I adopted a mantra early-on in my career and it has served me quite well. Simply put, the idea is: "Never pass up an opportunity to go to the field and never, ever pass up an opportunity to go underground." This conference is designed to exploit Colorado’s unique geologic setting. Ten field trips have been organized with of one them venturing underground, plus several guest trips and a short course.
The Colorado Front Range provides the very definition of Laramide tectonics. The uplift of the Rockies is readily apparent in the flatiron topography of the Fountain Formation, clearly visible from Broomfield. Colorado’s northernmost Fourteener (14,000+ foot peak), Long’s Peak, located in the southeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, is readily visible from Broomfield. Pikes Peak, Colorado’s most famous Fourteener, is also visible at a distance of more than 75 miles to the south. A north-south span of well over 100 miles of Colorado’s Front Range can be seen from Broomfield and includes Mount Evans (yet another Fourteener) and the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
As mentioned, there are ten field trips organized to-date. Several of these will visit world-class localities. Separate field trips to the Henderson Molybdenum Mine and Mill will take participants over the Continental Divide and will ensure spectacular alpine scenery and a thorough geologic education. The same can be said for the field trip planned for the historic Leadville Mining district. Leadville is the highest county seat in the nation. Spectacular views of the Sawatch Range can be seen from downtown Leadville. Two prominent peaks, Mt. Elbert (Colorado’s highest peak) and
Mt. Massive can be seen from just about anywhere in Leadville. Leadville was also a world-class Superfund site and the tour includes environmental remediation measures that were designed to address the acid mine drainage in the area.
A field trip is planned to visit the operating Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine located west of Pikes Peak. The Mine is owned and operated by Anglo Gold Ashanti and is the only operating gold mine in the state. It is highly unusual because of the alkaline rock types that host the deposit and that can be sampled in the pit. This particular trip promises to offer a heavy dose of economic geology in a beautiful alpine setting.
A planned trip to the historic mining districts of Idaho Springs and Cripple Creek, located in nearby Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, respectively, will give trip participants a thorough understanding of Colorado’s mining roots and the economic engine that drove creation of the Centennial State.
Several field trips have been planned to take advantage of great geologic localities up and down Colorado’s Front Range. Many people know that Colorado’s famous Morrison Formation has yielded a treasure trove of spectacular dinosaur fossils over a time span of almost 100 years. Fossils from the Morrison Formation can be found in museums all over the world. A local field trip planned for the type locality of the Morrison area will visit Red Rocks Park and Dinosaur Ridge, both located on the outskirts of Denver, at the foot of the mountains. This trip promises a thorough Jurassic paleontology education.
Colorado’s Front Range has long been a source of building materials ranging from aggregate, cement, dimension stone, decorative stone to clay, gypsum and limestone. A planned trip for the Front Range will visit numerous quarries and mining operations that produce various industrial minerals.
Dr. Vince Matthews, Colorado’s State Geologist Emeritus, will lead a field trip that focuses on the Front Range geology and tectonic setting. Dr. Matthews is recognized as a national expert on Laramide tectonics and this trip promises a thorough education for all participants.
Technical sessions are being offered in diverse areas spanning a breadth of geologic topics including, structural geology and tectonics, mineralogy and petrology, mining and economic geology, unconventional oil and gas, energy, engineering geology, environmental geology and hydrogeology, climate change, paleontology and archeology, planetary geology and space, sedimentary geology and stratigraphy, hydrology and water resource development, and special topics
The conference organizing committee consists of Dick Nielsen, Larry Cerrillo, Larry Anna, Cindy Cason, Tom Cavanaugh, Dr. Jim Burnell, David Abbott, Ed Baltzer, John Galey, and Graham Closs. Almost all of these individuals are past officers of the Colorado Section.