Marble in Virginia

a broken tombstone reveals how white marble can develop a dark patina from soot, acid rain, and lichen
a broken tombstone reveals how white marble can develop a dark patina from soot, acid rain, and lichen

Formations including marble in Virginia date back to the Cambrian Period and Proterozoic Eon. Quarries in the Candler and Allligator Back formations have produced marble for commercial use, including grinding it up to make agricultural lime. Rock locally called "marble" has been produced in Loudoun, Nelson, Buckingham, Campbell, Appomatox1

Marble used in fancy buildings in Virginia has been imported from other states or overseas. The marble used in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery came from the Colorado Yule Marble quarry, west of Aspen. Replacement stone was quarried in 2003 to replace cracked stones in the tomb.2

After the British burned the US Capitol building in 1814, architect Benjamin Latrobe used the conglomerate for columns in the reconstructed chamber for the House of Representatives. That Old House Chamber room is now the National Statuary Hall. Latrobe obtained his building material from a quarry on the Maryland side of the Potomac River, about two miles upstream from White's Ferry.

The Potomac marble was quarried in Loudoun County for use as agricultural lime.3

Benjamin Latrobe chose Potomac marble for columns in the House of Representatives, when rebuilding the US Capitol
Benjamin Latrobe chose "Potomac marble" for columns in the House of Representatives, when rebuilding the US Capitol
Source: National Gallery of Art, The House of Representatives (by Samuel F. B. Morse, 1822)

Links

marble has been quarried commercially in Virginia, on the east flank of the Blue Ridge
"marble" has been quarried commercially in Virginia, on the east flank of the Blue Ridge
Source: US Geological Survey, Mineral Resources Data System

References

1. "Geologic units containing Marble," US Geological Survey, https://mrdata.usgs.gov/geology/state/sgmc-lith.php?text=marble; "Mineral Resources Data System," US Geological Survey, https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/map-commodity.html (last checked February 6, 2020)
2. Victor G. Mossotti, "Comments on the Yule Marble Haines block: potential replacement, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery," US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013-1182, 2014, https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20131182 (last checked February 6, 2020)
3. Paul Kreingold, "Benjamin Latrobe’s Potomac Marble Quarries," C&O Canal Association, December 19, 2019, http://candocanal.org/histdocs/potomac-marble.html; "National Statuary Hall," Architect of the Capitol, https://www.aoc.gov/capitol-buildings/national-statuary-hall (last checked February 6, 2020)


Minerals of Virginia
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