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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.Colorado's also part of an immense, heterogeneous and longstanding tectonic upland covering the entire western third of the United States and ultimately can only be understood in that context.From the Middle Proterozoic on, much of Colorado's story also applies, with some notable exceptions, throughout the Southern Rockies* and the Colorado Plateau.Most of them cluster around the intersection of these two profound lineaments, both which almost certainly cut the full thickness of the lithosphere.This telling elevation distribution reflects a powerful synergy between truly ancient plate processes driven by the cooling of the earth in the presence of gravity and ongoing mantle processes driven by Lord knows what.
As we come up on major divisions along the geologic timeline, a brief "About Time" header will summarize what event or fossil record breakpoint ushered in the upcoming division and show how it's subdivided.The geology is in turn inextricably entwined with Colorado's human history.That's true everywhere, of course, but it goes double here.Colorado's generous endowments of accessible mineral wealth and fertile farmland were not inevitable birthrights. This overview ventures a "to the best of our knowledge" summary of Colorado geologic evolution current as of late 2004.Colorado's story still includes many gaps and controversies, often around events and structures shrouded in deep time, deep earth or both.