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With over 50 million modern human lifetimes elapsed since the planet formed around 4.5 Ga, geologic or deep time is, to say the least, difficult to grasp.

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After an introductory section, Colorado's geologic history will unfold in chronological order below.

As we come up on major divisions along the geologic timeline, a brief "About Time" header will summarize what event or fossil record breakpoint ushered in the upcoming division and show how it's subdivided.

Events in the Basin and Range and along the West Coast have also influenced Colorado's physical development, particularly from ~80 Ma on.

Let's pause now to get oriented within and around our region of interest.

The wavy fabric indicates solid flow at mid-crustal temperatures of 400-500C.

To recast barely conceivable geologic time intervals in a more familiar format, they'll also appear from time to time as military hours in a single 24-hour day (and all-nighter) of creation beginning at the planet's formation and ending with the here and now.

Over 50 Ma, an entire mountain range like the Ancestral Rockies can rise up and vanish.

The pink feldspar bands in the severely deformed metamorphic rock at right (a mylonite from the Homestake Shear Zone in the northern Sawatch Range) show the kind of internal folding you'd expect from warm taffy, but this rock didn't actually melt.

My piano tuner's job security rests on the fact that properly tuned piano wire flows (stretches) at a similar rate and falls out of tune in a matter of months.

Over a few Ma, fingernail speed is plenty fast enough to fold great thicknesses of sedimentary rock over the east edge of the relatively brittle Front Range basement block, as in the photo at right.

Given enough time, cold surface rock will yield to flowing water and buried rock will bend or even flow rather than break.

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