Do you like to drive across country? Do you ever have questions about the rock formations you are looking at as you drive? Be sure to check out “Roadside Geology” for the state(s) you cross.
“Roadside Geology of Colorado” is a book that I have used as I travel across my beautiful state!
Driving to a wedding in Poncha Springs from Colorado Springs? Be sure to check out the geology of the Royal Gorge where the Arkansas River cut through a wedge of Precambrian granite and metamorphic rocks. Lava flows cap Permian redbeds, Pennsylvanian shale and Precambrian igneous rocks. If you know where to look, you may spot dip-slip faults that juxtapose igneous and sedimentary rocks in adjacent positions.
Do you want to camp along the base of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument? Be sure to read about the transverse dunes that dominate this landscape and are swept up against the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. If you visit during the springtime, the Medan Creek flows along the base of these dunes giving visitors a cool respite after a scorching hike on these mounds.
If your roadside travels take you near Rocky Mountain National Park, you will learn about the glacial erosion history of our mountainous regions. These massive features have carved “bowl-shaped features” into the mountain. They make for not only spectacular features across this great state to photograph, but fantastical mountains to ski or snowboard! Additionally, river evolution processes and flooding events can be studied from this iconic location.
Are fossils your thing? Then drive to Dinosaur National Monument and learn about how the Yampa River gashes the surface of the Weber Sandstone. Or traverse Highway 24 to the Florissant Fossil Beds where fossils of leaves and insects are preserved as carbonization fossils when volcanic ash fell and preserved these creatures.
Traveling to a different state? No problem, your local library will have Roadside Geology books for most states available for you to check out for your upcoming vacation. I know that I never travel without it!
Note: The picture included is of ripple marks preserved within the Lyons formation along highway 24 near Manitou Springs.