Recumbent Fold at the top of the Rockies

Last summer my family took a road trip from Denver, Colorado to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Along the way we stopped at Rocky Mountain National Park.  While there, we took one of the hikes up the mountain along Trail Ridge Road at roughly 12,000 feet.  Recently I was looking through my photographs of the trip and found this amazing fold.  Originally I took the picture to show the interesting lichen growing at altitude.  It was not until I started my structural geology course that I really began to see the structural features present in my past photographs.  This one in particular jumped out at me.  I am used to seeing folds under and in mountains and other regions of tectonic activity.  This one struck me because it was at the top of a 12,200 ft peak.  After thinking about it, I realized that while it was the top of the mountain now, before years of erosion it was deep within the mountain at the Rocky Mountains finished forming some 40 million years ago at the end of the Laramide Orogeny.

This is the outcrop of interest.

Sadly, at the time that this picture was taken I did not realize what I was taking a picture of so I neglected to put anything in the picture to show scale.  The Rock face was roughly three meters wide and this is one meter wide section of it (The fold is shown in its correct orientation).  Below is the same picture annotated.  I have marked only the most obvious fold.  But I can see at least 3 others.

Finally, just to give an idea of the surroundings in which I found this structure, this is a view from near the outcrop.


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