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This paper presents conceptual models of basement configurations for several structural types in the Rocky Mountains foreland—upthrusts, rotated basement blocks, and plateau uplifts. These hypotheses of structural development are supported by calculated stress states and fracture patterns derived from them. The goodness-of-fit between field observations and the final geometries of the models leads to the suggestion of possible loading conditions for the initiation of Laramide structural development of uplifts in the foreland. These suggested loading conditions for individual features lead, in turn, to a hypothesized stress state consisting of a regional component of crustal horizontal compression superposed on the controlling stress fields caused by more local load variations at depth beneath the brittle upper crust.

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