OURAY – The Ouray County Historical Society kicks off its summer Evenings of History series with the presentation, “Geology of the Northwest San Juan Mountains,” Tuesday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ouray Community Center. Geologist Larry Meckel will offer a talk and slideshow on the geology that spans 1.6 billion years and is exceptionally well-exposed in the Ouray area of the San Juan Mountains.
Meckel’s talk will focus on a truly unique aspect of the San Juan Mountains: the origin of this vast, dissected volcanic plateau. The plateau was produced by a group of huge strato volcanoes that existed for only a brief period, about 25 million years ago.
“These volcanic units include the largest volcanic eruption yet known in the history of the earth,” said Meckel. “That is the impressive La Garita Caldera and its associated debris called the Fish Canyon Tuff.”
The audience will learn how this hot, geothermal area also supplied the hydrothermal waters that produced the mineralization (particularly gold, silver, lead and zinc) that has made the San Juan Mountains famous. Meckel will explain how the more recent Ice Age glaciers carved the steep mountainous scenery we enjoy today. He will illustrate his talk with photographs of landscapes and formations throughout the region that reveal evidence of ancient geologic events.
Meckel is an adjunct professor at the Geology Department at the Colorado School of Mines where he teaches graduate level geology courses during the Spring Semester. In 2011 he was honored with the Distinguished Educator Award by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Prior to teaching, he worked for 50 years in exploration, both as a consultant and with Shell Development Company where he was Manager of Geologic Research.
Meckel is a longtime resident of Ouray where he now resides with his wife Barbara.
Evenings of History is a series of presentations on topics of Colorado history offered each week June through August by the Ouray County Historical Society. This Evening of History is sponsored by Ted and Marianne Zegers. Admission is $5 per person, free to OCHS members. For more information, call 970/325-4576 or visit ouraycountyhistoricalsociety.org.