The Calhan Paint Mines is a truly remarkable location. It combines astonishing geological formations with a dazzling array of naturally occurring colors.
The place is popular as an impressive archaeological site as well. In fact, evidence indicates that ancient Native Americans utilized it as much as 9,000 years ago.
This incredible site is located near the town of Calhan, in El Paso County, Colorado, United States, hence the name.
The National Park Service, as part of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, protects and patrols the mines.
Calhan Paint Mines Geological Distinctiveness
Perhaps the most visually striking feature within the mines is the extraordinary array of differently colored clays available there, primarily composed of selenite.
The area contains numerous hoodoos and sandstone spires as well. Also available within the limited confines of the Calhan Paint Mines is an incredible variety of environments. Those include prairie, grasslands, badlands, and even wetlands – all in one place.
The area comprising the Calhan Paint Mines covers an area of 750 acres (303.5 hectares).
Calhan Paint Mines Multifaceted Importance
As if the incredible geology of the mines was not enough to get one’s attention, it is also a really rich source of history and environmental importance.
For example, Native Americans used the site for thousands of years as a source of paint and pottery, leaving behind numerous artifacts.
The protected status of the Calhan Paint Mines also provides a safe haven for multiple animal species, many of whom are threatened. These include mule deer, coyotes, horned toads, a variety of songbirds, falcons, and hawks.
Last of all, the site is officially an outdoor geological lab for students and scientists.
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