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Old 12-07-2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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Permian - Triassic Extinction Event- geology

A well written Wikipedia article on the Permian Triassic Extinction Event may, at first, seem complex... as it is.

I collected fossils for most of my life. The Pennsylvanian limestones of western Missouri have all kinds of hard shelled fossils weathered out just to pick up. When the Football / Baseball park was being built to the east of Kansas City... the excavation was a fossil "gold mine" for a kid.

Traveling west and living along the Front Range of Colorado are the Hog Backs of red sandstones. Those are the Permian - Triassic formations that the Wikipedia article describes. There are no fossils to find. Not until the Jurassic which is a shale/limey shale Morrison Formation that contains well developed Dinosaurs.

The next of the Hog Back formations is the Cretaceous that has the Chalk beds that are well known in western Kansas. A shallow inland ocean with large swimming reptiles and fish.

Within a half mile east of the Front Range where I live is the last of the Cretaceous oceans.. the Pierre Shale. A very thick black shale that also can be found across from the Keystone Ski area... carried up with the uplift of the Rocky Mountains and not totally weathered away.

So, we have these Permian - Triassic formations between the Granites of the Front Range and the Cretaceous deep ocean deposits of the Pierre Shale. Between the Pike's Peak granite and the first sedimentary formation of the Permian... there are no sedimentary formations within this area. It is all missing from either never being deposited or weathered away while the Rocky Mountains were slowing forming upward.

This is a rudimentary description of an interesting time in Earth's history. But... very interesting to those with a curious mind and some science curiosity.

My purpose. To introduce others to subjects you do not learn in school or in the editorial section of a newspaper. Next time you drive along road cuts you might just want to pull over, climb around and see what is washing out. Some might find this interesting enough to look at a geological map of rock exposures. Others might find this child's play and ignore geology like they do everything else they do not understand.

Rocks are not there by accident. There is a cause and effect relationship. Much like the corrosion on the aluminum of your Airstream trailer. Once you understand WHY, you can find a solution... or just play dumb and wait for something to change.
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Old 12-07-2015, 12:16 PM   #2
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Around parts of Wyoming, signs have been installed along the highway to help identify some of these formations. I think the story is that there were some graduate students doing geologic work in the area. They found some funding, and made these signs.
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:15 PM   #3
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Ray, That big rock that is the namesake of your home town, is it the remainder of a volcanic core or what? I remember driving south out of Denver and seeing this huge thing up on the top of the hill.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:53 PM   #4
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Thalweg's photos are going north on Highway 20/789 from Boysen State Park from the Wind River Indian Reservation to Thermopolis, Wyoming. The river in the canyon is called the Wind River and when it leaves Thermopolis it becomes the Big Horn River. There might be other rivers where someone named the upstream end and mapped it, while someone else started downstream and up and named their end. Wyoming did a nice job for the curious traveler in this canyon. The campground at the top of the canyon is a bit "rough", but inexpensive State of Wyoming camp site.

The "Castle Rock" is a resistant volcanic rock called Rhyolite. The "flat top of the rock" was the valley at one time and would connect to all of the other flat "castle rocks" in this area. Everything missing had washed away since their being deposited. The South Platte River used to run SOUTH towards Colorado Springs, geologically, and after the last big glacier melt... eroded its way to the northwest running now to the North Platte River in Nebraska. How do we know that? Because the gold placer miners found rock and gold from mining towns to the northwest, way south of where it was expected to be found. In the late 1850's and 1860's no rock was left unturned when placer gold was found and then the mining towns just west of Denver. Wow... imagine that. Glaciers. Volcanos. What next?
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:59 PM   #5
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Since there are a few curious following this. There were major rivers running from West to East through Kansas when the Rocky Mountain glaciers were melting. The river valleys today are a mile wide with a stream that is way too small today.

Utah. The Grand Canyon and the Colorado River... think about it. What created all of this erosion and left dry lake basins, like the Great Salt Lake as well? The water came from somewhere as the Colorado River today is a fraction what it use to be.

If you thought winters are cold today in the Rockies... imagine a mile thick ice sheet melting year round.

Geology is really interesting. The highway department did not create all of this building highways...

The more I learn... the dumber I have become.
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Old 12-07-2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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There's a rumor going around that 'subduction will lead to orogeny'.
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Old 12-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #7
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Drathaar... you are just creating trouble as you make it sound scary.

If it were not for your subduction of the Pacific Plate, yours and Idaho's potatoes would not be so plentiful. You cannot have your Pacific Plate volcanics and eat it too.

Just living in Twin Rocks does give you some status. Puts you ahead of Castle Rock, Colorado and Rock Springs, Wyoming.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:47 PM   #8
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Ray, apologies if I made it sound scary. In a stack of tee shirts, I have one that was sent to me by a geologist friend from college that has the subduction quote. Geology is interesting as can be. Had I discovered it earlier in my education, I probably would be a geologist today.

Love them spuds!
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Old 12-07-2015, 05:52 PM   #9
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Drathaar.... probably be a geologist? I cannot count the petroleum, gas, mining Booms and Busts on both hands, just this year. At least there would be more time to discuss Wintering Full Time in western North Dakota on the Forum, until companies are hiring again.

Only a structural geologist could come up with that tee shirt! I could come up with some others... but a sense of humor is not equally distributed.

Climate Scientists are great at predicting the FUTURE, but never spent a minute looking at the last 500,000,000 years of sediments and their chemistry for previous Climate changes. And... when you see the abrupt line between a thick limestone formation on top of a thick shale formation... something happened, and repeats.

My wife is fascinated by watching the weather channel and the newspaper national map of weather. She gets disappointed when the eight day forecast rains on her parade, when it was suppose to be sunny and warm. I then predict last week's weather 100% accurate each time. That is the job of a geologist, thinking backwards. Somebody has to do it.

I do get to see a lot of Leaverite Rocks from neighbor's vacation trips. What is this rock Ray? "Leaverite. Leave 'er right where you found it."
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