Geology 101 in Garden of the Gods

Garden of the GodsGeology Professor Jeff Noblett led a group of approximately 15 Colorado College faculty and staff on a late-afternoon field trip through Garden of the Gods on Aug. 15. The group hiked about two miles, winding through the geological formations, as Noblett pointed out various features.

Colorado Springs is geologically unique in that it has one of the most complete and complex exposure of earth history anywhere in the country, he said. The city also is unique in that rocks from every geological period, except the Silurian, are exposed within the city limits.

Participants learned about various types of rocks, faults and fault interpretation, angular unconformities, and graded beds, in addition to viewing some spectacular scenery with a new appreciation and understanding.

Much of the information Noblett presented is in his book, “A Guide to the Geological History of the Pikes Peak Region,” available in the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. In addition to the geology of the Garden of the Gods, the book includes information on a variety of geological features within easy driving distance – Wilkerson Pass, Manitou Springs, Highway 24, Pulpit Rock, Palmer Park, Section 16, etc.

The book includes photos by Steve Weaver, technical director of geology, and was copy-edited by Cathe Bailie, music events coordinator. The event was sponsored by the CC Wellness Champions, co-chaired by Ryan Hammes and Lisa Brommer.

A quote at the end of the book puts the magnitude of the region’s geology in perspective: “If we were to scale earth history on a one-year calendar, with the earth forming on January 1 and today being midnight December 31, the oldest rocks we find in Colorado would not appear until the beginning of August. The detailed sedimentary record of the seas begins about Thanksgiving, and humans reach Colorado only in the final hour. It would be worth the time to sit in a high place above town and briefly review the geological history of the region.”

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