Sunday, May 8, 2011

Busy busy busy!

Sorry for the lack of posts these past couple weeks.  Between last tests/presentations, my cousin's wedding and now finals coming up this week, I have been feeling like a perpetual motion machine.  Yesterday I embarked upon a makeup field trip (which I missed for my wonderful cousin Natalie's wedding) that entailed driving up through Rifle, Dotsero, Gypsum and Glenwood Springs (where I was able to have lunch with Natalie and her awesome new husband Dany as they are spending a honeymoon at the hot springs) .  Here are some of the photo's from the trip!

This first picture is from the east end of the bike trail that runs through Glenwood Canyon.  The rocks directly to my right are from the Leadville Limestone which near the town of Marble, with some help from metamorphism, turns into the Yule Marble which was used for construction of the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The stratified layers in the background are much older in age and were forced up with the White River Uplift.  This area is near the boundary of the White River Uplift and the Eagle Basin.
Looking west down Glenwood canyon.
 The next two pictures are from the youngest volcano in Colorado.  The Dotsero volcano last erupted over 4000 years ago.  At present, it is being mined to make cinder blocks and landscaping materials.

Basalt flow from a fissure eruption at the base the Dotsero volcano.

The dark red to black in the center of the photo denote the cinder cone.
 The town of Gypsum is aptly named for the flows of gypsum throughout the area.Gypsum is a lighter mineral and will flow, somewhat like Silly Putty, to reach the surface. The sedimentary layers in this area are churned up and folded in this process.  The company American Gypsum mines the mineral and produces varieties of wall board which are shipped throughout the nation.

The dark rocks to the right contains both siltstone and gypsum. 
A white chunk of gypsum lying on the surface of the road cut.
 Rifle Gap, also known for the Cristo's Valley Curtain, is a large recreational state park.  The damn that holds in the reservoir was constructed between a fairly narrow gap in the Grand Hogback .  The Grand Hogback also helps define the boundaries of the white River Uplift to the northeast and the Piceance Basin to the southwest.

Looking from the gap out into the resevoir.

Cretaceous fossile clams are abundant in the rocks seen in the foreground of the photo above.
 Here is a picture of the Rifle Meteorite Crater.  It is actually disputed as to whether a meteorite or a landslide produced the feature. A meteorite was in the area in the early 1900's, though no records show from where exactly it was collected.

Can you see it? No it's not the lake in the bottom of the photo. 
Tadaa! Yes, that little guy is the culprit.

While there were quite a few more photos from this trip, I must begin studying for my final tomorrow.  I do have a backlog of subjects on which to post, so you may get a second installment of Geology joy later this week, or I may just sleep for a few days. 


  1. Is the meterorite in the hill behind the bluf infront of the lake or is it in the light area on the bookcliff?

    AND nice nail polish Ms Geologist! from m. wooley

  2. The "crater" is that very small scar on the cliffs in the distance.


  3. Hi. I'm interested in one of your photos, which I'd like to use in a temporary exhibit if it exists as a larger file. The photo is
    (Dotsero lava flow)
    Could you email me about it? Thanks!
    Nancy Knepper
    Exhibits, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

    1. Nancy, I'm so sorry I hadn't gotten back to you yet. I have emailed you if it is not too late! Thank you for your interest!

  4. come on back to Dotsero I will show you what the real lava flow looks like