Abstract

The principal mountain ranges of the Wyoming and Colorado foreland were raised asymmetrically by Laramide uplift which began in latest Cretaceous time as dominantly vertical movement along arcuate trends. Uplift continued into the Paleocene, and the steeper flanks of some ranges developed into large overturned folds by local compressive forces marginal to the main uplifts. Along segments of maximum uplift, overturned folds were broken and thrust far over the basin synclines in latest Paleocene or earliest Eocene time. Throughout the long period of uplift the adjacent basins were downwarped continuously and received sediment from the rising mountains. The process of uplift by folding and thrusting better explains observed structure of mountain flanks than the older ideas of block uplift along high-angle faults or thrust uplift by regional compression. Fold-thrust structures are best known along the major Wyoming thrust zones bordering, on the S., the Wind River and Granite mountains and the Washakie and Owl Creek mountains. Other examples of faulted overturned folds occur in Colorado along the Golden thrust of the Front Range and Willow Creek thrust in western Colorado. In all these areas thrusts are well documented by subsurface control which includes both deep wells and seismic data.

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