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Geological History of Golden Report
One of the strongest desire that let people indifferent on this earth is the understanding of their environment. From the past until now, people are still searching, learning and trying to find a link between all those events that happened in the past and see how it is related to the present. In other word, people want to understand the different transformation that our environment has been subject. For a good understanding, it will be important to start on our own environment that is Golden. As we see Golden today, it comes in our head to think about how this place used to be million years ago before human era and where this formation seen today come from. To answer these questions, we had a field trip on three of the most important Golden historical place including our campus, Red Rock, and North Table Mountain. In addition to our observation on these three different sites, we came out with so many information that will be exposed to a careful analysis. This analysis is based on all the event recorded, the evidence seen on the rock. On the other hand, how these events can be classified in the geological time then the specific environment of deposition remarked on their more regional or global event. The chronological event will be made from what come first, the oldest to the last, the youngest. Therefore, our analysis will start at Red Rock, the Campus, and North Table Mountain.
Historically, the presence of Red Rock and the entire environment around it can be explained through different event. Compare to the past, this environment has been the subject of different formation. For example, the Precambrian Basement and Fountain Formation, Lyons and Lykins Formations, Morrison Formation, Benton Formation , and then Fox Hill and Laramie Formation. In addition to these formations, we will also describe the entire step related to them. According to the Precambrian basement, we first identified the rock by its visible grain size containing feldspar, k-spar, biotype, and quartz. These minerals let us know that the layer was composed of metamorphic rock, sandstone, and conglomerate. This environment of deposition was the fact of uplift erosion in deep marine seduction zone that happened 1700 million years ago. The specific event was the formation of Colombia, North America continent super continent. Next to that was the Fountain Formation. It was deposited near the surface of alluvial fan 300 million years ago marking the ancestor Rocky Mountain. The rock mineral was composed of biotype and hematite. In addition to Lyons and Lykins formation, we found out that both depositions were composed of sedimentary rock. The sedimentary features that allow us to determine the environment of deposition for the Lyons formation was the observation of Colorado cross-bedding composed of sandstone due to the water flow. On the other hand, the environment deposition for the Lykins formation was shallow water vaporized and calcite protected shallow bay. The events related to both formations were the lower environment deposition and the transgression of sea level. The major event that occurred at the end of Lykins formation was the largest extinction of primarien (Paleozoic). We also observed some disconformities between Lykins and Ralston Creek. At the Dinosaur Bone visitor site, we observed the Morrison Formation. The description of the lateral consistency and thickness of the sandstone layers was varying thickness and dinosaur bones under bedding. For these sands interbedded with finer grained silts and clays, the environment deposition was the fact of stream, pluvial or shallow lakes. The event recorded for this formation was the regression of sea level. The layer was composed of mudstone, sandstone, and sandstone. Keep going to the Benton Formation, we were impressed of the black color of the rock describing the presence of carbonate. We also remarked has this formation is a problem for construction because it is formed of swelling soil. Its environment of deposition and event was the fact transgression of Marine Ocean. Finally, our last step for Red Rock was at Fox Hills and Laramie Formation. We remarked that the bed dip direction on this zone was slightly to the west and becoming older in the same direction. The depositional environment changes from marine regression to beach. After Red Rock analysis, our next step was on campus.
The environment of Colorado School of Mines can be classified among Golden geological place. The understanding of this place will be obtained through a step by step explanation of what has been observed during our field trip. We first observed the Fox Hills formation as our last step at Red Rock. This formation is composed of sandstone. On the other side, was the Pierre Formation composed of gray shale. We identified that the contact between the Pierre and Fox Hills look gradual because the deposition continued as the material being deposited changed. The environment deposition observed there can be explained by shallower water resulting in deposition of large sediment particle indicating a regression of sea level 72 million years ago. On the top of the Pierre formation is lying a deposition of conglomerate, this formation was deposited in marine. Another important event that happened there was the disaster of white Ash coal mine in 1889 where 10 minors are still buried under this site. We identified the Laramie formation 68 million years old, composed of sandstone, shale and coal. It was form in a fluvial and tropical environment and deposited in cold fresh water. Next to this site is preserved a trace fossil of log and leaf print. So, both sandstone and clay that can be seen there were deposited in fresh water. Then, the depositional environment that mostly produced these types of rock is river channel for sandstone and floodplain for mudstone. The types of fossil seen there are ceratopsid, theropaods, hadrosaurs, and triceratops. The footprint was made in mud filled in by sand. Overall, these descriptions mentioned are based on our observation on this site. After the campus, we went to North Table Mountain.
As long as we identified the materials present at Red Rod and on the campus, we will also observe and describe the specific properties of material and physical processes that constitute North Table Mountain. The rock we identified at the road cut was the sedimentary rock (sandstone). The event that took place at this point in the rock was erosion, and the evidence for that even was the Denver and Laramie formation. The rock mountain uplifted in this area between 68 and 65 million years. After this place we observed a grove of cottonwood trees shading an outcrop of dark rock along the lower part of the road to the top of the mountain. We found out that the rock that makes this dark outcrop was an igneous extrusive basalt weathering. The rock that was underneath the dark rock at this place was the Table mountain basalt forming a U-shape of fusion eruption. It is important to mention that this Table mountain basalt and igneous volcanic rock are more resistance to erosion. The process responsible for producing these two types of rock observed is lava flow. From the bottom to the top of the mountain we observed different rock unit and also the evidence and event related to them. We first identified the Denver formation due to the erosion of the mountain. The basalt lava flow showing a discontinuity based on river creek lava flow. Again, we observe Denver formation with cross-bedding due to erosion. The conglomerate (basalt) that shows an evidence of channel.
In conclusion, we can say that it was a great opportunity to have these field trips. Now, it is clear in our mind that all these formations in our environment are not the fact of hazard as we might think. They all have an origin and have been exposed to different transformation and event from the oldest to the youngest in the past. All these details mentioned in our analysis was based on our own observation on the three site visited, Red Rock, campus, and North Table Mountain.
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