ABSTRACT

The San Francisco Bay Area is underlain by bedrock of the Franciscan Assemblage, which outcrops in numerous places. A significant portion of these outcrops consists of rock types that contain both regulated and unregulated asbestiform minerals, including ultra-mafic serpentinites, various greenstones, amphibolites, blueschist, and other schists (talc-tremolite, actinolite, etc.). These rocks are a legacy of tectonic activity that occurred on the west coast margin of the North American plate ∼65–150 MY ago during subduction of the East Pacific and Farallon plates. The Calaveras Dam Replacement Project (CDRP), located in Fremont, California, is an example of an area within the Franciscan Assemblage that is substantially underlain by metamorphosed oceanic sedimentary, mafic, and ultra-mafic rocks in a tectonic subduction zone mélange with highly disrupted relationships between adjoining rock bodies with different pressure/temperature metamorphic histories. In order to protect the health of workers and residents in the surrounding area, an extensive effort was taken to identify, categorize, and monitor the types, locations, and concentrations of naturally occurring asbestos at the site. Using a combination of geologic field observations and transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray, and selected area electron diffraction analysis of airborne particulate and rock/soil samples, the CDRP was discovered to contain chrysotile-bearing serpentine. It also had as a range of amphibole-containing rocks, including blueschist, amphibolite schist, and eclogite, with at least 19 different regulated and non-regulated fibrous amphibole minerals identified. The extensive solid solution behavior of the amphiboles makes definitive identification difficult, though a scheme was created that allowed asbestos mineral fingerprinting of various areas of the project site.

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