This digital map shows the geographic extent of rock stratigraphic units (formations) as compiled by Colton in 1976 under the Front Range Urban Corridor Geology Program. Colton used his own geologic mapping and previously published geologic maps to compile one map having a single classification of geologic units. The resulting published color paper map (USGS Map I-855-G, Colton, 1978) was intended for land-use planning and to depict the regional geology. In 1997-1999, another USGS project designed to address urban growth issues was undertaken. This project, the USGS Front Range Infrastructure Resources Project, undertook to digitize Colton's map at 1:100,000 scale, making it useable in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). That product is described here.
In general, the digitized map depicts in its western part Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks, Pennsylvanian and younger sedimentary rock units, major faults, and brecciated zones along an eastern strip (5-20 km wide) of the Front Range. The central and eastern parts of the map (Colorado Piedmont) show a mantle of Quaternary unconsolidated deposits and interspersed outcrops of sedimentary rock of Cretaceous or Tertiary age. A surficial mantle of unconsolidated deposits of Quaternary age is differentiated and depicted as eolium (wind-blown sand and silt), alluvium (river gravel, sand, and silt of variable composition), colluvium, and a few landslide deposits. At the mountain front, north-trending, Paleozoic and Mesozoic formations of sandstone, shale, and minor limestone dip mostly eastward and form folds, fault blocks, hogbacks and intervening valleys. Local dikes and sills of Tertiary rhyodacite and basalt intrude rocks near the range front, mostly in the Boulder area.