Minerals of the Balmat-Edwards Mining District

The Balmat-Edwards mining district ranks as a world-class zinc and talc deposit and is located in the Adirondack Lowlands of St. Lawrence County. The first talc company in America was founded here at Balmat in 1876 and zinc production began in 1915 near the village of Edwards. The occurrence of zinc ore in the district was first noted by Ebenezer Emmons of the New York State Geological Survey in 1838 at Balmat, but large scale mining operations didn't commence there until 1927. Zinc ore has been mined from the surface down to a depth of 3900 feet and during the 20th century over 40 million tons of zinc ore were produced.

The dominant geological structure in the area is the Sylvia Lake Syncline, with all the ore bodies on the southern limb of its fold. The host lithologies of the mineralization include dolomitic marble, quartzite, diopside, and anhydrite beds all of which were deformed during the Grenville Orogeny. The anhydrite beds are unusual in that they represent some of the oldest evaporate deposits on Earth.

The minerals on display in this case were recovered during the various mining operations and are preserved here at the New York State Museum.

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