Crested Butte author Amy Ellwein visits The Bookworm of Edwards |

Crested Butte author Amy Ellwein visits The Bookworm of Edwards

Courtesy photo
  • What: Geology Underfoot on Colorado’s Western Slope with Amy Ellwein
  • When: Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632
  • Cost: $10
  • More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit

As many Eagle Valley locals and visitors have most likely noticed, this area, west of the Continental Divide, contains a wide variety of rock formations. Luckily, Crested Butte author, Amy Ellwein, and her three coauthors, wrote a book describing our complex geology and some of the best spots to check them out for yourself.

Geology enthusiasts of all ages are invited to a rocking author event at The Bookworm on Thursday April 27 at 6 p.m. to learn from Western Colorado University research professor and geomorphologist, Amy Ellwein, as she speaks about her book, “Geology Underfoot on Colorado’s Western Slope.” This book features 25 vignettes, from as far north as Hahns Peak to as far south as Mesa Verde National Park. These vignettes, accompanied by historical photos, maps, and illustrations, demonstrate the wildly different geologic locations that we have all along the Western Slope of our beautiful state.

Cover of “Geology Underfoot on Colorado’s Western Slope”
Courtesy photo

The high degree of geologic diversity along Colorado’s Western Slope is what Ellwein loves most about this area. “The Western Slope of Colorado has it all. Our rocks range in age from 1.7 billion years to rocks forming today at hot springs,” Ellwein said. “Our sedimentary rocks record the largest mass extinction on the planet, as well as some of the richest dinosaur beds in the world. The Rocky Mountains expose all the great geologic stories, even the story of the mountains that were here before the Rockies. And geology is a critical player in many of Colorado’s rags to riches (and back to rags) stories. We’ve tried to hit all the high points in this book.”

The book features several important points in Colorado’s history starting with the Precambrian Eon, to the Ancestral Puebloan history from 550 CE to 1250 CE in what is now Mesa Verde National Park, and the many mining enterprises during the late 1800s across the state. Readers of this book will learn how Colorado’s diverse geology influenced and was influenced by its equally rich history.

Colorado is also home to many well-known national parks and monuments that are featured in this book. As a research professor, Ellwein is involved in geologic studies in such national parks with teams from all across the country. “I study how semi arid landscapes evolve over the last few million years or less,” Ellwein said. “I’m currently working with a team of scientists from the University of Utah, the University of Michigan, and the United States Geologic survey just west of Capitol Reef National Park. Huge landslides in that area brought large boulders to lower elevations, where they have accumulated distinct layers of soil carbonate, sometimes called caliche. We are trying to reconstruct climate change using those layers and a variety of low tech methods and high-tech analysis.”

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You don’t have to be a scientist or professor to understand “Geology Underfoot on Colorado’s Western Slope.” The authors have included accessible definitions of deep time, and geologic terms at the beginning, so that geology and rock enthusiasts from all backgrounds can learn from and enjoy this book.

Even further, Ellwein and her coauthors hope that in reading their book, they hope that you can become a geologist yourself, and do some hands-on learning in your own backyard. “Geology is an observational science,” Ellwein reflects. “If you make good observations, you can learn a lot on your own. We wrote this book to help you do just that.”

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