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The geology of any particular area imposes constraints on what humans can do. These constraints are generally thought of as geologic hazards, but access to the natural resources we all use and to recreational or scenic areas, may be local issues as well. The location of roads, bridges, reservoirs, landfills and other waste-disposal sites, etc., also have both geologic and public-policy consequences.

As a society, we can either plan for or fail to plan for these consequences. If we allow people to build homes in floodplains, they will become flood victims. If we prohibit building on floodplains, we have impacted the value of those lands. Whose ox gets gored, how and when? Who pays? This trip won’t offer answers to these questions, it simply will point out that these are issues that ought to be debated and that we, as geologists, can contribute technical information relevant to the debates.

The field trip will travel south along the central Front Range mountain front from Marshall to the US-285 roadcut at Turkey Creek with stops to look at burning coal seams, at the differences in mineral mining between Boulder and Jefferson Counties, to reflect on mountain flooding and the possibility that Leyden Gulch could capture Coal Creek, to look at the large rocks falling off the mountain and traveling through housing, at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre as a scenic area where geology is described for the public, and at the fossil oil reservoir and roll-front uranium deposit exposed in the Dakota sands.

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