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 Information Entries for Kit Carson Peak

Geology (Kit Carson Peak)



Title: Geologic History of the Crestones

Entered by: ztop

Added: 06/30/2010, Last Updated: 06/30/2010

Sources: Bolyard, D.W., 1959, Pennsylvanian and Permian stratigraphy of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between La Veta Pass and Westcliffe, Colorado: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 43, p. 1896-1939 Blakey, Ron, 2005 (and updates online)http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/garm.html; Brill, K.G., 1952, Stratigraphy in the Permo-Pennsylvanian zeugogeosyncline of Colorado and northern New Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 63, p. 809-890 Hoy, R.G. and Ridgway, K.D., 2002, Syndepositional thrust-related deformation and sedimentation in an Ancestral Rocky Mountains basin, Central Colorado Trough, Colorado, USA: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 114, p.804-828 Lindsey, D.A., Clark, R.F., and Soulliere, S.J., 1986, Minturn and Sangre de Cristo formations of southern Colorado; a prograding fan delta and alluvial fan sequence shed from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 41, p. 541-561

One of the most exciting times in Colorado geologic history was the Pennsylvanian period when continental collisions formed the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. Europe and Africa collided with North America forming the Appalachian and Ouachita Mountains, and North America tried to break in two through southern Oklahoma. As the continent was being squeezed and ripped apart, the Uncompahgre highland was uplifted in central and western Colorado, the Front Range and Apishapa uplifts to the east, and the Central Colorado Trough became a deep basin between the two highlands.
During the late Pennsylvanian and Permian periods, massive amounts of sediment were shed off the Uncompahgre into the trough. The coarsest sediments are called the Crestone conglomerate (see shredthegnar10's report). Boulders up to 10' in diameter rolled down the mountainsides and were deposited in a pile of sediment that reached more than 9000' in thickness, a massive amount of bouldery rock. It was an environment similar to that of Red Rocks and Garden of the Gods, but must have been much steeper with more dramatic landslides and mudflows. There is very little fine grained sediment, but one notable band is much-beloved by readers on this website. Kit Carson Avenue is a bench developed on a 4-6' thick mudstone which is amazingly continuous considering how little fine-grained sediment there is in the Crestones. There are still huge boulders in this mudstone, but its softness allows it to weather out and leave a path across Kit Carson Peak.
Ironically, the basin where those rocks were deposited has been inverted and now forms the spine of the Crestone Peaks area of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The cement that holds the boulders together makes the Crestone Conglomerate a stable and hard rock as many climbers appreciate.
The sediments form a 3000' high wall on these peaks, a massive amount of coarse-grained conglomerate to be deposited in narrow basin.


Geology (Sangre de Cristo)



Title: Stratigraphy and Paleogeography of the Northern Sangre de Cristo 14ers

Entered by: shredthegnar10

Added: 05/10/2010, Last Updated: 05/10/2010

Sources: Bolyard, D.W., 1959, Pennsylvanian and Permian stratigraphy of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between La Veta Pass and Westcliffe, Colorado: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 43, p. 1896-1939 Brill, K.G., 1952, Stratigraphy in the Permo-Pennsylvanian zeugogeosyncline of Colorado and northern New Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 63, p. 809-890 Hoy, R.G. and Ridgway, K.D., 2002, Syndepositional thrust-related deformation and sedimentation in an Ancestral Rocky Mountains basin, Central Colorado Trough, Colorado, USA: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 114, p.804-828 Lindsey, D.A., Clark, R.F., and Soulliere, S.J., 1986, Minturn and Sangre de Cristo formations of southern Colorado; a prograding fan delta and alluvial fan sequence shed from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 41, p. 541-561

Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Peak, and Humboldt Peak all include rocks of the Pennsylvanian (323-299 million years ago) Minturn Formation and the Pennsylvanian-Permian (306-251 million years ago) Sangre de Cristo Formation.
The Sangre de Cristo Formation gradationally overlies the Minturn Formation (meaning that there is no missing time between them), and is defined by the redbeds near the basal part of the Sangre de Cristo Formation. The Minturn Formation consists largely of marine sediments (limestones, siltstones, shales), whereas the Sangre de Cristo Formation consists of primarily nonmarine sediments (arkosic conglomerates, sandstones, siltstones). The shift in the depositional environment resulting in these differences is interpreted as the result of a large-scale sea level regression that occurred during the Middle Pennsylvanian.
The Sangre de Cristo Formation consists of two members (members are kind of like subdivisions of a geologic formation): the Crestone Conglomerate and the Lower Member. The Crestone Conglomerate is defined by the presence of cobble(64-256mm diameter) and boulder (>256mm diameter) sized clasts.
Both the Sangre de Cristo Formation and the Minturn Formation formations were deposited in a sedimentary basin known as the Central Colorado Trough, which was created as a result of the uplift of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, an indirect result of continental collisions involved in the formation of the supercontinent Pangea. Drainage systems developed to transport eroded material off of these mountains into the basin, and that material is what makes up these formations.
In the limestones of the Minturn Formation, scientists have identified numerous fossils, including fusulinids, brachiopods, crinoids, and bryozoans.
FUN FACT: The sediments of the Sangre de Cristo Formation were deposited during the same time period as the rocks of the Maroon Formation, which make up the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak.


Name History (Kit Carson Peak)



Title: Naming of Kit Carson Peak

Entered by: 14erFred

Added: 05/14/2010, Last Updated: 05/14/2010

Sources: Carter, H.L. (1968). 'Dear Old Kit': The historical Kit Carson. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Estergreen, M. (1962). Kit Carson: A Portrait in Courage. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Hart, J.L.J. (1977). Fourteen thousand feet: A history of the naming and early ascents of the high Colorado peaks (Second Edition). Denver, CO: The Colorado Mountain Club. Trafzer, C. E. (1982). Kit Carson Campaign: The Last Great Navajo War. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Vestal, S. (1928). Kit Carson, the Happy Warrior of the west. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

The mountain has previously been known by at least 4 other names. It was called "Crestone" by early settlers of the nearby town of the same name. Others called it "Haystack Baldy." The 1877 and 1879 maps of the U.S. Government's Wheeler Survey showed it as "Frustum." And Silversparre's 1882 "New Map of Colorado" designated it as "Mt. Lena." The current name was first suggested by the Hayden Survey of 1874-75.

Perhaps no other 14er has as colorful and romantic a namesake as does Kit Carson Peak (with the possible exceptions of Mts. Lincoln and Sherman). Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson (December 24, 1809 May 23, 1868 ) was the most famous guide and scout of the Southern Rockies, and local legend holds that he actually lived in a cabin near the base of the peak for several years. (In fact, as a Colonel in the U.S. Army, Kit Carson commanded Fort Garland at the southern base of Blanca Peak from 1866-67 to keep the peace and negotiate with the Utes.) His courage, character, and exploits are the subject of numerous myths and stories. In addition to his widely-acknowledged skills as an outdoorsman, Carson had the reputation of absolute truthfulness and honesty. His fine character and integrity made him much-admired and respected among the trappers. Though he had little formal education and could neither read nor write more than his name, he spoke Spanish, French, Apache, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Comanche, Cheyenne, Crow, Shoshone, Piute, Ute, and the universal sign language of the Plains Indians. He also had an uncanny ability to learn quickly from observation. Carson served as a guide for John C. Fremont in three expeditions (1842-46) to the western territories.

"At a glance Kit Carson was not an impressive figure of a man. He was about five and a half feet tall with broad, somewhat stooped shoulders and a deep barrel-chest...Kit's auburn hair was usually worn down the back of his neck...Off and on throughout his life he sported a distinguished reddish mustache which drooped over the sides of his lips. The key to his character was found in his blue-gray eyes, which were quick and piercing" (Trafzer, 1982, p. 51). "He looked his part so little that on one occasion some emigrants on the Oregon Trail, having paused to stare at the famous scout, went back to their wagons, hooting and laughing, too smart to be hoaxed by those who had pointed out that insignificant-looking little man" (Vestal, 1928, p. 4). Contrary to the self-promotion of many modern-day champions, Kit Carson was unassuming, was never boastful, and was prone to understatement. "He talked but little, was very quiet, and (unlike most mountain men) seldom used immoral or profane language" (Carter, 1968, p. 192). As his friend Tom Tobin noted when asked what made Kit different from the other mountain men: "Kit never cussed more'n was necessary" (Estergreen, 1962, p. xx).

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