Some of the country's most varied and spectacular
From the low-lying eastern plains, to the central peaks soaring more than 14,000 feet above sea level, to the western red-rock canyons; Colorful Colorado’s landscape reflects some of the most varied, spectacular, and well-displayed geology in our nation. The story of the rocks, climate, life, and structures formed during the past 2.7 billion years of Colorado's geologic evolution; offers a marvelous insight into the whole science of geology. These diverse rocks provide not only rich mineral and energy resources, but also geological hazards that deserve great respect.
Explore and enjoy this section about Colorado's magnificent geology. Below are a few quotes from earlier geologists. If you would like to have your own book about Colorado's colorful geology, try Messages in Stone -- Colorado's Colorful Geology.
| “ On all the broad extent of these United States, certainly no region can be found which presents more facts of interest, more opportunities for investigation, and greater possibilities, than the State of Colorado.”
The above quote was from Samuel F. Emmons who was a geologist on the King Survey of the 40th Parallel from California to Colorado from 1867 to 1872. He then was put in charge of the newly formed Rocky Mountain Division of the United States Geological Survey. In 1882 he was elected the first president of the Colorado Scientific Society. The quote above is from his inaugural address.
| “I do not know of any portion of the West where there is so much variety displayed in the geology as within a space of ten miles square around Colorado City (today’s Colorado Springs). Nearly all the elements of geological study revealed in the Rocky Mountains are shown on a unique scale in this locality.”
F. V. Hayden led a series of geological expeditions to Colorado from 1869 to 1876. In the report of the first expedition he wrote the quote above.
| “ The geology of Colorado is written in the rocks. From this great book are here presented a few translations of a few paragraphs. The scenery of Colorado is a gallery incomparable. Words lack form and light-- the essence and soul of scenery. At best they can but call attention to the elements associated in the picture. They cannot convey the beauty and harmony of the assemblage.”
The first director (1908-26) of the Colorado Geological Survey, Russell D. George, wrote the above quote in the Preface to his 1927 book, Geology and Natural Resources of Colorado:
Pictured right, from top to bottom: Red Rocks Park on the west side of Denver. Red strata of the Pennsylvanian/Permian Fountain formation rest on Precambrian metamorphic rocks. In the parking lot is a marked exposure of the "Great Unconformity."
Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks in Unaweep Canyon.
Mesozoic age sedimentary rocks along the Dolores River.
Bottom: Echo Park and Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument near the confluence of the Yampa and Green Rivers.