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Minerals, Stones, Gems
TourArmenia

Armenia is particularly rich with high-grade stone, and from earliest of times it was used to construct temples, cyclopic walls, palaces, homes, churches, even to pave the streets of its Greco-Roman cities. Armenia holds some 3 billion cubic meters of tuf, an easily cut yet resilient material, and most buildings from the early Christian period forward are made from the orange, red, gold and black varieties of tuf.  Other stone in the country include basalt, granite, marble, limestone, perlite, andestie, perlite, limestone, agate, pumice and gypsum.

Also cooked up in the country were iron, polymetals, aluminum, molibden, tungsten, diatomite, gold, silver, copper, tin, mercury, barium, sulfur, bentonite, sodium chloride, among other minerals.

Semi-precious  and precious stones found in Armenia include obsidian, amethyst, andesite, andelusite,  emerald, garnet, beryl, turquoise, several grades of quartz, carnelian, aquamarine, lapis lazuli and diamonds. Specific stone, minerals and gems found in each region are listed below.

Shirak: The bulk of Armenia's marble, limestone, perlite, pumice and tuf is mined in Shirak Region, as well as granite. Minerals found in Shirak include mercury, barium, copper, tin, silver and coal. Gems include amethyst, obsidian, quartz, carnelian, garnet, beryl, turquoise, aquamarine, lapis lazuli and diamonds.

Lori and Tavush both have large deposits of limestone, marble and granite, along with a mixture of tuf, perlite, pumice and diatomite. Minerals include the entire range found in Ararat (gold, silver, tin, molibden, tungsten, mercury, sulfur, sodium chloride and barium), but it is not exploited on a large scale. The bulk of Armenia's copper is mined in Lori District, along with polymetal. Gems found in teh region include agate, diamonds, emeralds, quartz, carnelian, turquoise and lapis lazuli. Geologists believe that the region may prove to be the richest in the country.

Aragats is a dormant volcano, and as such contains large concentrations of volcanic rock (tuf, pumice, perlite) as well as basalt, gypsum, pumice, andesite, limestone, marble, granite. Minerals include quartz, agate, obsidian, silver and copper. Kotaik has large deposits of peat, perlite, basalt, gypsum, pumice, andesite, limestone, marble, granite. Metals include iron, while minerals include quartz, agate, obsidian, silver and copper. There is a working gold mine near Hankavan (alas, visitors not allowed).

Ararat Valley contains large concentrations of volcanic rock (tuf, pumice, perlite) as well as basalt, gypsum, andesite, limestone, marble and granite. Minerals include quartz, agate, obsidian, silver and copper. Minerals and gems include obsidian, amethyst, andesine, andelusite, emerald, garnet, beryl, turquoise, several grades of quartz, carnelian, aquamarine and lapis lazuli

Gegharkunik- Sevan: The mountains are formed from lava rocks like basalt, perlite and limestone, while tectonic plate compression created marble, and granite. Minerals and soil include clay, peat, molibden, gold, copper and silver, while gems include diamonds. Since most of the region is protected, very few mines are in operation (or admitted to be operating), the most notable exception being the gold mine at Sodk.

Vayots Dzor’s natural resources are relatively unexplored, though the area holds large deposits of iron, copper, silver, tin, marble, granite, tuf, perlite, basalt, andesite, obsidian, quartz, barium, sulfur, Sodium chloride, clay, aluminum ore and limestone. It is believed that Vayots Dzor was the location of gold, turquoise, diamond and lapis lazuli mines during the Bronze Age, along with other precious jewels, but if this is true, the mines have not been found in the modern age.

Siunik: High quality marble is mined just north of Sissian, along with limestone, tuf, basalt and granite. Goris includes the same, adding iron and diatomite. Kapan and Meghri hold vast quantities of granite, aluminum, polymetal, molibden, tungsten, perlite, and limestone, along with tuf and basalt. Minerals found throughout Siunik include molibden, obsidian, quartz, barium, sulfur, Mercury, Barium, Sodium Chloride, gold, diamonds, copper, tin, silver and high-quality ceramic clay. Especially in Goris and Kapan there may be large deposits of precious gems (quarts, amethyst, carnelian, aquamarine, lapis lazuli and diamonds), but they are not currently being mined.




LINKS

Images (photos by Tigran Nazarian)

Eco Agrotourism in South Caucaus (excellent maps)
Ecotourism.com
EcoTeam Development
Armenian Flora/Fauna Stamps

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Climate Change Info Center-Armenia
ERMC
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia
Protected Areas of Armenia
Map of Sevan National Park

INDIVIDUAL REPORTS
Threatened Species in Armenia
State of Environment Report 2000 (UN)

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