Chrysotile and amphibole asbestos (such as tremolite) occur naturally in certain geologic settings in California, most commonly in association with ultramafic rocks and along associated faults. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and inhalation of asbestos may result in the development of lung cancer or mesothelioma. The asbestos contents of many manufactured products have been regulated in the U.S. for a number of years. For example, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has regulated the amount of asbestos in crushed serpentinite used in surfacing applications, such as for gravel on unpaved roads, since 1990. In 1998 new concerns were raised about possible health hazards from activities that disturb rocks and soil containing asbestos and may result in the generation of asbestos laden dust. These concerns recently lead to CARB to revise their asbestos limit for crushed serpentinite and ultramafic rock in surfacing applications from 5 percent to less than 0.25 percent, and to adopt a new rule requiring best practices dust control measures for activities that disturb rock and soil containing naturally occurring asbestos.
Asbestos - Tremolite-asbestos, California. Asbestos is a term used for a group of silicate minerals that occur as asbestiform fibers having high tensile strength, flexibility, and heat and chemical resistance. Tremolite is a hydrous calcium magnesium silicate with the chemical formula Ca2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2 . Tremolite can occur in a variety of crystal shapes and sometimes occurs as asbestiform fibers. Click on image for larger view.
The California Geological Survey (CGS) provides information on the geology of asbestos occurrences in California to a number of state, local and federal agencies, private industry, consultants and the public. CGS's recent projects related to asbestos include the following:
- Development of the informational document Guidelines for Geologic Investigations of Naturally Occurring Asbestos in California, to assist geologists conducting investigations related to naturally occurring asbestos.
- Assisting the U.S. Geological Survey with a research program to evaluate the feasibility of using AVRIS data for identifying areas containing naturally occurring asbestos (currently in progress).
- Development of a generalized map of areas more likely to contain asbestos in California.
- Undertaking a pilot mapping project to produce a map of areas more likely to contain asbestos for El Dorado County.
- Participation on the El Dorado County asbestos committee and contributing to that committee's White Paper and Final Report.
Asbestos Reports, Maps, and Guidelines for Geologic Investigations:
Reported Historic Asbestos Mines, Historic Asbestos Prospects, and other Natural Occurrences of Asbestos in California, Map Sheet 59.
Map Sheet 59 - Pamphlet (3 MB)
Map Sheet 59 - Plate (79 MB)
Death Valley Talc
Death Valley Talc
Relative Likelihood for the Presence of Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Eastern Sacramento County, California, Special Report 192
Relative Likelihood for the Presence of Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Placer County, California, Special Report 190
Preliminary Report on Using Imaging Spectroscopy to Map Ultramafic Rocks, Serpentinites, and Tremolite-Actinolite-Bearing Rocks in California - Geologic Hazards Investigation 2004-01
Guidelines for Geologic Investigations of Naturally Occurring Asbestos in California, Special Publication 124.
- A General Location Guide for Ultramafic Rocks in California - Areas More Likely to Contain Naturally Occurring Asbestos, 2000, Map scale 1:1,100,000, Open-File Report 2000-19.
- Areas More Likely to Contain Natural Occurrences of Asbestos in Western El Dorado County, California, 2000, Open File Report 2000-02.
For Additional Asbestos Information See These Related Links: