The Cordilleran foreland is a single large tectonic unit that includes the Colorado Plateau, the Southern Rocky Mountains, the Wyoming basin, and parts of the Great Plains and the Middle Rocky Mountains physiographic provinces. Most structures within the foreland are analogous in size, configuration, and trend, and the tectonic framework of the foreland is in sharp contrast to that of the adjoining Cordilleran geanticline. Many faults that cut rocks of Paleozoic and Tertiary age in the foreland, formerly interpreted as overthrusts, are related to recurrent and preponderantly vertical movement along Precambrian basement structures. Such vertical movement has produced most fold and fault structures, and by repeated deformations of old (Precambrian) structures even relatively young Tertiary rocks are slightly deformed and jointed.

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