Revised preliminary geologic map of the Rifle Quadrangle, Garfield County, Colorado

Open-File Report 97-852




The Rifle quadrangle extends from the Grand Hogback monocline into the southeastern part of the Piceance basin. In the northeastern part of the map area, the Wasatch Formation is nearly vertical, and over a distance of about 1 km, the dip decreases sharply from about 70-85o to about 15-30o toward the southwest. No evidence of a fault in this zone of sharp change in dip is observed but exposures in the Shire Member of the Wasatch Formation are poor, and few marker horizons that might demonstrate offset are distinct. In the central part of the map area, the Shire Member is essentially flat lying. In the south and southwest part of the map area, the dominant dip is slightly to the north, forming an open syncline that plunges gently to the northwest. Evidence for this fold also exists in the subsurface from drill-hole data. According to Tweto (1975), folding of the early Eocene to Paleocene Wasatch Formation along the Grand Hogback reqired an early Eocene age for the last phase of Laramide compression. We find the attitude of the Wasatch Formation to be nearly horizontal, essentially parallel to the overlying Anvil Points Member of the Eocene Green River Formation; therefore, we have no information that either confirms or disputes that early Eocene was the time of the last Laramide event. Near Rifle Gap in the northeast part of the map area, the Mesaverde Group locally dips about 10o less steeply than the overlying Wasatch Formation, indicating that not only had the formation of the Hogback monocline not begun by the time the Wasatch was deposited at this locality, but the underlying Mesaverde Group was locally tilted slightly toward the present White River uplift. Also the basal part of the Atwell Gulch Member of the Wasatch Formation consists of fine-grained mudstones and siltstones containing sparse sandstone and rare conglomerates, indicating that the source of sediment was not from erosion of the adjacent Upper Cretaceous Mesaverde Group. The most likely source of andesitic conglomerate clasts abundant in the upper part of the Atwell Gulch Member was Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary andesitic igneous rocks, remnants of which are present southeast of the Piceance Basin (Tweto, 1979). Thinning of the Atwell Gulch and Molina Members to the northwest also suggests a southeastern source of sediments, ruling out a northeastern source related to earlier deformation of the Upper Cretaceous Mesa Verde Group.

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USGS Numbered Series
Revised preliminary geologic map of the Rifle Quadrangle, Garfield County, Colorado
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
1 over-size sheet
United States