This new 1:24,000-scale geologic map of the Vail West 7.5' quadrangle, as part of the USGS Western Colorado I-70 Corridor Cooperative Geologic Mapping Project, provides new interpretations of the stratigraphy, structure, and geologic hazards in the area on the southwest flank of the Gore Range.
Bedrock strata include Miocene tuffaceous sedimentary rocks, Mesozoic and upper Paleozoic sedimentary rocks, and undivided Early(?) Proterozoic metasedimentary and igneous rocks. Tuffaceous rocks are found in fault-tilted blocks. Only small outliers of the Dakota Sandstone, Morrison Formation, Entrada Sandstone, and Chinle Formation exist above the redbeds of the Permian-Pennsylvanian Maroon Formation and Pennsylvanian Minturn Formation, which were derived during erosion of the Ancestral Front Range east of the Gore fault zone. In the southwestern area of the map, the proximal Minturn facies change to distal Eagle Valley Formation and the Eagle Valley Evaporite basin facies. The Jacque Mountain Limestone Member, previously defined as the top of the Minturn Formation, cannot be traced to the facies change to the southwest. Abundant surficial deposits include Pinedale and Bull Lake Tills, periglacial deposits, earth-flow deposits, common diamicton deposits, common Quaternary landslide deposits, and an extensive, possibly late Pliocene landslide deposit. Landscaping has so extensively modified the land surface in the town of Vail that a modified land-surface unit was created to represent the surface unit.
Laramide movement renewed activity along the Gore fault zone, producing a series of northwest-trending open anticlines and synclines in Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata, parallel to the trend of the fault zone. Tertiary down-to-the-northeast normal faults are evident and are parallel to similar faults in both the Gore Range and the Blue River valley to the northeast; presumably these are related to extensional deformation that occurred during formation of the northern end of the Rio Grande rift system in Colorado.
In the southwestern part of the map area, a diapiric(?) exposure of the Eagle Valley Evaporite exists and chaotic faults and folds suggest extensive dissolution and collapse of overlying bedrock, indicating the presence of a geologic hazard. Quaternary landslides are common and indicate that landslide hazards are widespread in the area, particularly where old slide deposits are disturbed by construction. The late Pliocene(?) landslide that consists largely of a smectitic upper Morrison Formation matrix and boulders of Dakota Sandstone is readily reactivated. Debris flows are likely to invade low-standing areas within the towns of Vail and West Vail where tributaries of Gore Creek issue from the mountains on the north side of the valley.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geologic map of the Vail West quadrangle, Eagle County, Colorado