Pebble count data from Quaternary gravel deposits north of Denver, Colo., were analyzed by multivariate statistical methods to identify lithologic factors that might affect aggregate quality. The pebble count data used in this analysis were taken from the map by Colton and Fitch (1974) and are supplemented by data reported by the Front Range Infrastructure Resources Project. This report provides data tables and results of the statistical analysis. The multivariate statistical analysis used here consists of log-contrast principal components analysis (method of Reyment and Savazzi, 1999) followed by rotation of principal components and factor interpretation. Three lithologic factors that might affect aggregate quality were identified: 1) granite and gneiss versus pegmatite, 2) quartz + quartzite versus total volcanic rocks, and 3) total sedimentary rocks (mainly sandstone) versus granite. Factor 1 (grain size of igneous and metamorphic rocks) may represent destruction during weathering and transport or varying proportions of rocks in source areas. Factor 2 (resistant source rocks) represents the dispersion shadow of metaquartzite detritus, perhaps enhanced by resistance of quartz and quartzite during weathering and transport. Factor 3 (proximity to sandstone source) represents dilution of gravel by soft sedimentary rocks (mainly sandstone), which are exposed mainly in hogbacks near the mountain front. Factor 1 probably does not affect aggregate quality. Factor 2 would be expected to enhance aggregate quality as measured by the Los Angeles degradation test. Factor 3 may diminish aggregate quality.
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USGS Numbered Series
Lithology of gravel deposits of the Front Range urban corridor, Colorado: data and multivariate statistical analysis