A rock from the Snowy Range

This is something I wrote several years ago. Recycling is a good

A few years ago I found myself in Laramie, Wyoming, looking for birds,
and several friends and I took a short trip to the summit of the nearby
Snowy Range. And so I discovered some spectacular geology as interesting
as the pine grosbeaks and western pirangas. The Snowy Range (at least
what I saw of it) is mostly quartzite and greenschist, the product of
continental-scale metamorphism occasioned by some ancient orogeny.

And here and there I saw a few big chunks of metaconglomerate. The rock
consisted of white quartz pebbles, an inch or so in averaqe diameter,
somewhat flattened, in a darker ground. The pebbles had fuzzy edges, and
if the recrystalization had proceeded very much further all I would have
seen would have been a purplish gray quartzite.

So I got to thinking. How would a young-earth creationist explain this rock?

I know how I would. First we need a source rock for the pebbles. For
such big lumps of quartz that would be a coarse-grained granite. It
would form as a pluton intruded miles under the earth, taking millions
of years to cool so that the minerals would have time to grow such big
crystals. Then erosion and uplift would have had to bring the granite to
the surface, where the pebbles would be eroded out of it, and
transported by water toward the sea, in the process giving them their
rounded form. And then the pebbles would be deposited together with sand
in some high-energy process that didn’t allow time for sorting of
particles by size – perhaps an alluvial fan built by spring floods.
Eventually this fan would be buried deep enough that the mixed sand and
pebbles would be cemented together into a conglomerate. Later, that
continental-scale metamorphism I mentioned before would cause the
conglomerate to recrystallize, atoms migrating to form crystal bonds
between sand grain and sand grain, sand grain and pebble. Pressure on
the rock made plastic by heat would flatten the originally rounded
pebbles too. And so the sedimentary conglomerate becomes a much harder
metamorphic metaconglomerate. Finally, the buried metaconglomerate must
be uplifted, exposed by erosion, and eroded itself to produce the rock I

So we have a multitude of steps, which I will briefly recap here:

  1. Intrusion of magma.
  2. Cooling to solid granite.
  3. Uplift, erosion of overburden, exposure of granite.
  4. Erosion and stream transport of granite pebbles.
  5. Deposition of sediment, burying the pebble strata.
  6. Formation of conglomerate.
  7. More deposition of sediment on top of the conglomerate.
  8. Metamorphism of conglomerate.
  9. Uplift, erosion of overburden, exposure of metaconglomerate.
  10. Erosion of metaconglomerate.

All within a year, or what? Can any YEC enlighten me as to the
geological facts?


I grew up in Laramie and know that area very well!

A few photos from c.1999, my son and I at the top of Medicine Bow Peak.
Medicine_Bow_Peak !
The peak behind us is elevation 11755, about 228 feet lower than where we are standing.

Medicine_Bow_Peak3 !
That should be Lookout Lake at the left of the photo, and Lake Marie just above it.

The snowfields are small, so this was probably taken in August. I used to hike up to this point with my Ski Patrol friends every June and July, and we would ski down. Hiking out with skiis over our shoulders, the tourists would look at us, then look up and the tracks running down from the peak, then look back at up in amazement. :slight_smile:

The distant peaks above my hat are in the Savage Run wilderness, maybe 60-70 away.


Bonus: it’s one of the few places in the U.S. where you can clearly see stromatolites.


I’d love to see those! Are they spread over a fairly wide range, or are there just a few in one specific location?


One place I know of. It’s somewhere on 130, since that’s the only place I’ve ever been in the range. There’s a stop on the highway with a little path and signage. Or was 15 years ago or so.


Sorry, I’m getting a bit side-tracked, but here is a link if anyone else is interested in stromatolites around Snowy Range:


Your post makes me wish I knew more geology, but from what little I know, that really does seem like a conundrum for a young planet.


It’s a great place geologically.


Well we know how; the Flood (details not necessary)

It was not witnessed.
Everything can be created quickly or within the flood year.in fact all your points show dramatic actions. magma, uplift, erosion,transport, deposition, and turning everything to stone. this is like a timetable for events that would happen in the flood year.
I think convergence of forms in nature is very unlikely from ywo/more mechanisms.
therefore fast of slow processes should not create the same results.
In this case these must be fast acting processes and not slow onesw. so the results mean its unlikely even possible slow processes would create these results.

I find that there is no profit for anyone in responding to Robert in any way.


Prescient indeed.

Darnit! How did I not know that? I’ve seen them but didn’t know what I was looking at.

There is a broken link in that article, but I found the PDF it should have pointed to: https://www.wsgs.wyo.gov/products/wsgs-2014-pic-45.pdf
Lots of great photos there.

The Geology Museum at the University of Wyoming is worth a stop too.


I had stromatolites once. Very hard to pass and quite painful. My doctor called them kidney stones.

(Yes, Byer’s Point™ reached.)


Picture I took of conglomerate rock high near a peak in frontal Rockies. I’m no geologist, but I think I’m looking a lot of history here. Embedded smoothly polished stone such as you would find in a shore or stream. The whole conglomerate face has been sheared, along with the embedded rocks.