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Circular 1349

The Geologic Story of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Range

By David A. Lindsey

A description of the rocks and landscapes of the Sangre de Cristo Range and the forces that formed them.

Thumbnail of publication and link to PDF (10.9 MB)

There is no record of the beginning of time in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Almost 3 billion years of Earth history are missing, but the rest is on spectacular display in this rugged mountain landscape. This is the geologic story of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

First posted June 7, 2010

For additional information contact:

USGS Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Box 25046, MS-973
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Lindsey, D.A., 2010, The geologic story of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Range: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1349, 14 p.


The Oldest Rocks

Uplifts and Unconformities

A Map of the Range

The Ancestral Rockies

The Laramide Orogeny

The Rio Grande Rift

The Ice Ages



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