Field Trips in the Southern Rocky Mountains, USA
The theme of the 2004 GSA Annual Meeting and Exposition, “Geoscience in a Changing World,” covers both new and traditional areas of the earth sciences. The Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and the High Plains preserve an outstanding record of geological processes from Precambrian through Quaternary times, and thus serve as excellent educational exhibits for the meeting. With energy and mineral resources, geological hazards, water issues, geoarchaeological sites, and famous dinosaur fossil sites, the Front Range and adjacent High Plains region provide ample opportunities for field trips focusing on our changing world. The chapters in this field guide all contain technical content as well as a field trip log describing field trip routes and stops. Of the 25 field trips offered at the Meeting, 14 are described in this guidebook, covering a wide variety of geoscience disciplines, with chapters on tectonics (Precambrian and Laramide), stratigraphy and paleoenvironments (e.g., early Paleozoic environments, Jurassic eolian environments, the K-T boundary, the famous Oligocene Florissant fossil beds), economic deposits (coal and molybdenum), geological hazards, and geoarchaeology.
West Bijou Site Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Denver Basin, Colorado
Published:January 01, 2004
Richard S. Barclay, Kirk R. Johnson, 2004. "West Bijou Site Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Denver Basin, Colorado", Field Trips in the Southern Rocky Mountains, USA, Eric P. Nelson, Eric A. Erslev
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The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary section at the West Bijou Site is remarkable because many of the methods used to constrain the position of a terrestrial K-T boundary have been successfully applied to a local section. These include palynology, magnetostratigraphy, shocked quartz and iridium analysis, vertebrate paleontology, geochronology, and paleobotany. The West Bijou Site K-T boundary records the extinction of the Wodehouseia spinata Assemblage Zone palynoflora (21%), followed immediately by the presence of a fern-spore abundance anomaly (74%) and the subsequent appearance of the P1 palynoflora. This palynological extinction is coincident with the presence of shock-metamorphosed quartz grains (5+ planes of parallel lamellae) and an iridium spike of 619 ± 32 parts per trillion within the 3-cm-thick boundary claystone. The boundary lies within a reversely magnetized interval, recognized as subchron C29r, substantiated by a radiometrically dated tuff 4.5 m below the boundary with an age of 65.73 ± 0.13 Ma. Dinosaur remains attributable to the late Maastrichtian Triceratops Zone were discovered 4 m below the boundary clay, and a partial jaw of a diagnostic Pu1 mammal was discovered 12 m above. Fossil plants are most abundant in the Paleocene and document a low diversity ecosystem recognizable as the southernmost extension of the FUI disaster recovery flora that radiated in North America following the K-T boundary cataclysm.