. The Life and Letters of John Hay. Vol. 1, p Houghton Mifflin Company. October, 1915.


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