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      Close to Heaven… Down to Earth

 



The Great Dikes
Great DikesThe Great Dikes were formed during the same period of volcanic activity as
the Spanish Peaks,
Mt. Mestas
and Silver Mountain.
At the time these vertical granite formations were formed by molten rock, they were
located several thousand feet underground, below and among many layers of sedimentary
rock. Over time, as the ground rose and the softer rock was eroded away, these igneous
intrusions were exposed.There are essentially three different sets of dikes in the area. One set emanates
radially from the West Spanish Peak. The second set emanates radially from Silver
Mountain. The third set crosses the landscape in a roughly N80E direction. The dikes
in this third set are roughly parallel to one another and are the longest and oldest
of the dikes. This third set of dikes was formed about the same time as the Sangre
de Cristo Uplift, the event that pushed up the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between
2 north-south running fault lines about 27 million years ago. The Spanish Peaks,
Silver Mountain, Mt. Mestas, the White Sisters, the Sheep Mountains, Iron Mountain,
and the Black Hills in Huerfano County, along with their associated radial dike
systems, were formed about 25 million years ago, east of the Alvarado Fault (which
defines the east side of the Sangre de Cristo’s) and east of the Dakota Wall. The
volcanic plugs of Gardner
Butte, Huerfano Butte and Goemmer Butte were formed at the same time.
The dikes are granite. In the western portions of both Las Animas and Huerfano Counties
there are some uplifted stone walls of the Dakota formation. They look like granite
but they are actually very compressed, very durable sandstone, part of a formation
that runs from Canada to Mexico along the Front Range and eastwards. Other places
where it surfaces vertically are in the Flatirons area of Boulder, Garden of the
Gods in Colorado Springs and the Stoneridge between Cerrillos and Santa Fe, New
Mexico.
Selecting one of the photos below will bring you a larger version of
that photo.
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Goemmer's Butte

The West Spanish Peak behind some dikes and Goemmer Butte

Devil's Stairstep

The West Spanish Peak behind the Stairway to Heaven

Dike

The East Spanish Peak behind another dike

near Silver Mountain

One of the Great Dikes near Silver Mountain

Great Dike

Another Great Dike radiating from Silver Mountain

granite dike

A Great Dike in winter

rock wall

The dikes surface where they want

granite wall

Profile Rock near La Veta

Apishapa Arch

The Apishapa Arch is through a dike near Cordova Pass