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Colorado’s Geology

Volcanoes & inland seas created Colorado's dramatic landscapes

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Colorado, as we see it today, began billions of years ago. First the land was covered by a vast inland sea that left huge sandstone deposits. Some of these deposits faulted from internal pressure to become the dramatic, colorful formations at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Park and the Garden of the Gods.

Volcanic magma cooled before reaching the earth’s surface but was eventually forced upward and formed such mountains as Pikes Peak. Huge volcanoes that collapsed and filled in resulted in the gold and mineral rich areas around Victor and Cripple Creek. Much of the land around Fairplay was shaped by Ice Age glaciers.

As you drive through the mountains pay attention to the different types of rock, and the angles where pressure faulted the surface. Then try to picture the geological forces that created this fantastic landscape.

This dramatic, continually evolving landscape often creates quick weather changes. Here are tips for dealing with Colorado’s weather.

During the mountain drives you may be heading up to altitudes 8,000 feet above sea level or higher. Here are some tips for easier breathing at  high altitudes.


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