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Geologic map of the Grand Junction Quadrangle, Mesa County, Colorado

February 1, 2002

This 1:24,000-scale geologic map of the Grand Junction 7.5' quadrangle, in support of the USGS Western Colorado I-70 Corridor Cooperative Geologic Mapping Project, provides new interpretations of the stratigraphy, structure, and geologic hazards in the area of the junction of the Colorado River and the Gunnison River. Bedrock strata include the Upper Cretaceous Mancos Shale through the Lower Jurassic Wingate Sandstone units. Below the Mancos Shale, which floors the Grand Valley, the Upper and Lower(?)Cretaceous Dakota Formation and the Lower Cretaceous Burro Canyon Formation hold up much of the resistant northeast- dipping monocline along the northeast side of the Uncompahgre uplift. The impressive sequence of Jurassic strata below include the Brushy Basin, Salt Wash, and Tidwell Members of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, the Middle Jurassic Wanakah Formation and informal 'board beds' unit and Slick Rock Member of the Entrada Formation, and the Lower Jurassic Kayenta Formation and Wingate Sandstone. The Upper Triassic Chinle Formation and Early Proterozoic meta-igneous gneiss and migmatitic meta- sedimentary rocks, which are exposed in the Colorado National Monument quadrangle to the west, do not crop out here. The monoclinal dip slope of the northeastern margin of the Uncompahgre uplift is apparently a Laramide structural feature. Unlike the southwest-dipping, high-angle reverse faults in the Proterozoic basement and s-shaped fault- propagation folds in the overlying strata found in the Colorado National Monument 7.5' quadrangle along the front of the uplift to the west, the monocline in the map area is unbroken except at two localities. One locality displays a small asymmetrical graben that drops strata to the southwest. This faulted character of the structure dies out to the northwest into an asymmetric fault-propagation fold that also drops strata to the southwest. Probably both parts of this structure are underlain by a northeast-dipping high-angle reverse fault. The other locality displays a second similar asymmetric fold. No evidence of post-Laramide tilting or uplift exists here, but the antecedent Unaweep Canyon, only 30 km to the south-southwest of the map area, provides clear evidence of Late Cenozoic, if not Pleistocene, uplift. The major geologic hazards in the area include large landslides associated with the dip-slope-underlain, smectite-rich Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation and overlying Dakota and Burro Canyon Formations. Active landslides affect the southern bank of the Colorado River where undercutting by the river and smectitic clays in the Mancos trigger landslides. The Wanakah, Morrison, and Dakota Formations and the Mancos Shale create a significant hazard to houses and other structures by containing expansive smectitic clay. In addition to seasonal spring floods associated with the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, a serious flash flood hazard associated with sudden summer thunderstorms threatens the intermittent washes that drain the dip slope of the monocline.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2002
Title Geologic map of the Grand Junction Quadrangle, Mesa County, Colorado
DOI 10.3133/mf2363
Authors Robert B. Scott, Paul E. Carrara, William C. Hood, Kyle E. Murray
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series Number 2363
Index ID mf2363
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse