Where Is Gilsonite Found?

where gilsonite is found

Gilsonite, uintaite, or natural asphalt is a renowned hydrocarbon found in nature, possessing characteristic qualities like a brittle and shiny texture similar to natural asph alt or uintaite. Appearing in different sectors such as construction, paint, and oil, this element has captured the attention of many. Its intriguing geological source is a subject of great interest, a story that is about to be unraveled. Uncovering the underlying foundation of where Gilsonite mine is, examining its unique properties, and analyzing its multiple uses allow us to bring to light the essentiality of this valuable element.  

gilsonite mine

Where Is Gilsonite Found?

Uintaite is a rare and highly sought-after mineral found in various parts of the world, including the United States, Iran, and Turkey. However, the largest and most bountiful uintaite deposits exist in the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah. A vast sedimentary basin that stretches 100 miles in length and 50 miles in width, the Uinta Basin was formed millions of years ago, during the Eocene Epoch. 

At that time, the area was covered by a shallow sea where organic matter such as algae and plankton settled on the ocean bed. Over centuries, the organic material was compressed by layers of sediment, heat, and pressure thus creating uintaite.

The formation, known as the Green River Formation, is composed of various sedimentary rocks such as shale, sandstone, and limestone, and the uintaite deposits are found in the upper part of it, usually in association with natural oil shale. 

In Turkey, Gilsonite is known under the name of “Turkish Asphalt” and its deposits are located on the Anatolian Plateau, a large plateau situated in the center of the country.

How Is Gilsonite Mined?

Mining Gilsonite from Gilsonite mines is a complex and intricate process. It can be done subterraneously, by drilling and inserting explosives into the ground to release the ore, or by open-pit mining, by removing the soil and rock that cover the deposit. 

Depending on the size and depth of the deposit, the method of mining may vary. Though the extraction of uintaite can be beneficial, it can also bring negative environmental impacts, such as soil erosion, water pollution, and disruption of habitats. 

Thus, it is important for mining companies to take proper action to address these issues, like implementing erosion control measures and restoring habitats post-extraction.

gilsonite mine in Iran

Gilsonite Mine in Iran 

The naturally occurring hydrocarbon, uintaite, can be found in a variety of parts of the world, including stunning Iran. Discovered in the Alborz and Zagros Mountains, respectively in the north and south of Iran, these Gilsonite mines are estimated to have formed approximately 65 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. 

Although the deposits can be found within sedimentary rocks, they are usually associated with oil shale. 

Open-pit mining methods are commonly used to extract uintaite in the region, which involves the removal of the top layer of soil and rock in order to gain access to the deposit. Heavy machinery is then used to extract it and transported it to a processing plant, where it is crushed and screened to remove impurities. 

After that, it is packed for shipping to customers, making Iran one of the world’s largest Gilsonite producers, with the majority of its production being exported to China, India, and Turkey. These materials have an array of uses, such as construction, painting, and oil, due to their unique physical and chemical properties.


Uintaite, a valuable natural resource with unique physical and chemical properties, is found in various parts of the world. With its continued rise in demand, understanding where uintaite is found and how it is mined is essential for anyone who works or uses this remarkable resource. As such, the Gilsonite mines in Iran are immensely significant and have hence been given due recognition for their importance in supplying a noteworthy amount of the material.

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