Long Range Plan

The Colorado Geological Survey’s long range geologic mapping plan was developed by the CGS and its Geologic Mapping Advisory Committee (GMAC) and was updated in 2015. Quadrangles earmarked for future geologic mapping were identified using the priorities set forth by the STATEMAP program. These priorities were ranked by the GMAC to reflect the geologic conditions and mapping needs specific to Colorado. They are listed below from highest to lowest priority.

  1. Land use evaluation and planning for environmental protection.
  2. Design and construction of infrastructure requirements such as utility lifelines, transportation corridors, and surface water impoundments.
  3. Reducing losses from landslides and other ground failures.
  4. Exploration for and development of water resources.
  5. Mitigating effects of coastal and stream erosion.
  6. Basic earth-science research.
  7. Exploration for and development of energy resources.
  8. Exploration for and development of mineral resources.
  9. Siting of critical facilities.
  10. Screening and characterizing sites for toxic and nuclear waste disposal.
  11. Earthquake hazards reduction.
  12. Predicting volcanic hazards.

There are 1,735 7.5-minute (1:24,000-scale) quadrangles within or partially within the Colorado state boundary. Less than one quarter of these quadrangles have been mapped. Of the quadrangles that have not been mapped, the CGS and GMAC identified over 180 that are in need of mapping and are consistent with STATEMAP criteria and the priorities outlined above. Seven project areas have been defined to encompass groups of proposed quadrangles:

South Platte River Project

  • This area was added in 2015 following significant flooding in 2013 that destroyed numerous structures and altered the course of the South Platte River. Continued growth and farming along the river corridor has stressed groundwater and aggregate resources. The mapping here will help support both State and Federal groundwater studies that are either on-going or planned.

Front Range Project

  • Pueblo/Castle Rock region – includes the rapidly growing population centers of Colorado Springs, south and eastern suburbs of Denver, and Pueblo.
  • Denver/Fort Collins region – includes the rapidly developing I-25 corridor from Denver north to Fort Collins and points east.

Colorado Rift Project

  • Fairplay/Kremmling region – a long, narrow corridor of quadrangles between the towns of Fairplay (south) and Kremmling (north), which includes the mountain community ski resorts of Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain.
  • Salida region – includes the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. County officials have been active in requesting mapping of several quadrangles in the area.
  • Alamosaregion – this area hosts some of Colorado’s youngest faults, which are part of the Rio Grand Rift system, and provides a rare opportunity to observe and map these structures in detail.

Western Slope Project

  • Montrose region – includes quadrangles between Montrose and Delta. Growth in the area necessitates detailed mapping to help identify geologic hazards and potential mineral resources
  • Mesa County region – Includes several quadrangles in the vicinity of Grand Junction where population growth is escalating. Part of the mapping efforts in this area will focus on Quaternary faulting.

San Juan Project

  • Includes the towns of Cortez, Durango, and Pagosa Springs where land development along scenic by-ways is on the rise.

Gunnison Project

  • Includes several quadrangles between the growing town of Gunnison and the ski community of Crested Butte.

NW Colorado (Steamboat/Craig) Project

  • Includes a broad area from Steamboat Springs west to the Colorado border. This area is ideal for studying Neogene tectonics associated with Brown’s Park and the northern limits of the Rio Grande Rift.

Glenwood Springs Project

  • Includes several quadrangles in the vicinity of Glenwood Springs. CGS mapping in this area concluded in 2001.