Thursday, March 5, 2009

1.5 billion year view

Last weekend's lunch spot was on an easy scramble to near the top of the Wingate formation (my favorite!) The Wingate is a superb homogeneous sandstone early Jurassic in age. Directly below the Wingate in all that red stuff you can see between my feet is the Chinle, famous for its Uranium mines found all over the Colorado Plateau. The Chinle is Triassic in age. It is difficult to see, but in the upper right of the picture are some darker rocks. These black rocks are Proterozoic in age, about 1.8 billion years old, if my research is right. There appears to be a bit of time missing, like the entire Paleozoic. 

If we round and say that the top of the Wingate was deposited 200 million years ago and that the Black rocks were placed about 1.8 billion years ago, then the view from top to bottom takes in a little more than 1.5 billion years, a full quarter of all of the history of the planet. Cool!

1 comment:

Denis B. Hall said...

Very cool, indeed. I love looking at geology as a time machine!