(north and south of Crestone)

June 1, 2016



The Intra-Meeting Field Trip (afternoon of Wednesday, June 1) will travel northward from Crestone in a 70 mile-long loop to visit open trenches, previous trench sites, and range-front multiple-event fault scarps of the Sangre de Cristo fault zone. After returning to Crestone we will drive to the southern end of the Baca Grande subdivision for a view of the Crestone Group of Peaks, and a short visit to a Tibetan Buddhist stupa.


trip route

Google Earth map of the route (red) of the Intra-Meeting Field Trip loop to range-front fault sites (north of Crestone) and into the Baca Grande subdivision (south of Crestone).


Here are some highlights of the Intra-Meeting Field Trip:


-Paleoseismic Teaching Trench of the Crestone Science Center (2001-present)

This trench was excavated in 2001 and has been used ever since for teaching the Summer Field Course on Neotectonics and Paleoseismology ( It is the only permanent paleoseismic teaching trench in North America.

zoe_photo7 Clip Bottom

-Villa Grove Fault Zone, A Major Splay Fault

The Villa Grove fault zone is a 19 km-long splay fault of the Sangre de Cristo fault zone, easily seen on the 1-m LiDAR DEM. Splay faults are currently of interest for refining methods for Probabilistic Fault Displacement Hazard Analyses (PFDHA).

VGFZ scarps and trench LiDAR


-Multiple-Event Fault Scarps of the Sangre de Cristo Fault Zone, the Major Creek Site

Alluvial terraces at the mouth of Major Creek are displaced vertically from 1.5 m to 23 m, across increasingly older geomorphic surfaces. Topographic profiles along the crest and toe of the scarp measured from LiDAR DEMs show the results of recurrent vertical slip through time. The second smallest scarp (3.8 m high) was trenched in 1980 and displayed evidence of two surface-faulting events, the younger of which dated at ~8 cal ka.


crest and toe profiles Major Creek



-Multiple-Event Fault Scarps of the Sangre de Cristo Fault Zone, the San Isabel Site

The multiple-event fault scarps at San Isabel Creek are even better-preserved, and display evidence of individual displacement events in the form of tectonic terraces eroded into the upthrown block.




-Scenic Viewpoint of the Crestone Group

The Crestone group of “Fourteeners” (peaks higher than 14,000 ft) includes Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Mountain, and Challenger Point. The first three of these peaks were the last of the Fourteeners to be climbed in Colorado, due to their technical difficulty. Today they attract hundreds of climbers, including those trying to climb all 54 of Colorado’s 14ers, who save the Crestones for last.


PAN Gibson Pk to S Crestone ANNOT

-Tibetan Buddhist Stupa

The Crestone-Baca area is renowned for its 22 spiritual centers including 10 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and retreat centers, Hindu ashrams, Christian monasteries, and Native American churches. We will make a quick visit to a Tibetan Buddhist stupa, one of the few in North America.

Enlightenment Stupa 1 lighter CLIP