Rocky Mounatin National Park
Boasting over miles of trails and encompassing square miles this truly is a Rocky Mountain High! Chasm Lake lies in a glacial cirque. Check forecasts before you go at weather.
The area occupied by the park has been repeatedly uplifted and eroded. Although many of its mountaintops have been flattened by ancient erosion, recent glaciation has left steep scars, U-shaped valleys, lakes and moraine deposits Ancient schist glows on the west side of the park NPS The Beginning The park’s oldest Rocky Mounatin National Park were produced when plate movements subjected sea sediments to intense pressure and heat.
The resulting metamorphic rocks schist and gneiss are estimated to be 1. Later, large intrusions of hot magma finally cooled about 1. Paleozoic Era During the long Paleozoic Era, the park area frequently submerged, lifted up and eroded.
Mesozoic Era Early in the Mesozoic Era, approximately million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the shoreline of a shallow sea which extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. Animal remains were deposited in layers of sand, silt and mud. The resulting sedimentary rock layers including fossils are now exposed in the foothills to the east of the park.
Giant blocks of ancient crystalline rock, overlain by younger sedimentary rock, broke and were thrust upward. Even as the uplift occurred, streams started eroding away the sedimentary rocks and washed Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt sediments to the east and west.
The gentle slopes atop Trail Ridge and Flattop Mountain are remnants of this erosion surface. Glacial Period Differential movement along faults disrupted drainage patterns, resulting in higher mountains, waterfalls and large valley areas such as Estes Valley. Streams had established drainage patterns with V-shaped valleys cut into hard rock before the climate became cooler, perhaps two million years ago.
In the higher valleys, snow packed into glacial ice which flowed down the valleys. Glacial erosion changed V-shaped valleys into U-shaped valleys.
The converging rivers of ice flowed down into lower valleys where the ice warmed, melted and dropped the debris it had scraped from the mountainsides above. Loose rock material carried by the ice deposited along the sides, forming lateral moraines.
At the ends of the glaciers, rocks piled up into terminal moraines. Although glaciers must have filled high valleys and then melted at least four different times, only the latest two times Pinedale and Bull Lake left evidence easy to find. During the last major glaciation period, glaciers from Forest Canyon, Spruce Canyon, Odessa Gorge and numerous tributary valleys all flowed together and melted in the area now called Moraine Park.
This glacier deposited lateral moraines along the south and north sides of Moraine Park and a terminal moraine against Eagle Cliff mountain to the east. Chasm Lake lies in a glacial cirque. Chasm Lake lies in a cirque below the east face of Longs Peak.
Glacial erosion also left scratches, grooves and polished surfaces on some Rocky Mounatin National Park the rocks. The rounded rocks of Lumpy Ridge include Balanced Rock. NPS The few small glaciers and snowfields now occupying the tops of glacial valleys are only hints of what the ice age was like.
The park’s high mountaintops were not covered with glacial ice and a few of the lower valley areas of the park escaped the effects of glaciation. Rocky Mounatin National Park example, the Twin Owls and Gem Lake Trail area of Lumpy Ridge feature coarse-grained granite rounded into interesting shapes by millions of years of non-glacial erosion.
Outside the park, water from melting glaciers helped carve canyons to the east. Hogback ridges were left near the Colorado Front Range cities of Loveland and Lyons by differential erosion of sedimentary rock tilted up against older crystalline rock of the mountains. Rocky Mountain National Park occupies…
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Last updated: May 7, The resulting sedimentary rock layers including fossils are now exposed in the foothills to the east of the park. Check forecasts before you go at weather. The rounded rocks of Lumpy Ridge include Balanced Rock.