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This geologic overview focuses primarily on the Colorado Rockies and the Colorado Plateau, but adjoining portions of Wyoming, Utah and the High Plains as far east as the Black Hills of South Dakota also have important and related stories to tell.Throughout this article, I'll refer to Colorado and these adjoining areas as our region of interest, which closely coincides both with the area shown in the NASA photo at Bearings just below and also with the area affected by Laramide uplift.My piano tuner's job security rests on the fact that properly tuned piano wire flows (stretches) at a similar rate and falls out of tune in a matter of months.Over a few Ma, fingernail speed is plenty fast enough to fold great thicknesses of sedimentary rock over the east edge of the relatively brittle Front Range basement block, as in the photo at right.If you need more help with geologic time or terminology, check out these resources.
Colorado's story still includes many gaps and controversies, often around events and structures shrouded in deep time, deep earth or both.
I've attempted to point out the most significant unknowns and disagreements, but often, rightly or wrongly, I've simply taken sides.
If you take nothing else away from this humble attempt, please consider this: Of Colorado's 55 Fourteeners, all but 2 (Longs Peak and Pikes Peak) lie either along the Colorado Mineral Belt or on the shoulders of the Rio Grande Rift.
With the formation of the earth pegged at h (midnight), our work day finishes at h, just as we pull up to the present. Each hour corresponds to 0.875 billion years (Ga), each minute to 3.125 million years (Ma) and each second to 52.1 thousand years (Ka).
Conversely, 1 Ga takes 4 hours, 20 minutes out of the day; 1 Ma, 19.2 seconds; and 1 Ka, 19.2 millisecondsliterally the blink of an eye.