The eastern central Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado has long been a region of geologic interest because of Laramide-age hydrothermal polymetallic vein-related ores. The region is characterized by a well-exposed array of geologic structures associated with ductile and brittle deformation, which record crustal strain over 1.7 billion years of continental growth and evolution. The mineralized areas lie along a broad linear zone termed the Colorado Mineral Belt. This lineament has commonly been interpreted as following a fundamental boundary, such as a suture zone, in the North American Proterozoic crust that acted as a persistent zone of weakness localizing the emplacement of magmas and associated hydrothermal fluid flow. However, the details on the controls of the location, orientation, kinematics, density, permeability, and relative strength of various geological structures and their specific relationships to mineral deposit formation are not related to Proterozoic ancestry in a simple manner. The objectives of this field trip are to show key localities typical of the various types of structures present, show recently compiled and new data, offer alternative conceptual models, and foster dialogue. Topics to be discussed include: (1) structural history of the eastern Front Range; (2) characteristics, kinematics, orientations, and age of ductile and brittle structures and how they may or may not relate to one another and mineral deposit permeability; and (3) characteristics, localization, and evolution of the metal and non–metal-bearing hydrothermal systems in the eastern Colorado Mineral Belt.
Additional publication details
To reactivate or not to reactivate: nature and varied behavior of structural inheritance in the Proterozoic basement of the Eastern Colorado mineral belt over 1.7 billion years of earth history