A morning with the Barstow Formation

March 15th, 2011

Greg Wiles explores the top of a wadi in Owl Canyon. The debris here consists of blocks of Barstow Formation eroded during recent floods.

ZZYZX, CALIFORNIA–It is hard to believe that the Mojave region once had vast lakes, erupting volcanoes and a diverse mammalian fauna including camels and horses. The most important record of this time is the Barstow Formation (Miocene — about 15 million years ago). This unit contains river and lake sediments along with volcanic ash, all of which produce a diversity of colors leading to the name “Rainbow Basin” for the best exposures outside Barstow, California.

The Wooster geologists spent the morning with the Barstow Formation in Owl Canyon and Rainbow Basin. The highlights included a group analysis of dozens of rock specimens, a desert tortoise crossing the road, and meeting old friends Buzz and Phyllis Sawyer from Barstow.

The Wooster geologists in Rainbow Basin with the Barstow Syncline in the background. Image by Buzz Sawyer.

6 Responses to “A morning with the Barstow Formation”

  1. Micah Risacheron 16 Mar 2011 at 2:44 am

    Love the traditional Wooster geologist field picture! Reminds me of just how truly wonderful the structures are out there!

  2. Sandraon 18 Mar 2011 at 12:06 pm

    The only thing missing from the Owl Canyon trip was me! Sorry I missed you and your class. Mom and Dad really enjoyed meeting up with you as always. Thank you for including them in your outings…it means so much.

  3. Mark Wilsonon 18 Mar 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Your parents are always a treat, Sandra. I wish I could see them more often. They always give us such good information and ideas when we meet them on this trip.

  4. Hilary Lackeyon 24 Mar 2011 at 12:11 am

    Mark and Greg,
    Next time let us know when you are coming out to the Mojave. We’re less than 2 hours’ drive from Owl Canyon and would love to meet up with Wooster folks!
    -Hilary and Jade Star
    (and Finn and Siri)

  5. Mark Wilsonon 24 Mar 2011 at 4:44 am

    A great idea, Hilary and Jade Star. We shall!

  6. […] near my hometown of Barstow, California. It was collected many years ago loose in talus from the Barstow Formation (Barstovian, Miocene). I note this carefully because today collecting such specimens from the […]

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