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Geologic understanding requires careful attention to time as well as three-dimensional space, so we'd better stop here first.

If you're unfamiliar with geologic time terminology and abbreviations, take that detour now.

Colorado's story still includes many gaps and controversies, often around events and structures shrouded in deep time, deep earth or both.

Under great confining pressures, or at depths where temperatures reach a significant fraction of their melting points (typically 10-15 km), rocks that are quite brittle at the surface become sufficiently plastic to deform without fracture at rates comparable to the rate at which fingernails grow (~10 mm/yr).

Granted, that makes molasses look downright mercurial, but then relative viscosity is the whole idea here.

Most of them cluster around the intersection of these two profound lineaments, both which almost certainly cut the full thickness of the lithosphere.

This telling elevation distribution reflects a powerful synergy between truly ancient plate processes driven by the cooling of the earth in the presence of gravity and ongoing mantle processes driven by Lord knows what.

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