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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Four Corners Geological Society


Natural Fracture Systems in the Southern Rockies, 1999
Pages 7-21

The Post-Laramide Joint Network of the Colorado Plateau

Earl R. Verbeek, Marilyn A. Grout


The regional joint network of large areas of the Colorado Plateau is dominated by joint sets of post-Laramide age. Though Mesozoic and Paleozoic sets are present in many areas, it is commonly the Tertiary joints that are most abundant. Permian to Cretaceous strata in places are cut exclusively by post-Laramide joints, implying that the strata remained unjointed for geologically lengthy periods of time. In some of these areas the strata now exposed were too deeply buried during the Laramide movements to fracture by jointing. Post-Laramide regional uplift and erosion in many parts of the Colorado Plateau elevated the strata to shallower structural levels more conducive to extensional failure. This, combined in some areas with mild basin-and-range crustal extension, triggered a continuing period of widespread, repeated jointing on a grand scale.

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