What Kind of Stone Are the Rocky Mountains Made Of?
The Rocky Mountains were formed during intense plate tectonic activity, and their formation is the most significant part of their geological history. The Rocky Mountain Division contains large deposits of building stones, including granites, marbles, and volcanic rocks. The state has opened up a large number of quarries and has used thousands of tons of this stone for construction projects. The mountain ranges are an exceptional source of natural resources and are an important part of the Colorado economy.
The modern Rocky Mountains were formed during the Cretaceous Period. They rose earlier in the eastern portion of Utah during the Sevier Orogeny, and later in Colorado and New Mexico during the Laramide Orogeny. The formation of these mountain ranges is very similar to the formation of the Alps, and they are a perfect example of this process. However, these peaks are much older.
Early Paleozoic rock units can be found in the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains, as well as the Sawatch Range and along the Colorado River. This stone is quite dense, and slabs only an inch thick are strong enough for walkways, patios, and other uses. This thin layering makes it possible to cover twice the area for the same weight as a typical stone. The lack of weight in this stone means that it's less expensive to ship. Because of these unique qualities, the material is a popular choice for those who want to do it themselves.
The northern and southern Rockies are composed of various types of sedimentary and meta-sedimentary rocks. The latter is the most recent of these, and it was formed 75 million years ago. The western Rockies are actually the result of the Laramide orogeny, with the earliest parts located about 1,000 miles to the west. The mountains are made up of thick layers of sedimentary rock, called basement. The Fountain Formation is one of the most impressive, and the largest, measuring 1350 meters.
The ancient Proterozoic Precambrian rocks are the core of the Rocky Mountains. This rock type is made up of schists and geneisses, and is older than the Earth. The lower part of the Rocky Mountains is composed of sedimentary rock that was exposed by a plate tectonic collision. A series of faults, which causes earthquakes and volcanoes, caused the mountain to erode. The mountain range was covered by shallow seas about 500 million years ago. It was gradually reshaped over 200 million years.
The modern Rocky Mountains are formed of layers of rock that originated
during the Cretaceous era. In eastern Utah, these layers of rock were formed
earlier during the Sevier Orogeny, and were later exposed in Colorado and New
Mexico during the Laramide Orogeny. The Rockies have various forms of
crystalline sediments, with the earliest being the oldest. It is possible to
see traces of the igneous and meta-sedimentary rocks in the Aspen Maroon Bells.