Archive for March 14th, 2011

Death Valley Day

March 14th, 2011

ZZYZX, CALIFORNIA–Our Wooster geological crew awoke to a spectacular sunrise over the Soda Lake playa this morning. We drove north from Zzyzx through Baker and Shoshone into Death Valley by way of Jubilee Pass. The weather could not be better with daytime temperatures in the low 80s and brilliant blue skies. Shelley Judge gave us an overview of the tectonics that formed Death Valley, Meagen Pollock helped us sort out the poikilitic textures in basalts along Artists Drive, Greg Wiles discussed the declining levels of Lake Manly, and I helped out with interpretations of sedimentary structures in Miocene deposits exposed along Golden Canyon. Students kept their end of the bargain with challenging questions. A most excellent day.

Part of Death Valley's charm is in its extremes. This is Telescope Peak on the western side of the valley. It is 11,049 feet above sea level. Note the snow cover.

And here are salt deposits below Telescope Peak at 275 feet below sea level, baking in the relentless sunlight.

The Wooster students on the 2011 Mojave Desert field trip.