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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.
The entire Mesozoic Era (295 Ma long) shot by in under an hour, the dinosaurs departed just 20 minutes ago (thank goodness), and we've been comfy and relatively ice-free for only a mere 0.2 seconds.
A healthy human female can expect to live just under 2 milliseconds in a developed country.
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 geologic history is as complex as it is fascinating.The wavy fabric indicates solid flow at mid-crustal temperatures of 400-500C.To recast barely conceivable geologic time intervals in a more familiar format, they'll also appear from time to time as military hours in a single 24-hour day (and all-nighter) of creation beginning at the planet's formation and ending with the here and now.