Events in the Basin and Range and along the West Coast have also influenced Colorado's physical development, particularly from ~80 Ma on.
Let's pause now to get oriented within and around our region of interest.
The table below collects the links to these headers.
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.
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.
The geology is in turn inextricably entwined with Colorado's human history.
That's true everywhere, of course, but it goes double here.
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.
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.
Over 50 Ma, an entire mountain range like the Ancestral Rockies can rise up and vanish.