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Geologic Color Tour

This past Tuesday, Julian’s Geology elective took a fall geologic color tour of the San Juan Mountains, stopping at various key sites along the way to study the crystalline and volcanic geology of our beautiful mountain home.

Starting locally at FLC’s Lions Den, students presented short skits on the key phases of our home’s geologic story, developing knowledge of the general geologic history of the San Juan Mountains, and lining up the next several site visits of the day with a good bird’s eye view up valley towards the mountains.

Next up were a series of stops examining igneous and crystalline rock bodies in the form of the Baker’s Bridge Granite at Baker’s Bridge, the Eolus Granite at Needles Country Square, and the Twilight Gneiss near Coalbank Pass. Also studied was an intrusive igneous sill, a part of the puzzle of the San Juans violent volcanic history.

Through this fieldwork, students were encouraged to engage with the immensity and uncertainty of geologic time. They were specifically focusing on the basement crystalline complex, aka the “heart of the mountains,” literally setting up the foundations for exploring the rest of our regions fascinating story of formation. By the end of the semester, students will apply this knowledge to construct a final project to display the history of the San Juan Mountains that models how they became the cool rock formations we see today.

Junior Streater Nickell expressed, “Rocks are pretty cool!”

Julian reflected on the day: “Geology is really hard! Pardon the rock pun. In the field, where most geologic work is conducted, the seemingly simple ideas being studied in class collide with the complexities of the real world. Students did a fantastic job practicing the techniques used by real geologists, and were able to apply their knowledge to the task of beginning to understand our region's deep, complex history. Next stop, sedimentary rocks, dinosaurs, shallow seas, sand dunes, and swamps! Also, rocks ARE pretty cool. They rock.”

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