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The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

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The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby audiotom » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:41 pm

Being a geologist and off to climb Mount Antero I was fascinated by the chalk cliffs on the southeast side of Mount Princeton.

How did they get there? Why would chalk be associated with the granitic core of the mountain? How is it related to the hot springs? It would be easily eroded

Talking to Chris and Nora at the St Elmo General Store - they said it was not chalk but instead a granite with the feldspar eroded

Sure enough - the white color is nearly all quartz with the hydrothermal hot springs leaching out the other minerals in a halo kinetic zone.

The area is called Chalk Creek but there is no chalk.

this is quite an interesting geologic enigma

Wish I had grabbed a sample and walked the contact on my way out but we were in a hurry to catch a flight

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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby James Dziezynski » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:36 pm

Cool. And thank goodness for Wikipedia :) Does that imply that there's more geothermal activity under Princeton than just the hot springs?
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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby audiotom » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:19 pm

here is a descriptive plaque in the Chalk Cliffs area

http://www.scenicbuenavista.com/chalk-cliffs.htm

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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby Dex » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:19 pm

When I go for a hike I always wonder how the earth features were formed.
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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby highpilgrim » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:37 pm

Dex wrote:When I go for a hike I always wonder how the earth features were formed.


Enquiring minds want to know, huh Dexie?

I would have thought that as a "lord of the Sawatch" you would have known all there was to know about the only hood you could be expected to know anything about. Guess you're not as omniscient as you think you are.
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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby Erich » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:27 pm

I had always just assumed it was ancient alien ceremonial ground...


Cliff Alien.jpg
Cliff Alien.jpg (84.28 KiB) Viewed 513 times

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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby audiotom » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:09 am

looks like a white alien/sasquatch hybrid to me

too funny

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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby shredthegnar10 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:27 pm

James Dziezynski wrote:Cool. And thank goodness for Wikipedia :) Does that imply that there's more geothermal activity under Princeton than just the hot springs?

Not sure what you're getting at...? In the northern Rockies (Idaho), hot springs in areas of granite are caused by radioactive decay (the decay process releases heat which heats the water which rises to the surface through fractures in the rock). Not sure if that's the same case at Mt. Princeton though.
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Re: The Chalk Cliffs on Princeton aren't chalk

Postby Mark A Steiner » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:25 pm

Field examination of much of the Colorado high country reveals widespread and extensive areas of volcanism. Although, to my knowledge there are no topographic expressions of volcanism at or near Mt. Princeton, hot springs are often a clue that volcanism occurred nearby. The hot springs at Princeton point to a geothermal heat source without associated volcanism.

East of Mt. Princeton, and north and east of Antero Junction in South Park are many surface expressions of volcanism including Black Mountain (11,656 feet near Hartsel), a source of the Thirty-Nine Mile volcanic field.

The hot springs at Pagosa have a more direct association with volcanism than the springs at Mt. Princeton, being close to the San Juan volcanic field, largest in Colorado, expressed by the mountains rising just to the north of the town with its massive lava flows originating near Creede.
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