Next, if your Mapsco is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one. If in Denton County and your Mapsco is one-day-old, then it is already obsolete.

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With more than 400 illustrations, and detailed maps, this immense and deeply researched account of the history of chess covers not only the Persian and Arab game familiar to most Westerners for the past 500 years, but also variants going back 1500 years that are still being played in some parts of the world. The evolution of strategic board games, especially in India, China and Japan, is discussed in detail.


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The effects of post-Laramide uplift aren't hard to spot. With 50+ peaks above 14,000', the Colorado Rockies boast the highest average regional elevation of any place in North America, Alaska included. They owe much of their extraordinary height to a huge and still rising dome-shaped post-Laramide uplift centered over the intersection of the Colorado Mineral Belt and the Rio Grande Rift near Leadville. I like to think of this mother of all post-Laramide uplifts as the Big Dome, but you won't find that term in the literature. As the map at right shows, most of the state's Fourteeners cluster around Leadville, and all of Colorado's major rivers (in clockwise order from north, the North Platte, Laramie, South Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande, San Juan, Gunnison, Colorado, White and Yampa) flow off the dome in a radial drainage pattern of grand proportions.


Laramide fault slips were partitioned among thrust, reverse, oblique and strike-slip motions according to the orientations of the old faults to the Laramide's ENE-trending horizontal regional compression, but low-angle thrust faulting generally prevailed near the surface while high-angle reverse faulting predominated at depth. As reverse motions approached the top of the basement, they appear to have abandoned the steep old rift faults to cut new lower-angle, mechanically-favored short-cut thrusts in some cases.

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The process of squeezing up basement and cover from deep in old rifts along reactivated normal faults is known as rift inversion. Examples of varying ages can be found all over the world, but some of the most striking are right here in our own back yard. The magnificent Laramide Uinta Uplift immediately comes to mind.

To understand how normal faults can reactivate in reverse, one must first understand their geometry and thermomechanical habitat. Few normal faults are truly planar. Most are concave upward instead—near-vertical at the surface, where the initial failure is mainly tensile, but increasingly horizontal at depth, where shear takes over as the rock becomes more ductile. For mechanical reasons, normal faults reaching the crust's brittle-ductile transition (usually around 10 km below the surface) tend to cross it at an angle near 45°.


Divergence along the Pacific-North American boundary has been driving Basin and Range epierogenic uplift and extension since at least 29 Ma. Recall that the Basin and Range stretched to the west by over 100% during the mid-Tertiary alone. Coeval gravitational collapse of the Basin and Range further drives its extension with mixed effects on regional uplift there.

Along the RGR, heat escapes the earth at a much higher rate than in typical intracontinental settings. A broad welt of uplift precedes the RGR's northern cutting tip and continues to rise along the shoulders of the rift well after the tip passes. These features are common among continental rifts the world over.


Geological Survey (USGS) has been the primary civilian mapping agency of the United States since 1879. The best known USGS maps are the 1:24,000-scale topographic maps, also known as 7/5-minute quadrangles.

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It would seem unlikely that asthenospheric upwellings related to the Farallon rollback would continue much beyond the die-out of Basin and Range magmatism at 21 Ma, but abnormal upper mantle does appear to be present under central Colorado today, roughly beneath the Big Dome and the Rio Grande rift. Tomographic imaging sees this so-called Aspen anomaly as a large blob-like region of anomalously low shear wave velocities presumably reflecting higher than normal temperatures and greater than normal buoyancy.


As the Cenozoic Era opened in Colorado at 65 Ma (23:39 h), Laramide uplifts had already dominated the regional topography. Syntectonic sediments were piling up around the uplifts throughout the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau.

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Throughout Colorado from sometime before 1/1 Ga to the Late Cambrian (~510 Ma). This profound gap in Colorado's geologic record is known as the Great Unconformity. Where Early Cambrian sediments like the Sawatch Formation rest on the Precambrian erosion surface, the gap can cover as little as 600 Ma, but in many places, it's much wider. At Red Rocks Park near Denver, the gap spans 1/4 Ga where coarse ~300 Ma basal Fountain conglomerates rest unconformably on 1/7 Ga gneiss.



Between Late Cambrian and Early Pennsylvanian time (510-300 Ma), shallow tropical epicontinental seas washed over Colorado Precambrian basement denuded during the Great Unconformity. For the next 210 Ma (1:07 h), flat-lying marine shelf sediments would accumulate to depths of 1/8-3/6 km (6,000-12,000') with few interruptions throughout the region.

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In the topographic map and top aerial photo at right, the originally reported butte collapse ring sits immediately southwest of Larkspur Butte. The bottom photo shows a smaller ring with particularly large talus flatirons and a northwest-directed fan immediately north of Rattlesnake Butte. Just east of this 2nd ring may be yet another, larger and more deeply eroded with a west-directed fan, but preliminary field investigations there have proved equivocal so far.


In western Colorado, the layers in the sandstone-shale-sandstone Cretaceous sandwich are fairly straightforward. The Early Cretaceous sands recording the marine transgression are known as the Dakota Sandstone.

Above 8,000', particularly exuberant stream incision set the stage for the glaciations to come. The glaciers would take the exhumational ball and run with it, but much of the work had already been done.


At the conclusion of Laramide deformation at ~40 Ma, the East Pacific Rise, the Farallon plate's ridge of origin, was about to be subducted along the west coast of the United States. The intervening and then subducting portions of the Farallon plate must have been young, hot and relatively buoyant from that time on, but some degree of normal-angle subduction appears to have resumed along the West Coast. Renewed hinge rollback put a broad, diffuse backarc region into extension once again. The earliest Basin and Range extensions date back to this time.

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The Northern and Southern Yavapai Provinces account for nearly all the 1/7 Ga basement rocks found in Colorado. The Mazatzal Province now floors much of New Mexico, but its docking was clearly felt in Colorado, as evidenced by 1/65 Ga deformations recorded in the older Yavapai basement.

Basement rocks and faults loom large here, controlling topography, sedimentation and even subsequent tectonics. Since at least the time of the Ancestral Rockies, reactivated basement-penetrating reverse and thrust faults of Proterozoic rifting ancestry have dominated the mountain-building style throughout the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau. These faults have typically uplifted large blocks cored with hard Precambrian crystalline rocks and have folded and occasionally even broken the overlying sedimentary cover. Thus, flat-topped highlands seldom showing more than 15° of tilt came to be the dominant large-scale landforms, not just in the tablelands of the Colorado Plateau, but even in the highest parts of the Rockies. Faulted sedimentary monoclines showing substantial and opposing dips typically flanked the uplifts.


Around 40 Ma, Laramide deformation ceased and an odd pattern of intense post-Laramide magmatism including the devastating ignimbrite flare-up ensued within and west of the Laramide orogen. These events are widely interpreted as manifestations of the break-up and falling away of the subhorizontal Farallon slab, an event referred to as the Farallon rollback. The highly correlated temporal and spatial pattern of post-Laramide magmatic fronts across the West suggests to some that a large section of the Farallon plate beneath the Basin and Range also folded up along an east-west axis as it sank. Whatever the details, the rollback once again allowed asthenosphere to come into direct contact with the base of the North American plate after tens of millions of years of shielding by the Farallon slab. The influx of hot, buoyant asthenosphere presumably generated the melts fueling post-Laramide magmatism and may also have kicked off the broad regional uplift that followed.

Old rift faults can thus give expression to regional stresses that might be unable to break intact rock. That was exactly the setup that allowed the relatively weak intracontinental stresses of the Ancestral Rocky Mountain and Laramide Orogenies to generate the uplift, folding and faulting evident in Colorado's current topography and in her geologic record. Don't forget, these deep intracontinental deformations were the fallout of plate interactions playing out over 1,000 km to the south and west, respectively.


Over the last 29 Ma, the nearest plate boundary, the Pacific-North American, has been at least 1,100 km away from the central Rockies. All other North American plate boundaries have been far too distant to have had any credible influence here.

Intracontinental rifting accompanied these events. Far-field stresses related to transpression (combined transform and convergent plate motions) at the distant plate boundary also produced differential uplift of basement blocks throughout Colorado. This protracted event lasted 100 Ma, ending around 1/35 Ga (16:48 h).


With over 50 million modern human lifetimes elapsed since the planet formed around 4/5 Ga, geologic or deep time is, to say the least, difficult to grasp. But the effort pays, for with a feel for deep time comes a sense of its great power: Given enough time, almost anything energetically possible can happen—even at very large scales. And so it goes with the bending of seemingly rigid rocks, the cutting of majestic canyons, the raising and erasing of entire mountain ranges, the opening and closing of globe-girdling oceans, and the incessant splitting and regrouping of the dancing continents.

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The Cheyenne Belt, the 1/78 Ga suture between the Green Mountain arc and the Archean Wyoming Province craton, barely grazes the NW corner of Colorado. Just to its south, the 1/75 Ga Farwell Mountain-Lester Mountain shear zones mark the suture between the Rawah block and Green Mountain arc. The Homestake shear zone of the northern Sawatch Range may overlie the suture between the Rawah block (part of the Northern Yavapai Province) and the Southern Yavapai Province. The Colorado Mineral Belt roughly follows the same suture, but its association with Early Proterozoic sutures remains controversial. The volcanically active Jemez Lineament of northern New Mexico gives surface expression to the 1/65 Ga suture between the Southern Yavapai and Mazatzal Provinces.

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In the Late Cretaceous (85-65 Ma, 23:33-23:39 h), as western Utah continued to rise with the last of the Sevier uplifts, the seas retreated eastward across Colorado state, leaving another but this time regressive layer of beach and barrier island sands in their wake. The resulting thick sandstone-shale-sandstone sandwich marks the Cretaceous throughout Colorado, but the formation names differ a bit from west to east.


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By the end of Early Pennsylvanian time (~300 Ma), Colorado had taken up an equatorial position and a climate to match and had acquired a fairly simple structure: A thick blanket of flat-lying Paleozoic sediments covered a planed-off jumble of differentially uplifted Precambrian basement blocks. But in the Middle Pennsylvanian, continent-continent collisions completing the assembly of the supercontinent Pangea (top right) well to the south would soon change all that.

A competing "end-loading" model denies inboard coupling in favor of the lateral transmission of compressive stresses from the West Coast subduction zone to the Laramide orogen via the North American lithosphere. Proponents of this model cite the occurrence of young (<5 Ma) volcanics derived from lithospheric mantle all across the western United States as proof that the lithospheric mantle has not been eroded away by direct contact with the Farallon plate during the Laramide. They conclude from that that significant mechanical coupling between the Farallon and the overlying North American plate occurred only at the subduction zone. This model ignores the possibility of a non-erosive viscous coupling mediated by chilled asthenosphere and seems mechanically untenable for a number of other reasons, chief among which is the lack of Laramide-age deformation in the forearc sediments deposited in California's Great Valley Sequence. End-loading of the North American plate sufficient to rumple up the Rockies would surely have rumpled these sediments as well.


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The older Wasatch Formation was deposited as a mix of fine-grained fluvial and alluvial sands and silts, mostly syntectonic, across a broad western lowland now known as the Piceance Basin (pronounced "pee-on'-see", not "piss ants"). Up to 1/5 km thick, the Wasatch rests conformably on the Late Cretaceous Mesaverde Group.


Topographically speaking, a park is a flat-floored valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. In the Rockies, the larger parks are often faulted synclines (downwarps with younger strata bent toward each other) of Laramide origin. Colorado's four major parks include North, Middle and South Parks and the San Luis Valley. North, Middle and South Parks stand low because, for some reason, the Laramide uplifts left them behind while everything around them went up. The broad San Luis Valley, on the other hand, owes its low elevation to its status as the widest part of the Rio Grande Rift.

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The greens come from the clay minerals themselves, from pyrite and from iron silicate cements indicating bog-like reducing conditions at the time of deposition. Iron oxide cements provide all the other Morrison colors. Minor discontinuous lakebed limestones embedded in the Morrison also tell of a poorly-drained landscape dotted with lakes. The vast low-lying flood plain surrounding the Gulf of Mexico today is an analogous depositional environment.

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On the Geologic Highway Map of Colorado, Tertiary intrusions carry symbols "Tmi" and "Tui" and appear in shades of hot pink; Tertiary volcanics are marked "Tov" and "Tuv" and appear in brown and orange, respectively. To find the Colorado Mineral Belt, follow the discontinuous diagonal band of dark maroon Laramide intrusions marked "Tki" and hot pink mid-Tertiary intrusions marked "Tmi" from Four Corners to Boulder.

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Causes for post-Laramide epierogenic uplift and extension in the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau remain obscure—in part because it's a chicken-and-egg question, but also because the mantle's still very difficult to observe. We won't be able to tease out which came first, extension or uplift, but it's important to recognize all the positive feedback loops involved. No less than four processes are involved.


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Note: While everyone seems to agree that the Chinle is Triassic, the exact ages of the Glen Canyon Group (the Wingate, the Kayenta and the overlying Navajo Sandstone) remain controversial. The Glen Canyon Group is largely devoid of fossils, and there are no coeval igneous rocks (for radioisotope dating) anywhere in the region. The ages assigned here follow USGS convention after Taylor, but others assign the Wingate and the Kayenta to the Early Jurassic.


The small Gorda and Juan de Fuca plates now subducting off Washington and Oregon and the Cocos and Rivera plates now subducting off Central America are nearly-consumed remnants of the Farallon plate. The ridges associated with them are EPR remnants.

Mid-Tertiary magmatic inflation, mid- and Late Tertiary regional uplift and extension and an increasingly wetter climate together reinvigorated the many streams meandering across low-relief uplands throughout the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau. By most accounts, regional uplift and climate changes aligned to kick stream incision into high gear around 10 Ma (23:57 h). By 6 Ma, Rocky Mountain streams were on average removing more material from their beds than they received from upstream.


Topographic maps originally published as paper documents between 1884-2006 have been scanned and published as the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection. Download our historical topographic maps and our more current US Topo maps (published 2009-present) free of charge using TopoView (GeoPDF, GeoTIFF, JPEG, and KMZ formats) or using the.

Geologists use the term basement to refer to the igneous and metamorphic rocks between any sedimentary cover that might be present and the Moho, the boundary at the bottom of the crust. Colorado's oldest exposed rocks are hard, resistant granites and metamorphic rocks added to the continent in the protracted Colorado Orogeny lasting from 1/78-1/65 Ga (14:30-15:12 h), and these make up most of the basement in Colorado today. Many of them may be closer to 1/8 Ga in true age, but their radiometric signatures date instead from their alteration in and around the Early Proterozoic suture zones ca. 1/7 Ga. Later orogenies would add voluminous 1/4 Ga and rare 1/1 Ga Middle Proterozoic granites to complete Colorado's basement.


A serious fall in later years is often the event that may begin the loss of independence. People who do Tai Chi and who do the Monkey Mountain story really do improve their balance and flexibility. They avoid or recover from near falls. They gain or regain their ability to walk or to enjoy exercise. Being able to move about with confidence encourages socialization and adds to the enjoyment of living. There is also a calming logic to the moves of Tai Chi and the Monkey Mountain story. The concentration required to learn and play the moves clears the mind and relieves stress. Tai Chi is sometimes called a moving meditation.

Geological Survey (USGS) are in the public domain and are not copyrighted except for the following three cases that apply only to US Topo maps (produced 2009-present): Most maps in the period 2021-2021 contain commercially licensed road data (see note below). Orthoimages in Alaska are commercially licensed.


Even with concomitant erosion, the nearby Colorado Plateau managed a net 6,000' elevation gain—much of it in the last 5 Ma alone. During the this time, the cohesive Colorado Plateau once again moved as a unit relative to the Rockies, this time to the northwest to accommodate the opening of the Rio Grand rift.

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At the onset of the Laramide around 72 Ma in Latest Cretaceous time, most of Colorado remained near sea level. The earth, considerably warmer than now, still lacked polar ice caps. A semi-tropical climate prevailed throughout Colorado, even though it already lay quite near its current latitude. Two major events would soon revise everything, however—the regional Laramide orogeny and the global K-T impact. Here, we'll focus on the sedimentary fallout attending Laramide mountain-building along the east flank of the Front Range.

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Indexes and 2 detail section maps on verso. Ancillary maps on verso: Dallas centeral area map - Fort Worth centeral area map.


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The Rio Grande Rift (RGR, right) is a young, large, active and regionally important tectonic feature splitting the Southern Rockies down the middle from New Mexico to southern Wyoming. This fast-moving continental rift first appeared in the geologic record in New Mexico at around 28-27 Ma, reached central Colorado by 26-25 Ma, left behind 10-8 Ma intrusions at the Colorado-Wyoming border and continues to cut northward through southern Wyoming today. The nascent RGR has yet to sunder the continent and produce oceanic crust in Red Sea fashion, but that day could well come. To what extent the RGR relate to extensional processes operating to the west is unclear.


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A monocline is a fold that dips in only one direction, at least locally. The trishear model nicely fits the style of monoclinal range-front folding observed along one or both sides of virtually every Laramide uplift. When monoclines of opposite dips flank a single faulted uplift, it's also accurate to speak of a faulted anticline, even though the paired monoclines may be separated by many miles.


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There are three ways to get full-scale plots of USGS topographic quadrangle maps, including both Historical Topographic maps (produced 1884-2006) and US Topo maps (produced 2009-present). Order a paper map from the USGS Store. Use the Store’s Map Locator to find the desired map. Download the GeoPDF map file and send it to a local printing.

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Historically, USGS topographic maps were made using data from primary sources including direct field observations. Those maps were compiled, drawn, and edited by hand. By today's standards, those traditional methods are very expensive and time-consuming, and the USGS no longer has funding to make maps that way. A new USGS topographic map series.

It is the Castle Rock conglomerate, not the older Wall Mountain tuff, that caps Castle Rock and most of the surrounding buttes and mesas in the east central Piedmont. At the lower photo at right, it forms the walls of scenic Castlewood Canyon south of Franktown. Note the lens of coarse cross-bedded conglomerate (a stream channel) wedged between two massive sandstone units.


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Parks typically shelter sedimentary and volcanic deposits long lost to erosion in the surrounding mountains. The Sawatch Formation has generally been eroded away all along the eastern flank of the Front Range, but the down-dropped ^Woodland Park half-graben just west of Colorado Springs preserves remnants. The Oligocene Thirtynine Mile volcanics preserved on the floor of South Park are another example.

Complicating the picture further is the isostatic response to erosion. The higher surface elevation rises due to tectonic uplift, the faster erosion removes mass. But as erosion removes Rocky Mountain mass to the High Plains, the Basin and Range and beyond, the rocks of the Rockies rise via isostatic rebound. By itself, rebound can't raise or even maintain average surface elevation against erosion on a regional scale, but in combination with ongoing tectonic uplift, it has no doubt slowed the regional loss of surface elevation due to erosion. Gravitational collapse (a form of extension) can also trigger isostatic rebound.


Feldspar-rich (arkose) Late Paleocene gravels, sands and muds spreading east over the Denver Basin from the Laramide range front make up the Dawson Arkose, named from outcrops on Dawson Butte ~7 miles south southwest of Castle Rock. The lower Dawson is stratigraphically equivalent to the Green Mountain conglomerate, but it accumulated farther out from the range front. Near Colorado Springs, white bluffs and hoodoos of upper Dawson Arkose clearly visible west of I-25 consist of debris weathered from Pikes Peak granite. The upper Dawson is so friable and easily eroded that, according to one local geologist, "it just melts away" once exposed.

Late Phase volcanism (25-5 Ma) blanketed the state with less violent basaltic lava flows. This final volcanic episode isn't well preserved, but Late Phase Pliocene basalts still cap Grand Mesa (upper right photo) and many ridges around Glenwood (lower right photo). Late Phase basalts also ring the margins of the Colorado Plateau.


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Shoulder uplifts are a universal feature among continental rifts, and the RGR is no exception. Riding high on the shoulders of the RGR are the Tenmile and Mosquito Ranges on the east and the Sawatch Range on west. Tenmile Creek and its impressive Tenmile Canyon appear to follow a northern extension of the Mosquito Fault, one of the major normal faults defining the east shoulder of the RGR in central Colorado, right through the heart of the once undivided Park-Gore-Tenmile-Mosquito basement uplift.

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The best story geoscience can muster for the Laramide is still in pieces as of late 2003, but I'll try to cobble together a reasonably coherent, defensible if not consensual saga in the next few subsections. Let's start with some observations no one disputes.


The Quaternary Period (1/8-0 Ma, 23:59:25 - 24:00:00 h) opened with the Pleistocene Epoch (1/8 - 10 Ka, 23:59:25 - 23:59:59/81 h), which coincided with the Ice Ages. The Holocene Epoch (10-0 Ka, 23:59:59/81 - 24:00:00 h) has been in effect ever since.

Limy muds covered the Late Cambrian sands as the tropical sea deepened through Ordovician time (490-443 Ma). Near Colorado Springs, outcrops of the Ordovician Manitou Formation (cherty limestones), Harding Sandstone and Fremont Dolomite leaning against the Rampart Range record this environment.


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Laramide uplifts began shedding sediments into intervening and peripheral basins as soon as they began to rise. The initial Laramide sands and gravels exposed in eastern Colorado record the initial rise of the Front Range — the first mountain-building to affect the region since the Ancestral Rocky Mountain orogeny. Late Oligocene and later sediments recorded the regional uplift commencing at 28 Ma and continuing to the present. These sediments include the Latest Cretaceous through Holocene formations listed below.

North of Leadville, the RGR lacks a discrete topographic expression, but geophysical studies show that its cutting edge has already crossed into southern Wyoming. Just east of the northern RGR trend, however, between the Gore and Front ranges, is the lower Blue River valley, a half-graben claimed to be the northernmost structural expression of the RGR. The much broader and more recently recognized Central Rockies Extensional Province (CREP) of northern Colorado and southern Wyoming may or may not be directly related to the RGR, but the extensional tectonics they share probably stem from the same processes.


Unlike the remainder of the Laramide orogen, the CP acts as a fairly rigid crustal unit. Relative to the Rockies, it moved north northeast over 100 km during the Laramide but rose and deformed less. Stresses related to it approach is likely responsible for the atypical east-west axis of the otherwise Laramide-like Uinta uplift in the upper left corner. The CP also rotated clockwise around a pole near its southeast corner during the Laramide; later it would rotate more. All these movements variously added left-lateral and right-lateral strike-slip components to the Laramide and later normal faults surrounding the CP.

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The structural importance of the Colorado Mineral Belt can't be overstated. It receives more thorough coverage in the discussion of post-Laramide magmatism below.

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Many other nagging Laramide questions could have been listed. Since the Laramide remains a topic of intense research among geoscientists from around the world, answers will no doubt be forthcoming, but many new questions are bound to come up along the way.


In eastern Colorado, Triassic muds accumulated in the upper Lykins Formation, which started in Late Permian time and now crops out extensively along the eastern margin of the Front Range. Minor marine limestone members embedded in the lower Lykins record two brief returns of the sea in the east. In the Denver area,  thin upturned white limestone strata decorate red Lykins slopes cropping out below Red Rocks Park west of the Dakota Hogback. Near Basalt, North of Aspen, massive Triassic redbeds sport Late Tertiary basalt caps right).

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The photo at right shows a small but typical segment of the east side of Colorado's Front Range at Red Rocks Park west of Denver. The Front Range is by far the largest of the Laramide uplifts, and the second highest as well. The abrupt mountain front of Precambrian crystalline rock and the pronounced tilting away of adjacent Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata are common Laramide uplift features. These initially flat-lying strata once covered the uplifted basement block in the distance but were largely lost to erosion during its ascent.


Today, the CMB appears as a string of heavily intruded and variably mineralized Proterozoic shear zones stretching more than half the diagonal of the state. Geophysically, it's characterized by a major gravity low, low crustal seismic velocities and high heat flow—all suggestive of anomalously hot upper mantle and lower crust below the lineament. Large hot magma bodies related to the Laramide and mid-Tertiary intrusions of the CMB may well still reside in its lower crust.

To a large extent, the Colorado Rockies and the Colorado Plateau have evolved together since 1/8 Ga or so, but since the onset of the Laramide Orogeny at around 72 Ma, the rigid, block-like Colorado Plateau has been something of a loose cannon. To complicate matters further, shared events have played out rather unevenly in the two provinces with somewhat disparate timing.


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Rift inversion appears to an important mechanism behind the highly dependable style of deformation seen throughout the Laramide orogen—basement-cored uplifts bound by thrusts that tend to die out in the sedimentary monoclines flanking the cores. Less well-developed inverted-rift uplifts dot the mid-continent as far as south as the Ouachitas and as far east as the Appalachians. Thanks to the profound Late Proterozoic erosion marked by the Great Unconformity, expressed rift sediments are rarely found in Laramide country, but post-unconformity sedimentary strata manage to doll up the basement cores quite nicely.

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In the northwest corner of Colorado and in adjoining portions of Utah and Wyoming, the flanks of the large Laramide Uinta uplift expose a 300 meter-thick deposit of handsome white Pennsylvanian aeolian dune sands known as the Weber Formation. The Weber dune field was coeval with the lower Maroon Formation, but its sands derived from Wyoming uplands to the north, not from Colorado's Ancestral Rocky Mountains. Deep antecedent meanders of the Green and Yampa rivers now dissect the Warm Springs monocline where the rivers meet at the east end of the Uinta uplift. The canyon walls are primarily of Weber sandstone. Harper's Corner in the Colorado side of Dinosaur National Park provides an excellent view of this spectacle; the 50-mile side trip off US 40 is worth it.


Mapsco 2009 Fort Worth: Street Guide and Directory

The upper Rio Grande valley marks the RGR from there through southern New Mexico. North of the San Luis valley, the RGR narrows through the deep graben of the upper Arkansas valley. The upper Arkansas River follows the RGR south through central Colorado high-country and the San Luis Valley before dog-legging east to cross the Front Range as an antecedent stream and exit the Rockies at Royal Gorge near Cañon City. The dogleg is consistent with the radial drainage pattern associated with the post-Laramide Big Dome uplift of central Colorado.

Mapsco Comal & Guadalupe Street Guide: Including New Braunfels and Seguin Spiral-bound – January 1, 2005

Consider now a less tidy case at larger scale pertinent to the question at hand. Thinning of the lithosphere across the Basin and Range as it stretches to keep the North American plate in contact with the partly diverging Pacific plate has led to a broad arch-like uplift of the entire province, again presumably due to the influx of hot asthenosphere beneath the thinning plate. But gravitational collapse driven by the uplift further thins the lithosphere, which in turn fosters more uplift by buoyant forces rooted in the mantle.


Geologically speaking, it was a decidedly wild time around the state, but the climate was semi-tropical, and plant and animal life managed to thrive despite the turmoil. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you like your place in the food chain), something far wilder was headed their way.

With each collision, arc materials and other ocean floor edifices transferred to the building continent, often along with rumpled fragments of surrounding oceanic crust. Overthrusting during the arc-continent collisions buried arc rocks to depths of 11-16 km (7-10 mi) and severely folded and faulted them at high temperatures and pressures. Regional metamorphism accompanying nearly 200 Ma of protracted, recurring arc-continent collisions recrystallized raw arc materials into the suite of metamorphic basement rocks listed above. The dark 1/7 Ga Black Canyon Gneiss in the Painted Wall (right) in the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is typical of Colorado's metamorphic basement.


If nothing else, the Laramide was a time of great complexity, and we seem to be just close enough to it to get really confused by the evidence left behind. The why, how, and how much remain controversial. Data sets from paleobotany, O18 paleoaltimetry, basalt vesicle paleobarometry, apatite fission track analysis and a host of other increasingly sophisticated earth science techniques seem to point in conflicting directions.

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Hack aoe 1 step

Includes indexes, insets of Arlington and Irving/Las Colinas area, and directory of United Way Services. Community information, map of Downtown Dallas and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, index, list of companies, and advertisements on verso.

US Topo maps are as accurate as the data sources used to make them, but because these sources are many and varied, it is not possible to make a single simple statement that the map as a whole meets a particular level of accuracy. US Topo maps, therefore, do not have a traditional accuracy statement in the map collar.


Today, dramatic Colorado landmarks like Royal Gorge (right), Glenwood Canyon and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison give the impression that ornery Rocky Mountain streams would rather chew their way through uplifts, ridges and ranges than go around them. Of course, no such thing ever happened, but what did happen is just as strange. Streams that persist in courses first set in long-gone topography are called antecedent, and antecedent streams, large and small, contribute heavily to topographic style throughout the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau.

Luckily, the shape of a fault-propagation fold provides valuable information about the geometry and movements of  the responsible blind fault. Blind Laramide faults have been known from boreholes for years, but geoscientists are just now beginning to tease out their details with the help of a promising new technique known as trishear modeling.