At the Newmont Gold Mining Visitor Center in Cripple Creek (B.P.O.E. Elks Building), you can learn how two volcanoes, only 10 miles apart, resulted in two very different outcomes. See fossils, rocks, exhibits and more in addition to activities for kids and door prizes!
Two Volcanoes – Different Outcomes
Two volcanoes – one in Guffey, one in Cripple Creek, only 10 miles apart, but with vastly different results. 34 million years ago, fine ash and volcanic mudflows erupting from the Guffey volcano created Lake Florissant and entombed insects, plants and trees to be discovered and examined in the 1870s by geologic and scientific expeditions. While 10 miles away, superheated water deposited gold from deep within the earth’s volcanic matrix into the Cripple Creek area that would result in the creation of millionaires, and mining for over a hundred years.
Today, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant, CO, showcases and preserves a collection of over 50,000 specimens that represent over 1,700 different species of animals and plants. The landscape of the park tells the story of ancient redwood forests, volcanic eruptions, and a climate that benefitted temperate and subtropical plants. Scientists are still researching the fascinating finds being revealed by the ancient shale.
Gold mining in the Cripple Creek District has been continuous since 1891, and has the possibility of many more years of production. Confined within the diatreme, or volcanic crater, the gold of the District once supported over 534 mines and made men rich. This seven-square-mile area is now one large gold mine, Newmont, that supports employees and communities, and preserves the area’s mining history. Tourists come to marvel at the process of extracting gold from the volcanic rock, and geologists come to study the unique formation.
During the Ice Festival weekends, February 11 & 12 and 18 & 19, the Friends of the Florissant Fossil Beds will join with Newmont to show you how these two nearby volcanoes brought about such divergent events. See fossils and rocks and other exhibits, and hear stories of how our past turmoil brought about great scientific discoveries and golden futures.
Call (719) 689-2341 or (719) 689-4052 for more information.